What a white knuckle ride this was and how fortunate, in the end, Germany can consider themselves to have reached the last 16. They will play England at Wembley on Tuesday and it may either gratify or worry Gareth Southgate that another display like this would render their chances extremely slim. Surely they can only improve on a night’s work
When Andras Schafer headed them back ahead a minute after Kai Havertz cancelled out Adam Szalai’s opener, they looked bound to send the home side packing. But Leon Goretzka’s equaliser transformed the picture and staved off the ignominy of repeating Germany’s group stage exit of Russia 2018.
The European champions were out of the Euros at the precise moment Cristiano Ronaldo faced Hugo Lloris for the second time from the penalty spot on a captivating night in Budapest. He also had the small matter at his feet of equalling Ali Daei’s all-time international goalscoring record of 109. The weight of history and of responsibility did not deter the 36-year-old as he beat Lloris for a second time to secure Portugal’s place in the last 16 and level an epic struggle with France.
Ronaldo struck twice to etch his name further into football folklore. Karim Benzema also scored a brace as the world champions recovered from a sluggish start and edged ahead before being held by the third penalty awarded on the night. They finished as group winners regardless. Both may meet again later in the competition and, if this is the appetiser, the reunion will be richly rewarding.
Lloyd, Rapinoe headline veteran USWNT roster for Tokyo
Tobin Heath also headed to Olympics for fourth time
Carli Lloyd is headed to her fourth Olympics after all.
The 38-year-old Lloyd had vowed after the 2019 World Cup that she would push to make the team for Tokyo before stepping away from the sport. But then the games were pushed back a year because of the coronavirus, and Lloyd needed surgery on her knee.
They needed a little help but at last the cork came out and the cava flowed, carrying Spain through to the next round and maybe beyond. After two draws and a single goal had left them on the edge of elimination and pessimism took hold, Luis Enrique promised that once the bottle was finally opened, the goals would come and the best version of the Selección be seen. On a hot afternoon in Seville in which an early penalty miss might have sunk them but almost everything went right thereafter, that was almost exactly what happened.
In the end it was failure for Poland, but at least it was gallant failure. A campaign that had seemed to be fizzling disappointingly away suddenly came to life in its final 30 minutes as Robert Lewandowski, almost single-handed, inspired a fightback. Poland came from 2-0 down to level, but as they desperately sought the goal that would have taken them through to a first-ever appearance in the last 16 of the Euros, Viktor Claesson snatched the winner for Sweden.
And so Sweden, their air of clinical control shattered in the frantic final minutes, topped the group above Spain and they will play a best third-place team in the last 16 in Glasgow on Tuesday. “It was a rollercoaster,” Claesson said. “It was extremely important that we got the winning goal. That was strong from us.”
So France finish top of the toughest group in the tournament. But their performances so far suggest they are far from unbeatable. They have been lethargic and disjointed for many spells in their three games, and Deschamps’ conservatism seems to have constricted them at times. What is more, they lost both their left-backs - Hernandez and Digne - to injury today so will need to come up with a plan to cover that loss going forward.
A topsy-turvy game ends with a result that suits both teams. France finish top of Group F and will face Switzerland in the Last 16. Portugal go through as one of the best third-place teams (and face Belgium, I think), while second spot in the group goes to Germany, who will face England next.
Belgium v Portugal Italy v Austria France v Switzerland Croatia v Spain Sweden v Ukraine England v Germany Netherlands v Czech Republic Wales v Denmark
England really want to take a look at how Hungary dealt with Germany’s wing-backs in that games. The Magyars limited the influence of both Kimmich and Gosens and the result was that a centre-back, Ginter, was Germany chief supplier of crosses. Southgate’s choice of full-backs may be key.
After the traumatic birth of her daughter the 35-year-old took on both Nike and the US government before earning a shot at a record 10th Olympic medal on the track
Some mornings the car won’t start, the baby’s crying, the girl won’t eat her breakfast, the boy can’t remember where he left his shoes, and you forgot to sign the form you promised to bring in to the school last week. Some mornings the shower’s running cold, the baby’s got a temperature, the girl’s run out of clean shirts, the boy’s having a raging tantrum because someone knocked over his Lego tower, and all you want to do is crawl back to bed because the day’s just about beaten you already. Some mornings, I wonder if Allyson Felix has mornings like these.
You may have missed it in all the excitement, but late last Sunday, hours after Wales’ defeat to Italy in the Euros, Max Verstappen’s victory at the French Grand Prix, Matteo Berretini had beaten Cameron Norrie in the final at Queen’s, Jon Rahm had won the US Open at Torrey Pines, and Ishant Sharma had dismissed Devon Conway in the final of the World Test Championship, an even better sports story was unfolding in front of a small crowd at Hayward’s Field in Eugene, Oregon, where Felix was settling into the starting blocks for the final of the women’s 400m at the US Olympic trials.
Mainstays of the Tour since the 90s, transformed this winter with arrival of iconic car company sponsor, departure of long-time leader Romain Bardet and signing of several pricey foreign imports. Ben O’Connor has provided best value so far and Benoît Cosnefroy is one of France’s up and coming names.
62nd over: India 142-5 (Pant 34, Jadeja 16) Ohh, is that a missed run out? Pant takes a quick single and Conway races around from cover, kicking at the non-strikers’ stumps. It isn’t far away... and it would have been out! Did he have enough time to bend down and flick from there? I suppose it’s all down to instinct in those moments. Jadeja continues to leave well before getting one in his half, celebrated by getting into the front foot to drive through cover point with control for three. That takes the lead to 110 with the partnership 33.
Rishabh rolling his wrists to keep the ball down on a reverse-flat-bat for one is like turning up to a black-tie dinner wearing *just* the black tie
61st over: India 138-5 (Pant 33, Jadeja 13) Outrageous from Pant, busting out a switch hit to start Wagner’s new over from round the wicket, eventually helping it safety to third man for one. In at Jadeja’s body again and so close to landing back on his stumps after hitting a combination of thigh pad and inside edge. Another nasty short ball follows, Jadeja able to get his body out of the line of fire. And again - this is relentless - and it does sting him on the torso, landing with Nicholls at short leg. I hope he has a rib guard on.
