Oldest player to score a double-century and take 5 wickets in an innings in a first-class match: 46y 303d WG Grace 288, 5-87 Glos v Som Bristol 1895 43y 142d DI Stevens 237, 5-13* Kent v York Leeds 2019 38y 342d EH Bowley 280*, 6-31 Sus v Glos Hove 1929
A fifth Durham wicket for Hutton and just one more needed for Northamptonshire to have all but their toe-nails in Division One.
83.1 | Hutton has 5⃣! Bang in front and Northamptonshire need 1 more...
The team were incapable even of the basics in Paris and it is a wonder Spanish clubs have not exploited the weaknesses more
As Thomas Meunier and Juan Bernat capered through the open savannah that archaeologists believe was once populated by the Real Madrid midfield, the mind was drawn to another Parisian night two and a half years ago, when Ángel di María orchestrated an even more emphatic victory for PSG over a Spanish side. As it turned out, that 4-0 win over Barcelona didn’t turn out particularly well for PSG but, more generally, what on earth is going on with midfields in la Liga?
Struggles against South Africa and Ireland have encouraged belief All Blacks can be toppled, but write them off at your peril
South Africa have spent the week preparing for their opener against New Zealand at Tokyo Disneyland, a sprawling coastal resort in the east of Japan’s capital, in a boomerang-shaped hotel. Two years ago, when the Springboks hit rock bottom, the location would have invited comparisons with Mickey Mouse, but they are more like Tarzan again.
The All Blacks are used to going into a World Cup as favourites, and at the top of the world rankings, a position currently occupied by Ireland. Since triumphing in 2015, they have declined slightly, losing their long unbeaten home record to the 2017 Lions in a series they failed to win for only the second time, suffering a first defeat to Ireland, followed up by a second two years later, and failing to beat South Africa in their last two home matches against them.
France spring surprises in selection for Argentina game
Team on a par with best in world, says Yoann Huget
France’s unpredictability these days tends to be in their team selection rather than their play, but after being named in a side to face Argentina on Saturday that surprised even the French media, the wing Yoann Huget believes Les Bleus are equipped not just to beat England to the top position in the group but reach the final.
France’s bench contains three players who did not feature in any of the pre-World Cup warm-ups while the centre Virimi Vakatawa made a single appearance as a replacement against Italy. Their last two World Cup campaigns ere notable for left-field selections at outside-half and the 20-year old Romain Ntamack, who plays in the centre for Toulouse, has been chosen there ahead of the experienced Camille Lopez even though heavy rain is forecast in Tokyo this weekend.
Players enjoy best session since arriving in Japan
Wales players went hell for leather in training on Wednesday night in a bid to put the investigation into Rob Howley’s suspected breach of betting regulations behind them. Howley’s departure from the Rugby World Cup has rocked the tournament in Japan and left Wales somehow attempting to move on from what has been a monumental distraction.
Warren Gatland’s side trained twice on Wednesday – once in the afternoon and again in the evening under floodlights to prepare for Monday’s first game with Georgia – before travelling to Toyota via train. The evening session in Kitakyushu saw Gatland’s men take out some of their frustration ahead of what will be a physical meeting in their World Cup opener. It is understood it was Wales’ best session since arriving in Japan last Wednesday.
Beauden Barrett will start at fullback for New Zealand in their World Cup Pool B opener against South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday after coach Steve Hansen retained Richie Mo’unga at flyhalf.
Barrett has played most of his career at flyhalf but has been shifted to fullback this year in order to accommodate Mo’unga, though he did start the All Blacks’ final 92-7 warmup win over Tonga in the No 10 jersey.
1,620 workers submitted complaints after wages stopped
Thousands of migrant workers in Qatar are still being exploited despite repeated promises to improve workers’ rights in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
The Amnesty investigation into three Qatari companies involved in construction and cleaning – Hamton International, Hamad bin Khaled bin Hamad and United Cleaning – found that at least 1,620 workers had submitted complaints after their wages were stopped for several months before their contracts were ended.