“The odd one out among those Spanish headlines was, of course, Mundo Deportivo with its insouciant preference for Jordi Alba transfer tittle-tattle over the national team’s travails,” writes Charles Antaki. “Not surprising, given its Catalan base, and especially its FC Barcelona boosterism. And if you think that’s a bit partisan, wait till you see the front page of Sport, where you have to use a microscope to find any mention of la selección whatsoever.”
Yep, the relationship between Spain’s domestic football culture and its national team is complicated in places, and fascinating. I seem to recall Phil Ball’s excellent 2001 history, Morbo, being very good on this. Though it was of course written before the national side’s golden age.
It was always inevitable that the unwieldy hosting structure of Euro 2020 would spark grievances and complaints, particularly under varying pandemic restrictions and particularly when it came to the knockout stages. Austria’s coach, Franco Foda, wants their tie with Italy switched because of Britain’s quarantine requirements. This from Reuters:
It “makes no sense” for Austria’s clash with Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2020 on Saturday to be held in London as neither side’s fans can fly there, the Alpine nation’s coach said in remarks published on Wednesday, suggesting a change of venue.
The 24-team tournament is being held in various countries across the continent, each with their own coronavirus travel restrictions and social-distancing rules governing how many spectators can attend matches.
The first American to win the Champions League did so at a time when US soccer players were seen as little more than novelties
Three years ago, the US men’s team were watching the World Cup on television instead of playing in it. But with the 2022 edition in sight, things are looking much more encouraging. Christian Pulisic’s successive victories in the Champions League and Concacaf Nations League finals are symbolic of the team’s revival. He is far from alone though. Alongside him stand the likes of Giovanni Reyna, Weston McKennie, and Sergiño Dest, all of whom play for some of the best clubs in the world. This kind of success in Europe was unprecedented just five years ago for Americans, before Pulisic established himself as a young phenomenon at Borussia Dortmund.
But it wasn’t the first time we’ve seen an American lift the most coveted trophy in club soccer, nor is it the first time Dortmund have helped American soccer players break into European competition.
More than anything, this was a night when Gareth Southgate needed his attacking talents to express themselves. Safe passage to the last 16 at Euro 2020 had been guaranteed but could England show something to generate a bit of excitement, to fire the feeling that they might be able to cut through teams?
Thanks in large part to Jack Grealish, who was given his chance in the starting lineup, they did so in the first half and that was the main takeaway of an evening when the victory ensured England finished on top of Group D. Grealish made the only goal of the tie early on for Raheem Sterling and, together with Bukayo Saka, who also started, was central to an enjoyably thrusting display for 45 minutes.
The nature of Scottish football is such that recriminations as relating to this exit from Euro 2020 would have started long before full-time in a match preceded by great excitement. Sometimes, the answers are blissfully simple. Croatia remain a superior team to Scotland, as they were only too happy to prove in sealing a last 16 berth. Not even the expansion of this championship to 24 teams could end Scotland’s horror run of having never progressed beyond a finals group stage. Victory here would have changed that statistic. Instead, comprehensive – and deserved – defeat.
Inspired by Luka Modric – who else? – Croatia ended Steve Clarke’s dream, and took second place in Group D on goal difference. Scotland missed an abundance of chances when falling to the Czech Republic last Monday and did likewise when meeting England on Friday.
The European champions take on Didier Deschamps’ side knowing a loss could result in the ignominy of an early exit
France have the tranquility of knowing they are safely through to the last 16 regardless of the result against Portugal on Wednesday, Didier Deschamps contentedly revealed. Despite his protestations, they also have the motive, opportunity and weapons to deny that luxury to the reigning European champions at the Puskas Arena.
The France manager rejected the theory that his players will be motivated by the thought of potentially eliminating a major rival, and the team that denied them the Euro 2016 title on home soil, before the knockout stages have started. Winning, building confidence and gathering momentum are incentive enough for the world champions, Deschamps argued. But they know. Hugo Lloris, the captain, mentioned at least four times in his press conference that “the stakes are higher for the Portuguese”.
Patriots and Giants player went to Rio Games in 2016
Super Bowl winner cites injury after NFL season
The NFL player Nate Ebner has withdrawn from contention for a second trip to the Olympics with the USA men’s rugby sevens squad, citing an injury sustained after the 2020 NFL season he spent with the New York Giants.
• Papu Gómez goal books quarter-final spot for Argentina
• Messi wins 147th cap to equal Mascherano’s appearance record
Papu Gómez scored in the 10th minute as Argentina beat Paraguay 1-0 and secured their place in the Copa América knockout stage.
The result at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia moved Argentina to the top of Group A with seven points from three matches. The game also gave Lionel Messi a record 147th cap for the national team, equalling the mark of retired defender Javier Mascherano.
Right, my work here is done, and I’m off to steel myself for an evening of flitting between channels repeatedly, thereby rendering any tactical “insights” I may have about Croatia, Scotland, England and the Czech Republic even more incoherent than usual. And I’ll pass you back to Gregg, who’ll guide you through the rest of the day before we can start our big matches buildup in earnest.
England latest – Saka could also start in place of Foden. Here’s Jacob’s report:
Defensive end is league’s first active player to come out as gay
Stars including JJ Watt and Julian Edelman welcome decision
Carl Nassib’s decision to come out as gay, the first time an active NFL player has chosen to do so, was welcomed across the league from coaches and teams to some of the biggest names in the sport.
It is hardly a secret that gay players have always existed in the NFL, but a fear of a backlash from fans, teammates and their employers stopped them from doing so. Now times appear to be slowly changing.
Gareth Southgate’s plans for England’s final match of the group phase were thrown into disarray after Mount and Chilwell were deemed to have been close contacts of Gilmour, who was sent into a 10-day quarantine after returning a positive test for Covid-19 on Monday. The contact between the Chelsea trio took place after Scotland’s goalless draw with Southgate’s side.
This year’s race begins in France’s cycling heartland before heading to the mountains and a climax in the Pyrenees
The Tour opens with a loop through France’s cycling heartland, home to heroes of the past such as the five-times winner Bernard Hinault, and present-day aspirants such as Warren Barguil. A hilly route travels south to Quimper then returns north to finish close to the start, up a steep two-mile climb tailor made for France’s biggest current star, Julian Alaphilippe, who will be under intense pressure to deliver the stage win and yellow jersey. With more brief ascents approaching the finish crashes are inevitable as the field fights for position before the closing hill.
Spaniard inspired by former champions’ tales of bouncing back from disaster to win first major two weeks after Covid infection
Two weeks ago, Jon Rahm was playing the golf of his life at the Memorial at Muirfield Village, equalling the tournament’s 54-hole record at 18 under par and opening a six-stroke lead over the field, only to be informed on live television while coming off the 18th green that he would have to withdraw after testing positive for the coronavirus.
The guidelines of the PGA Tour and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the US public health agency – require 10 days of self-isolation after a positive test, limiting Rahm’s ability to practise before the US Open. Only because he was able to return two negative tests within 24 hours was he permitted to cut his quarantine short and arrive at Torrey Pines Golf Course for the season’s third major before Tuesday.
The Brazilian – along with the likes of Tom Brady and LeBron James – offers more proof that the end only comes once we stop breathing and believing
“Dreeew!” howled the exultant man on my laptop from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center, filling the screen with the toothy, dimpled grin that leaves all who see it smiling almost as brightly. Such is the infectious effervescence of Hélio Castroneves, and on the Monday afternoon we finally connect this Roberto Benigni of the track is feeling extra bubbly.
Just the day prior he’d scored a record-tying fourth victory at the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 after a 12-year dry spell that would make a nice career for just about any other driver. But even though Castroneves placed fourth in the 2017 championship and second twice in his previous seven Indy 500 starts, he wound up losing his longtime seat in Team Penske’s No 3 car. To explain it in terms a Lethal Weapon fan might appreciate: he was getting too old for this … sport.
Talk about a timely reminder. With the Champions League final in Porto fast approaching Ferran Torres jogged Pep Guardiola’s memory by scoring a fabulous hat-trick comprised of three different varieties of volley.
One was utterly outrageous and all three far too good for Martin Dubravka to save as a refreshed Manchester City side studded with second stringers ultimately outclassed Newcastle in the most bewitchingly entertaining of supposedly meaningless games.
Medina Spirit has passed three rounds of prerace drug testing and been cleared to run in the Preakness on Saturday.
Maryland racing officials said Friday tests on the Kentucky Derby winner and fellow Bob Baffert-trained Concert Tour came back with nothing that would cause them to be scratched from the second leg of the Triple Crown. Baffert’s camp agreed to rigorous testing and monitoring of his horses as a condition of entry to the Preakness.
Leicester’s manager has succumbed to his own hubris before but he now has ample evidence of the success of his methods
A quiz: which of these stories about Brendan Rodgers is true? Story A: when he was a youth-team coach at Chelsea he once tried to cheer up an out-of-form John Terry by commissioning a bespoke motivational poem, which he then had framed. Story B: when his Swansea side won promotion to the Premier League, he celebrated by going off to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Chris Kamara. Story C: when he meets young players for the first time he draws them a little stick figure with a crown on its head, in order to illustrate that they are “king of their own destiny”.
Of course, they’re all true. This is the inimitable legend of Rodgers: people person, friend to the stars, all-round wit. For some this is the sort of stuff that renders him ripe for ridicule. And yet, let’s examine the evidence. A visibly moved Terry scored in his next Chelsea game and dedicated the goal to Rodgers. The Kilimanjaro jaunt was a longstanding charity commitment, raising almost £400,000 in the fight against cancer, the disease to which he lost both his parents. And when your record of youth development includes Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, Kieran Tierney, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison, perhaps it’s fair to say his methods have some merit.
Lawyers have battled over ‘race-norming’ in NFL dementia tests
NFL algorithm assumes lower cognitive skills for Black players
Thousands of retired Black professional football players, their families and supporters are demanding an end to the controversial use of “race-norming” to determine which players are eligible for payouts in the NFL’s $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims, a system experts say is discriminatory.
Former Washington running back Ken Jenkins, 60, and his wife Amy Lewis on Friday delivered 50,000 petitions demanding equal treatment for Black players to senior US district judge Anita B Brody in Philadelphia, who is overseeing the massive settlement. Former players who suffer dementia or other diagnoses can be eligible for a payout.
As the Italian parliament debates whether Italy should formally recognise that China is guilty of genocide on its Uyghur citizens, the Chinese state is a part-owner of the Scudetto champions
You might think Liverpool have had an underwhelming Premier League title defence. The mid-season collapse. The failed attempt to join a Super League. The strangely maudlin video address from the club’s owner, delivered in the style of a baffled senior executive apologising for an involuntary bladder malfunction at the company golf day. None of this is ideal.
But spare a thought for the reigning Chinese Super League champions, Jiangsu FC, who are nowhere to be seen four games into the new season.
Manager left England with a one-way ticket and $1,000 to pursue her dream. On Sunday she takes charge in a Champions League final
‘When did I recognise that she was any good in her business?” says Sid Hayes, the 80-year-old father of Chelsea’s manager, Emma Hayes. “I’m going to tell you a story about the London Olympics.”
As Hayes sat next to her dad at Wembley for the Olympic women’s football final, she was to all intents and purposes unemployed. “There was the ceremony on the pitch where the three teams [USA, Japan and third-placed Canada] collected their medals,” Sid recalls. “Emma said: ‘Dad, you see those 50 people out there? I’ve coached 40 of them.’ I thought: ‘Wow, but you’re sitting here unemployed?’ It was time to come back.” That month, August 2012, she took the job at Chelsea.