A trader with a well-known betting brand suggests practices could breach gender discrimination laws
Are some of Britain’s major bookmakers guilty of gender discrimination when they sign up new customers? The question arises following a conversation with a former employee at a major bookmaking firm, who suggests practices in the gambling industry could breach discrimination laws.
The source of the claim worked as a trader with a well-known betting brand for almost 10 years until earlier this year, says firms routinely discriminate between male and female punters from the moment they open an account, purely on the basis of their gender.
• Northern Irishman wants proper penalties to be enforced • Golfer encouraged by European Tour’s plan to deal with issue
Rory McIlroy has called on his sport to follow the lead of tennis by implementing proper penalties for those players who divert attention towards clocks rather than shots after the glacial pace of play at the Solheim Cup last weekend reverberated way beyond Gleneagles.
Europe’s most high-profile golfer, back on home soil for the BMW PGA Championship this week, has been impressively forthright on the subject. This weekend, the European Tour will test various innovations at Wentworth as it seeks to rid golf of the curse of slow play.
The clock showed 89.30 when Kieran Trippier’s corner bent into the penalty area and Héctor Herrera, a second-half substitute, leapt into the air to head the ball into the net. It was loud enough already, but somehow the sound reached another level. From 2-0 down, Atlético Madrid had come back to draw 2-2 with Juventus, Diego Simeone screaming down on the touchline, supporters shouting all around him. It had been quite a way to start the European season – and it was almost taken from them, too, when Cristiano Ronaldo flashed a shot just wide deep into injury time.
One hundred and 10 days later, the Champions League returned to the Metropolitano. Only one player remained from the night that Liverpool won their sixth European Cup here and the early signs were that Kieran Trippier might enjoy this night rather more than that one. Yes, he had Cristiano Ronaldo in front of him, but … well, that wasn’t entirely true: most of the time he had Ronaldo behind him. For all the cliches about Atlético, Trippier’s duties at his new club are far from solely defensive. Diego Simeone’s full-backs are pushed very high and very wide, sought out early and often.
In the context of a defensive crisis caused by injuries to centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, this was a particularly fine display from Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s team might have claimed victory in this opening Group C game by double the score and there was little beyond the usual alarms expected at this level to concern a patched-up rearguard.
As expected Fernandinho lined up alongside Nicolás Otamendi in central defence, the Brazilian’s inclusion one of four changes from Saturday’s defeat at Norwich City. The others were the Silvas – Bernardo and David – who were replaced by Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, plus Sergio Agüero, replaced by Gabriel Jesus.
This was not a night for Galácticos, old or new. At a balmy, boisterous Parc Des Princes Paris Saint-Germain simply overran Real Madrid, pulling apart the hastily-stitched seams of Zinedine Zidane’s injury-depleted team and producing surely the most thrillingly assured performance under Thomas Tuchel.
Two first-half goals from Ángel Di María all but decided this Champions League opener. But it was the vigour and drive of the PSG midfield that left the 13-times champions looking ragged, with Marco Verratti a brilliantly spiky little playmaker, and Idrissa Gueye gleefully relentless in his pressing and covering. It will have escaped no one’s notice (least of all the man himself) that all this happened in the absence of Neymar, banned for two games and reduced to watching on from beneath his gilded baseball cap next to the injured Kylian Mbappé.
Tottenham have picked up where they left off last season, where high Champions League drama came as standard and they appeared to have an addiction to doing things the hard way.
After half an hour in the Athenian port of Piraeus, they had twice enjoyed what visiting teams here crave – the brief sound of silence. First Harry Kane, from the penalty spot, and then Lucas Moura with a firecracker from distance cut through the bedlam whipped up by the Olympiakos die-hards to put Spurs in charge.
The former Australia captain says the current side’s problem is peaking one week and falling off the next
When James Horwill says he believes Australia are good enough to win the World Cup, he is not treading a patriotic line. The former Wallabies’ captain will not be in Japan as he is starting an executive MBA course in Cambridge University months after ending his career at Harlequins, but having played in the tournament he appreciates it is about the here and now rather than what went before.
Australia start the tournament sixth in the world rankings, one place below where they were four years ago when they arrived in England. The Israel Folau affair has rocked them this year, but in 2015 they were on their third head coach in two years and no more fancied than they are now, yet still reached the final.
Wales have been able to call on a ready-made replacement for Rob Howley but pre-World Cup upheaval rarely bodes well
Warren Gatland had planned a farewell with his coaching team in Dublin after the World Cup, sampling a few drops of the black stuff to mark the end of 12 years together. Black is the word in a week when his right-hand man since 2008, Rob Howley, was sent home as an investigation was launched into whether Wales’s attack coach had breached betting regulations.
This is when Gatland earns his money. No one is shrugging off the loss of a key coaching figure less than a week before Wales’s opening match in a tournament they believe they can win as if it were something that happened all the time. But with a replacement, Stephen Jones, already summoned, the talk is of using adversity to forge a stronger team spirit.
Here are the teams again in text form, for those unable to see embedded tweets:
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov, Bolbat, Kryvtsov, Matvyenko, Ismaily, Alan Patrick, Stepanenko, Marlos, Taison, Solomon, Moraes. Subs: Shevchenko, Butko, Marcos Antonio, Dentinho, Konoplyanka, Kovalenko, Bondar. Man City: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling. Subs: Bravo, Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Silva, Mendy, Joao Cancelo, Garcia. Referee: Artur Soraes Dias (Portugal).
Here’s an interesting thing: all players are shown an instructional video before every Champions League game, a bit like the one you get on an aeroplane before it takes off. And this is what it looks like:
Are you ready for your #UCL debut? You’ll need to watch this first...
This is the pre-match briefing video, given to all players and team officials in UEFA competitions.
Paris Saint-Germain: Navas, Meunier, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Marquinhos, Gueye, Verratti, Sarabia, Icardi, Di Maria. Subs: Nianzou Kouassi, Paredes, Sergio Rico, Choupo-Moting, Kurzawa, Ander Herrera, Diallo.
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Eder Militao, Varane, Mendy, Kroos, Casemiro, Rodriguez, Bale, Benzema, Hazard. Subs: Areola, Lucas, Jovic, Odriozola, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, De la Fuente.
Two European heavyweights meet tonight in Paris ... sort of. Think of this as PSG Lite versus Diet Real Madrid. There are a few folk missing, you see.
The hosts will be desperate to make an early statement tonight. They need to atone for their abysmal capitulation last season in the last 16 against Manchester United. But they’ll have to do it without their entire first-choice forward line of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani. Mbappe and Cavani are injured, while Neymar is suspended after criticising the ref on social media in the wake of that United fiasco.
• Young striker in line to start in Europa League against Astana • Solskjær intends to rotate and give younger players game time
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has described Mason Greenwood as one of the best finishers he has seen and is ready to give the 17-year-old a first senior start of the season in Thursday’s Europa League group game against Astana.
The Manchester United manager intends to make several changes, with one or two regulars nursing injuries and a testing game at West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday. Daniel James has joined Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial on the sidelines after picking up a knock in the last league match against Leicester, and Solskjær hinted that Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot, Jesse Lingard and Fred are likely to face the Kazakh champions at Old Trafford.
Hello and welcome. Now let’s see what Tottenham are made of. Last season they enjoyed the sweetest European adventure in the club’s history but ended up with a feeling of vinegary regret, losing a non-event of a final. Has that experience made them stronger and wiser? Or will they be weakened by a sense that their best chance for Champions League glory has been and gone? The distraction of the transfer window has definitely been and gone – for now – and Spurs were fearsome when demolishing Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday in what was their best performance since the Champions League final. So they’re looking good heading in today’s game.