Abhimanyu Mishra poised to break Sergey Karjakin’s mark of 12 years seven months despite going six months without playing in a tournament due to Covid-19
One of the most enduring chess records, Sergey Karjakin as the youngest grandmaster ever at 12 years and seven months, looks set to fall in the next few weeks. Abhimanyu Mishra, from New Jersey, US, is already the youngest ever international master, at 11. and has just achieved two of the three required GM norms for the higher title.
Thomas Tuchel on whether he is prepared to enjoy the FA Cup final:
“I’m not yet in the mode to enjoy it. I still have a bit of a hangover from last defeat. It’s always like this so I’m a bit of, more of in an angry mode when we will arrive in the hotel. It’s good because I’m not angry at myself or the players, just because of the result and the opportunity we missed. I will hopefully transform it into a good preparation and to put the team to the edge and let them play sharp. It’s my responsibility and we absolutely have to show a reaction.
“I’m happy to go to Porto. I’m happy to go to a final, that’s pretty much the answer. I would go anywhere to play a Champions League final as a participant.” - Thomas Tuchel on the Champions League final venue.
Six months after the horrific crash that ended his Formula One career, former Haas driver Romain Grosjean is making a go for it on the IndyCar circuit
For some racing drivers hand blisters are an occasional nuisance. For Romain Grosjean they have become a constant menace, ever poised to loosen his grip and send his bold move from Formula 1 to IndyCar spiraling off course. Heading into IndyCar’s season-opening test in February, the 35-year-old Franco-Swiss wasn’t confident his tender mitts could hold his No 51 Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing machine on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn circuit at Birmingham, Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park for long without making blood bags out of his racing gloves. So Grosjean, who races under the French flag, consulted with two close compatriots he thought might have some handy advice.
In an extract from a new book, the Liverpool star discusses the art of defending, how it’s changed and how to put off opponents
Even a player lauded as the complete modern centre-half appreciates all aspects of life in the position, whether that be the aesthetic side of the game or the more agricultural. Virgil van Dijk and last-gasp, back-to-the-wall defending don’t seem obvious bedfellows, but he rejects the notion that his modern brethren don’t embrace it.
“I think it happens to us quite a lot,” he says. “Look at the 2019 Champions League final. We can be a goal up and the opponent is trying to do everything possible to try and win the game. We had our backs against the wall in Madrid against Tottenham and yes, it is a different situation to what we normally have, because yes, we are usually attacking and pressing forward, but there are times when we have to drop and we have to organise, and you must take joy in that part of the game.
Chants from Car Park B of the Wanda Metropolitano helped get an agonised Atlético over the line against Real Sociedad
The Atlético Madrid fans at the Metropolitano didn’t watch the match that took the club to within touching distance of the league title, but they lived it. Still not allowed in but determined not to be left out, if they couldn’t see their players on Wednesday night their players could hear them, song drifting in through the open southeastern corner of the stadium. Supporters gathered in Car Park B beneath the biggest flagpole in Spain, the 338 square metres of red and white that normally fly from it taken down because of the wind on this night of all nights, while on the other side the players clung on to the lead that carried them close, so close, to becoming champions.
Diego Simeone called the suffering “unnecessary” – but, at the end of his 500th first-team game for the club he joined at eight, Koke said: “We’re Atléti and if we didn’t suffer it wouldn’t be us.” This 2-1 win against Real Sociedad leaves them top with two matches left, and the captain said: “We heard the fans from out there and we needed them, especially for that extra effort in the final minutes.” And he was right.
The Super Golf League’s plotters may hope that a less tribal sport will not rise up against their plans but it can and should
People often ask about the difference in media approach between top-level footballers and golfers. The widespread understanding would be that football players, bereft of educational qualifications, have a cynical attitude towards the press drilled into them within clubs and treat reporters accordingly. Golfers, often with at least an element of the US college system on their CV, comprehend the need to keep both tour and individual sponsors happy and therefore treat media duties as a core responsibility.
In some respects that generalisation is correct. In many others it is grossly unfair. Footballers encounter a level of media criticism that is rarely, if ever, bestowed on golfers. Premier League players are subject to a scrutiny, personal and professional, that would be totally alien even to Rory McIlroy. Golfers making front pages is a rare thing indeed but that shouldn’t lead us to believe they are all as pure as the driven snow.
Gregg Popovich’s longtime aide-de-camp is the first female full-time assistant coach in any major US sports league – and no one in the NBA will be surprised when she finally lands a top job
Still seething from a heated disagreement with the referee, Gregg Popovich pointed to one of his assistant coaches, Becky Hammon, and said, “You got ‘em.”
There was 3:56 remaining in the second quarter when Popovich was ejected with his San Antonio Spurs trailing the Los Angeles Lakers by 11 on 30 December 2020. With the five-time NBA champion coach gone, Hammon assumed the reins, and the transition appeared perfectly natural to her, the Spurs staff and players. Not a moment’s thought was given to the fact that Hammon had just become the first female to take charge of an NBA team. There was a game to win, and there was no one better to fill Coach Pop’s shoes.
For Liverpool, what felt like a pre‑match decoy was only the beginning. With the air once again heavy with Manchester United fan protest, there was briefly the worry that the visitors’ team bus might not make it through to the stadium.
It was fired by footage of a red coach emblazoned with Liverpool’s colours being blocked in by cars outside a city centre hotel.
Leicester can strike blow against ‘big six’, will Allardyce halt Liverpool’s top-four charge and what now for Ndombele?
The cold, dead-behind-the-eyes pragmatist might assert that Leicester’s most important match against Chelsea comes on Tuesday, in a meeting that may prove decisive to their top-four hopes. But that would be to ignore the sheer euphoria of winning the FA Cup in front of 6,250 of their fans at Wembley, and to miss the fundamental point that if football does not come down to winning magical old competitions like this then everyone may as well pack up. For Leicester, a first-ever cup final win would reassert the sense, five years after their league title win, that they are here to stay as a club capable of winning major honours. Their continued presence around the top end since 2016 has, in many ways, been just as impressive as that Claudio Ranieri-inspired triumph. Leicester continue to make a mockery of the idea that a “big six” exists in anything bar inflated egos, and they can prove that once again on Saturday. Nick Ames
Istanbul had been due to host Manchester City v Chelsea
Each club will receive 6,000 tickets for their fans
Porto has been confirmed as the venue for the Champions League final after a week of negotiations, with Manchester City and Chelsea fans now free to begin a desperate scramble for tickets and travel to Portugal.