But Olympiakos are no Crystal Palace. Despite never making it beyond the quarter-final of a continental competition they are an authentic European force, if only at home. Their previous victims in Piraeus include Liverpool, Juventus, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, AC Milan and, yes, Burnley. They have not lost any of their last nine European matches, and the three that they played in this stadium en route to this season’s group stages ended 4-0, 2-0 and 4-0 in their favour. In fact, they’ve only conceded one goal anywhere in any competition this season (in a 2-1 victory at Krasnodor). But they’ve yet to face anyone as good as Spurs, and their most creative player is 34-year-old Mathieu Valbuena, who is wonderful on his day but no longer used to playing at the intensity that Spurs will hope to impose today.
The coach and former Wales flanker is optimistic but realistic: ‘We’re not at a different level, we’re playing a different sport’
They are not the biggest beasts in the east but, win or lose, the unheralded rugby men of Russia are planning to enjoy their rare moment in the global spotlight when the World Cup kicks off on Friday night. While even their own head coach, the former Welsh flanker Lyn Jones, gives them barely a 20% chance of upsetting hosts Japan in the tournament’s opening fixture, the Bears are definitely not a squad lacking for spirit or character.
Defeats to Italy, Connacht and Jersey in their warm-up games do not remotely reflect the eventful journey they have been on to get this far. Russia only crept into the tournament by the back door after Romania, Spain and Belgium were docked points for fielding ineligible players in European World Cup qualification and their eclectic squad includes a tighthead prop, Kiril Gotovtsev, who competed as a wrestler and bobsleigher before, aged 26, he reapplied his raw strength to the front row.
Though some Team No-Side members found love for the game overseas, many will soon be seeing a live match for the first time
Two days out from opening night, Tokyo Stadium was buzzing with workers fixing the trimmings, hanging banners from the gantries, stacking crates of beer behind the bars, peeling back the plastic wrapping from the deep-pile carpets in the VIP suites. Wandering around among them was a crocodile of 70 merry volunteers getting their first look at the place, and their final instructions for what to do on Friday night. World Rugby has recruited 13,000 volunteers altogether. For the next six weeks they will be trying to shepherd half-a-million “tired and emotional” rugby fans through Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya and all the other rail stations on their way to and from the grounds.
Around two-thirds of the volunteers speak English, the rest, says World Rugby’s director of workforce Deb Jones, have been taught that they can get by with a smile and a high-five. They are called Team No-Side which, Jones says, is an interesting little story in itself. Way back in the day referees would call “no-side” at the end of the match, when neither team had the ball. It’s fallen out of use in England, but it’s stuck in Japan, where it has grown into an idiom that means everyone should put aside their differences and get together to share a drink at the end of the game, the idea being that there’s “no side” for winners or losers.
• Late miss cost side draw against Valencia in Champions League • Barkley plays down argument with Willian before spot-kick
Ross Barkley will not shy away from taking another penalty after arguing with Willian before his costly miss during Chelsea’s defeat by Valencia at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Chelsea were handed a chance to rescue a point from their opening Champions League game when they won a late penalty but there was confusion when Willian, who has confirmed he wanted to take the spot-kick, unsuccessfully tried to convince Barkley to give him the ball. Jorginho also spoke to Barkley, who ignored his teammates before sending his effort over via the top of the bar.
Toothless urgings followed the death of Sahar Khodayari, who – faced with prison for trying to watch football – set herself on fire
The grim tragedy of Sahar Khodayari once again forces Fifa to pick the most expedient version of itself. Is it an organisation that can change the world, as it frequently insists to us, or is it simply a sporting governing body, as it prefers to claim at other times?