Six thousand tickets have been made available for the supporters of each club at the Estádio do Dragão on 29 May, after Uefa agreed terms for holding the event with Portuguese authorities on Thursday. It follows aborted discussions with the UK government over bringing the match to Wembley.
A fit Jack Grealish was a sight for sore eyes for Aston Villa and England fans, even if the playmaker’s return after a three-month lay-off with shin trouble was not enough to raise this match above mediocrity. Grealish, introduced from the bench in the 72nd minute, looked understandably off the pace in this mostly tepid contest – one scorching burst excepted – but his return raises hopes that he could regain his best form in time for the European Championship.
The single mom from Brooklyn who became world featherweight champion and one of NYC’s most popular fighters opens up about her feminist roots, the fight for gender equity and life after boxing
Heather Hardy has experienced it all during her time as a professional fighter. A single mom and feminist who didn’t start boxing until well into her twenties, the Brooklyn native came up through the crucible of New York City’s club scene before finally winning the World Boxing Organization featherweight title in 2018.
Now 39, Hardy is up against a challenge she’s yet to confront in her decade-long career: bouncing back from defeat. Twenty months after suffering her first professional loss and ceding her title to fellow Brooklynite Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden, Hardy will climb into the ring with Montreal’s Jessica Camara in an eight-round lightweight bout at the top of Broadway Boxing’s inaugural Ladies Fight card – a new all-female boxing series streaming on UFC Fight Pass that promoter Lou DiBella has launched to keep veteran contenders busy and elevate up-and-coming prospects.
Premier League waved through a debt-loading takeover of Manchester United from which the family make fortunes
In 2005, a generation ago now, when supporters were first protesting against the pending takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family, the approach of the football authorities was mostly to brush off their concerns. There seemed to be a sense among the blazers in the Football Association and the Premier League suits that the fans just did not really understand the mystique of a corporate takeover, or the excitements of having “investors” from America.
Pair went wheel to wheel again at Portuguese Grand Prix
Verstappen: ‘I have full trust in Lewis, we give each other space’
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have both saluted the hard but fair racing that has characterised their close rivalry so far in a highly competitive Formula One season. The two drivers once more went head to head at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday with Hamilton coming out on top and after they had battled wheel to wheel both drivers expressed a mutual respect and trust for each other that has come to define their racing relationship.
At the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Hamilton and Verstappen raced hard with each other for the third race in succession this season. With Hamilton in second place behind his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, Verstappen made a superb restart after a safety car period, jumping Hamilton and passing him round the outside through turn one. Then when the Dutch driver made a small error several laps later Hamilton pounced, similarly sweeping past his rival through turn one and making it stick by holding his line through turn three. Both moves were hard, elbows-out racing but fair and acknowledged as such by both drivers.
Body of Keishla Rodriguez was found over the weekend
Boxer charged with kidnapping resulting in death
A federal judge ordered Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo held without bail after he was charged in the death of a 27-year-old women believed to be pregnant with his child. Keishla Rodriguez’s body was found in a lagoon on Saturday.
Verdejo is charged with kidnapping and carjacking resulting in the death of Rodriguez and with intentionally killing an unborn child. He did not make any comments during Monday’s hearing.
The Mexican fighter talks exclusively about his upcoming bout with Billy Joe Saunders, childhood bullies and the pitfalls of fame
“I love this,” Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez says as he looks around the scattered debris of his gym in San Diego. His intense gaze scans the heavy bags and speed balls, the hand wraps and water bottles, the gloves and head guards, with an empty ring at its very heart. It’s just after 10 in the morning and the familiar clatter and din of his training camp has already begun for the day. Álvarez, the best boxer in the world, turns back to my Zoom screen and then, leaning forward, he speaks in Spanish with surprising ardour for a 30-year-old fighter who has been boxing professionally for more than half his life: “I love it. I’m always motivated because I love boxing.”
It’s strangely moving as we reach the core of a rare one-to-one interview with Álvarez and he switches back to English to say two simple yet compelling sentences. “This is the reality of my life. No boxing, no life.”
Jamie from the United We Stand fanzine was one of the supporters who invaded the pitch. He describes the day
Brilliant. Sunday was the best outcome we could have got. It was the plan all along: to get the game delayed or abandoned – that was certainly the intention from a good number of us.
This is all to do with the Glazers. It has been a long time in the making, because we protested in 2005 [when they bought club], and again in 2010. I can understand people saying: “It’s just because you’re not winning things any more.” But that’s not the point – this is about a football club and a community that surrounds it.
FBI accuses Olympian of killing Keishla Rodriguez, 27
Boxer and attorneys have declined to comment on allegations
Boxer Félix Verdejo turned himself in to federal agents on Sunday night to face charges just hours after authorities identified the body of a dead woman as a 27-year-old believed to be pregnant with his child, officials have said.
A criminal complaint filed by the FBI accuses Verdejo of punching Keishla Rodriguez in the face and injecting her with a syringe filled with an unidentified substance bought at a public housing complex. It alleges that he then bound her arms and feet with wire and tied a heavy block to her before throwing her off a bridge at 8.30am on Thursday. The complaint states that Verdejo then shot at Rodriguez’s body as he stood on the bridge.
Chicago made an aggressive – and impressive move – for the talented Justin Fields while Pittsburgh overreached to take a running back
Chicago Bears: Chicago had the most to shout about after the dust settled in Cleveland. The Bears executed the finest move of the weekend when they traded up to snag Justin Fields at the expense of first- and fifth-round picks this year, and a first- and fourth-rounder in 2022. Aggressive decisions like this are often a desperate reach but getting such an all-round talented quarterback at No 11 feels like an unmitigated steal.
A new book by Chanda Minor-Brigance, the wife of Super Bowl winner OJ Brigance, celebrates the importance of the caregiver
Seven years after OJ Brigance played on the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl-winning team during the 2000 season, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Knowing that the disease would take his mobility, he and his wife, Chanda Minor-Brigance, had to figure out how to adjust to a new normal.
“When OJ was first diagnosed, we knew nothing about ALS,” Minor-Brigance said. “How you prepare for something like that – a life-changing thing – I don’t know. But we were not prepared.”
Champion extends lead in drivers’ title race with 97th win
Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix will surely silence anyone who was entertaining even fleeting doubts as to his motivation to take another Formula One world title.
Determined and relentless, the champion delivered his best performance of the season with a fightback to victory serving notice that it is not just Hamilton’s talent that must be overcome but a relentless will to win, epitomised at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve by some superlative, courageous overtaking.
Although the level of the opposition left much to be desired, this was a reminder that Tottenham still have a team capable of playing devastating football. It is not all doom and gloom in north London, even though there is no end in sight to the search for a new manager.
At least Spurs are doing everything in their power to ensure that whoever takes over from Ryan Mason has European football to enjoy next season. They have won twice in the league since firing José Mourinho and there was a sense of a side enjoying themselves against a wretched Sheffield United, who were powerless to resist in the face of inspired displays from Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min.
Amid the grievances that have brought fans into the streets in recent weeks there is a yearning to feel something again
A lone saxophonist was playing in the sunshine outside Old Trafford on Sunday evening. This was after the tumult, after the crowds had been pushed back, after the police had regained control of the concourse outside the megastore, before the inevitable 0-0 draw between Manchester United and Liverpool had finally been called off. And on another surreal and poignant day in English football, it was possible to hear in those breezy notes a lament for something that had been lost, something that even now might never be recovered.
Earlier in the day, by all accounts, the mood had been mutinous, bordering on euphoric. We knew on some level that the few dozen United fans who managed to infiltrate the Old Trafford pitch must have been motivated by some intense and bottled anger. But as they cavorted on the famous turf, grabbing souvenirs, hurling tripods, gurning at the deserted directors’ box, they didn’t look particularly angry. They, like those protesting outside, looked giddy with excitement.
New Zealander wins bruising heavyweight bout in Manchester
Katie Taylor retains lightweight title against Natasha Jonas
After an unpredictable week of good humour and erratic behaviour, of eating breakfast together and then squabbling over who would walk first to the ring, Joseph Parker beat the old warhorse Derek Chisora on a split decision in a close and bruising fight at the Manchester Arena late on Saturday night. The decisive third scorecard, which was awarded to Parker by a margin of 115-113, was disputed by Chisora who complained it was “unbelievable”. Parker agreed that Chisora deserves a rematch – especially after the start he endured.
Seven seconds into the fight for the WBO’s intercontinental’s heavyweight title, Chisora floored Parker with an overhand right. It was a shock opening for the favoured fighter but he looked off balance as the blow to the back of his head landed with crude force. Chisora, seeking an early finish, poured forward but Parker was not badly hurt. The New Zealander managed to keep the marauding Chisora at bay to see out the rest of the round without further mishap.
Reunion with United arrives with Liverpool’s reign almost over and questions mounting about the future
Mohamed Salah had tossed his shirt away in celebration and Alisson, perhaps particularly eager to mark a rare assist, had sprinted 100 yards to become the first to join him when Anfield erupted into a chorus not heard there for years: “We’re gonna win the league,” declared those previously wary of sounding over-confident.
It was January 2020. Liverpool had taken 91 of 93 points available, were 16 clear at the top of the Premier League, 30 ahead of the defeated Manchester United. The visitors’ No 10 was not Bruno Fernandes, then a Sporting Lisbon player, but Andreas Pereira. The spectre of the unemployed Mauricio Pochettino threatened to haunt Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Manchester City’s manager has stimulated a team that looked broken – and did so again against Crystal Palace
Several stories unfolded at once at Selhurst Park, even when it looked like nothing was afoot. Manchester City started sluggishly and did not manage a shot on target in the first half yet they emerged as comprehensive winners, a fact that sums up this season’s title race.
That they could dispose of mid-table opponents with something close to a shadow side, assembled at an average cost of more than £42m per player, says plenty about the depth of City’s squad and pockets. Their third title in four seasons will be confirmed if Liverpool help them by beating Manchester United on Sunday, and that, too, tells a tale.
Elche miss injury-time penalty in 1-0 win for leaders
Marcos Llorente’s goal enough for win over strugglers
Atlético Madrid stayed in charge of La Liga’s four-way title race by grinding out a 1-0 win at struggling Elche on Saturday but rode their luck to the extreme when the hosts missed a penalty in stoppage time.
Marcos Llorente scored the only goal of the game with a deflected shot in the 23rd minute but gave away the penalty in the 90th for a handball as Atleti defended their slim lead.
Chelsea make five changes to the team sent out to face Real Madrid last Tuesday. Kurt Zouma, Hakim Ziyech, Reece James, Kai Havertz and Billy Gilmour come in, the latter making his first start of the Premier League season. Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Christian Pulisic drop to the bench, while Antonio Rudiger is injured.
Fulham, who came so close to winning at Arsenal two weeks ago, name the same XI. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, on loan from Chelsea, is ineligible.
Finn beats teammate by seven-thousandths of second
Red Bulls of Verstappen and Pérez third and fourth
Valtteri Bottas took pole for Portuguese Grand Prix to deny Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton the top spot by just seven-thousandths of a second. Max Verstappen was in third for Red Bull at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, with his teammate Sergio Pérez in fourth and Carlos Sainz in fifth for Ferrari.
In a session that ebbed and flowed it had looked initially like Hamilton had what would have been his 100th pole nailed on. He was quick in Q2, a full half a second up on Bottas at the top of the time sheets. He did so on the harder, medium, tyre and looked to be absolutely hooked up to the grand challenge of Portimao with its fast and slow sectors, blind corners and swooping elevation changes through the hills of the Algarve.
Sergio Agüero’s time at Manchester City may be coming to an end but he certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry. A 182nd Premier League goal for the club and his first from open play for 12 months ensured Pep Guardiola’s side moved to within touching distance of a fifth title in a decade since the Argentinian’s arrival from Atlético Madrid.
A victory for reigning champions Liverpool against second-placed Manchester United on Sundaywill confirm what we have all known would happen for some time now. Incredibly, this was City’s 11th successive away victory since drawing at Old Trafford on 12 December – equalling the record set by Chelsea in 2008 and Guardiola’s team in 2017 – with an aggregate score of 28-4. The only question now is whether City can finish off Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday and reach the Champions League final for the first time. In this form, you wouldn’t bet against it.
The four-times world champion on life at Aston Martin, his bond with Lewis Hamilton and tackling environmental issues
As a four-times Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel surely has nothing left to prove, except it seems to himself. The German has endured a trying time of late but as his career enters a new phase, his passion for the sport is entirely undiminished. Vettel’s interests these days may be broader, extending from promoting the wellbeing of bees to a spot of early morning cow milking, but F1 remains the driving force.
Vettel has been competing in F1 now for 15 seasons. Yet before the Portuguese Grand Prix this weekend the eyes above his mask still make a convincing case that the 33-year-old veteran enjoys the same enthusiasm as the boy who began racing karts at eight; as the tousle-haired teenager who made his F1 test debut for Sauber in 2006 and indeed the precociously talented young man who became the youngest winner of an F1 race in 2008 for Toro Rosso at Monza.
At Bayern, we learned so much from Guardiola – he knows big matches are decided by big players
I remember a lot from Pep Guardiola. “In important matches,” he said to me, “I just pick my best XI.” You have to listen carefully, the sentence contains the core of what football is about: individual quality. Guardiola is a top coach. He loves the skills and talent of his players.
Some coaches seek to reduce the complexity of football. Guardiola, though, wants to master it. One can compare his task with a chess grandmaster or with an orchestra director who gets the best out of each instrument. The only thing is that a football ensemble does not play according to given musical notes, and the paths of a footballer are more variable than those followed by the rook and the knight. It isn’t all that easy to recognise what someone is doing and can do on the pitch. It’s also hard to describe.
Footballing icon died of heart failure in Argentina in November
The 60-year-old was ‘not properly monitored’, says report
A medical board appointed to investigate the death of Diego Maradona has concluded that the football icon’s medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner,” according to a copy of the report shared with Reuters on Friday.
Maradona’s death in November last year rocked Argentina, where he was revered, and prompted a period of mourning and finger-pointing about who was to blame after his long battle with addiction and ill health.
Brendan Rodgers takes his turn. “The game tonight is an important game. We are really excited about it. It’s about looking up: we are five points behind Manchester United, and we will do everything we can to catch them. The players have been amazing in their approach from the very first game of the season. We do not dwell on the past. The players have matured and improved and collectively have been very strong. It’s all about concentration at this stage of the season. The players have really good fitness levels.” He then goes on to enthuse about the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho at length, concluding that “he sees finishes of all different types ... we are all delighted for him but he knows he needs to continue with it.”
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl speaks to Sky. “We must try to bring tight games on our side. This is something we have missed during the second half of the season. The guys know we have played better football in the first half, and now we must bring this quality back. We have shown it in short moments in the past weeks, but not always enough for winning, so this is the goal. We must do the good things for a little bit longer. We need more than one good result, there is still a chance to climb to 12th, this is the goal for me, there are six games left.”
Whether they admit it or not, Patrick Mahomes was baked into the decision-making process of every front-office executive during Thursday night’s first round
It’s hard to think of a single player in the modern era of the NFL that has had such an instant, sweeping and lasting impact as Patrick Mahomes. In the space of four short years, he has changed the entire tenor and tone of the league: conservatism is out; risk is in.
Exhibition between YouTuber and 44-year-old is a destructive, easy source of revenue – and a troubling prospect for the sport
The phrase “(Person X) has a punchable face” is a horrible thing. There is so much wrong with it. The idea people have any say in what their face looks like. The suggestion punching is an acceptable human response. It’s degrading. It’s cowardly. It stinks of all the worst parts of the internet, humankind’s angriest medium.
And yet, with all due advisories, and having considered soberly all available evidence, it has to be said Logan Paul really does have a punchable face.
The chess grandmaster on speaking out against Vladimir Putin and why he cannot choose the best player ever
“I haven’t stopped my fight against the regime,” says Garry Kasparov, his words bristling with defiance and quiet rage. “I’m not lowering my voice. Putin is not just a Russian imperialist. He has a much bigger agenda. He is an existential threat to the free world.”
It would have been easy for the greatest chess player in history to stay quiet after fleeing Russia in 2013 amid a crackdown on prominent opposition figures. Kasparov, after all, is a successful businessman, an expert on artificial intelligence and cyber security, and has just launched a new website, Kasparovchess.com. But that has never been his style. Not now. Not ever.
Derek Chisora’s trainer on handling a troubled upbringing, tragedy in the ring, and his fighter’s best strategy for beating Joseph Parker
When the lights dim at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, and Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker wait in their corners for the first bell, it will be tempting to pay more attention to their trainers as they offer up the final slivers of advice before a fight that both heavyweights desperately need to win.
Parker, the former WBO world champion, is hoping to fight again for the title, after he lost against Anthony Joshua in a unification contest in March 2018, and he has hired Andy Lee as his new trainer. The old warhorse Chisora, meanwhile, is 37 and, as his last days in boxing reel towards him, he has called in Buddy McGirt, one of the world’s great trainers, to salvage his career.
Jürgen Klopp will not have much cash to spend this summer, he said at today’s news conference, and if Liverpool don’t qualify for the Champions League it won’t make much of a difference.
The club’s latest accounts published this week showed the club made a pre-tax loss of £46m to the year ending May 30, 2020 and there will be further financial hurt to come, the estimate being £120m lost by the time fans can fill Anfield.
Playing in the Champions League is massive, especially financially. If we can’t make it that’s not good, definitely not, but I don’t think it will change anything. The situation is difficult before, it will be difficult after.
If America’s pastime is going to survive this century, it’s going to have to let its brash young personalities shine through
On Saturday the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the San Diego Padres in what has become baseball’s hottest rivalry. To say the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr started it off with a bang would be putting it mildly.
After taking a chest-high cutter from the Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer on the game’s first pitch for a strike, Tatis struck back on the very next throw, slapping essentially the exact same pitch over Dodger Stadium’s left-field fence to furnish the visitors with a 1-0 lead. It was your classic, cut-to-the-chase moment, one of baseball’s biggest bats getting over on its reigning Cy Young winner. But what came next was even more explosive. As Tatis was rounding first base, he slowed down, looked back and cupped a hand over his right eye. No doubt, for baseball purists, this – not the homer, his first of two on the day – was the real shot.
Chicago Bears select Justin Fields after trading up
49ers pick Trey Lance No 3, Jets get Zach Wilson at No2
Trevor Lawrence is No 1 overall pick for Jaguars
Quarterbacks dominated the first-round of the 2021 NFL draft as teams looked to grab the players they hope will be franchise cornerstones for years to come.
There was little surprise at the No 1 overall pick in Thursday night’s event in Cleveland. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, considered one of the best college prospects in decades. Similarly, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson had long been predicted as the second overall pick for the New York Jets, and those predictions came true.
City could depend on Liverpool to win the league, pressure is still on Timo Werner and Ross Barkley risks missing the plane
What better way to prepare for the second leg of their Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain than by winning the Premier League? Manchester City will be guaranteed another title if they take three points at Selhurst Park on Saturday and Liverpool beat Manchester United on Sunday. The luxury for Pep Guardiola is that he can hold back many of the players he plans to start against PSG and still be confident of giving Palace what for. Having played without a striker in Paris, City could, for instance, deploy both Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus against Palace, giving Kevin De Bruyne a chance to rest up. John Stones will definitely not play, with his suspension giving Aymeric Laporte a chance in central defence and possibly keep his place for the following league match, which happens to be against Chelsea, a potential opponent in the Champions League final. PD
Manchester United emerged from an invigorating contest with a surely unassailable advantage that all but places them in the Europa League final next month.
This victory, secured despite a 2-1 deficit at half-time, had the feel of the next major step in the evolution of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side. Bruno Fernandes’s 70th-minute penalty may have been dubiously awarded – Chris Smalling’s “foul” on Edinson Cavani appeared to be the latter merely falling over – but United’s talisman made no mistake.
Welcome to the 2021 NFL Draft where it feels like we know quite a bit and also maybe don’t know anything at all? It turns out that trying to put together the NFL Draft after a global pandemic has radically altered the college football season poses a bit of a challenge. Teams, after all, are working with far less data then they are accustomed to here.
Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s how Graham Searles sees the top picks shaping up in his mock draft:
Arsenal stepped back from the edge of the abyss and turned towards the final instead. Just when their European journey and their season appeared over, down to 10 men and trailing 2-0 through goals from Manu Trigueros and Raúl Albiol, unable to muster a shot on target and on the verge of falling at the hands of the manager they had sacked, Bukayo Saka won a penalty that gives them hope. Mikel Arteta’s side went down in Spain, but they didn’t go out, Nicolas Pépé scoring the away goal that provides something to build on in seven days’ time.
Quarterback understood to be unhappy with way team is run
37-year-old was named NFL MVP for third time this season
Aaron Rodgers’ relationship with his only professional team could be heading for a messy divorce amid reports that the quarterback has told some people he does not want to return to the Green Bay Packers for the 2021 season.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing multiple team and league sources, says the future Hall of Famer has lost patience with the way the team is run as well started to look at life beyond football. The Packers are understood to be concerned enough about the situation that the team’s president, general manager and head coach have flown out on separate occasions during the offseason in order to rebuild bridges with Rodgers.
Critics are quick to dismiss the 30-year-old as a mere speed merchant, but he is one of the game’s best full-backs
It was about 40 minutes into the semi-final on Wednesday night that Kyle Walker made the first of his trademark overlapping sprints up the right wing. You know the one: the classic jet-powered Walker burst that seems to possess a surreal comic-book quality. Cartoon smoke billows from him as he goes. Cars are hurled aside in his wake. A dweeby looking businessman gets coffee blown all over his suit. Manchester City were 1-0 down against Paris Saint-Germain and, with half-time looming, City’s all-action hero had finally decided to join the party.
Calls for fresh measures to tackle hate and discrimination
Boycott to run from Friday afternoon until end of Monday
Leading sports bodies will begin an 84-hour boycott of social media on Friday by stepping up their demands for companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to stop online abuse being sent or seen.
The Premier League, English Football League and the anti-racism campaign Kick It Out are among those calling for fresh measures to tackle hate and discrimination – including a requirement for social media giants to display a warning if a user writes an abusive message, and to ask them to enter personal data if they wish to send it. They also want social media companies to have to submit a detailed quarterly report, outlining efforts they have made to prevent abuse, so they can be held more accountable.
Elsewhere in the Europa League: The winners of this semi-final will play Manchester United or Roma in the final. Rob Smyth is monitoring proceedings in the first leg of their last-four encounter at Old Trafford.
More correspondence: “Unai Emery’s pre-match comments on Arsenal were very pleasant, although the final bit about them having ‘a solid defence’ makes me wonder if he was actually taking the piss,” writes Robin Burchfield.
This, from Tom Atkins: “Will it be Pepe up front, or Saka?” he asks. “Given Arsenal have relied on him to play left back, right wing, in the hole, make the tea and do the accounts in the last 12 months, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did.”