Sahar is Iran’s so-called “Blue Girl”, a computer sciences graduate who tried in March to enter Tehran’s Azadi stadium dressed as a man, to watch her beloved Esteghlal, but was caught by officials. She was summoned to appear in court on 2 September, and told she could expect up to six months in prison. Outside the court, Sahar set herself on fire. Last week, she died in hospital from her injuries. She was 29.
King Of Change returns to the track, 137 days after finishing runner-up in the Guineas, but where is Magna Grecia?
One of many great things about the 2,000 Guineas is that it identifies the most classy young milers so we can have fun following them through the summer, right? But not this year! Neither Magna Grecia nor King Of Change, who finished first and second in the Newmarket Classic, have been seen since May.
Now, 137 days after the Guineas, King Of Change will return to the track at Sandown this afternoon and we’ll get some idea as to whether his effort at 66-1 last time was a fluke or not. But the mystery of Magna Grecia remains unsolved, as Aidan O’Brien’s colt has not run since he was a disappointing fifth in the Irish Guineas on 25 May.
Two Liverpool supporters were attacked in the Italian city at around 2pm on Tuesday by a group of men on scooters wielding belts. The pair were treated at the scene but one, a 26-year-old, later collapsed at the Stadio San Paolo and spent the night in hospital. He was discharged on Wednesday morning.
Pressure is on Thomas Tuchel to win Champions League or risk losing his job while Zidane knows what his club expects
Last week was a busy one for Florentino Pérez. As well as apparently anointing Rafael Nadal as his successor as Real Madrid president when he finally calls it a day and attempting to arrange a historic showdown at the Bernabéu between the 19-times grand slam champion and his great rival Roger Federer, the 72-year-old revealed his dream of seeing the club’s basketball team in the NBA. “I have asked us to be included in the Eastern Conference but they say that’s far away,” he admitted.
Ever since emerging from the power struggle with Ramón Calderón in 2009 to begin his second stint at the helm, Pérez has become used to getting his way. You would not bet against him achieving most of those ambitious goals should he – as expected – secure another term as president at next year’s elections, but Madrid’s fortunes on the football field have become a growing cause for Pérez’s concern.
• Hosts face tough opening game against Russia on Friday • England first hosts out at group stage four years ago
Japan are determined not to be a World Cup failure like England and fail to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament they are hosting.
The Cherry Blossoms start the ninth World Cup when they face Russia at Tokyo Stadium on Friday night (local time) four years after England became the first hosts not to progress from their group following defeats to Wales and Australia.
Napoli showed how to play against Jürgen Klopp’s side by looking to exploit the space behind Liverpool’s full-backs
Ils sont les meilleurs! In the buildup to this game Jürgen Klopp had been at pains to play down any suggestion Liverpool came to Naples with an air of wider destiny about them. The notion had been put to the manager that Liverpool are, in a snapshot, the best football team out there: convincing Champions League winners last season and five points clear in the Premier League.
Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day and for once Uefa’s cheese-laden anthem – the soundtrack down the years to so much autumn mediocrity – had seemed to strike the right note at the start of this thrillingly full-throttle Group E opener. Sie sind die Besten!
• Chelsea lose 1-0 to Valencia in Group H opener • Manager defends Ross Barkley after late penalty miss
Frank Lampard admitted that his young Chelsea side were given a harsh lesson after opening their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Valencia at Stamford Bridge but insisted Ross Barkley was the designated penalty taker after the England midfielder missed the opportunity to equalise from the spot late on.
It was a frustrating night for Chelsea, whose hopes of making it out of Group H are already in doubt. Mason Mount could miss Sunday’s home game against Liverpool after limping off with an ankle injury and Lampard admitted that his team paid for their lack of ruthlessness.
With the World Cup still reeling from the bombshell that Rob Howley has flown home in disgrace it has emerged that England were briefed by World Rugby’s integrity unit days after Wales were made aware that their attack coach was suspected breached betting and anti-corruption regulations.
Springboks unchanged from last outing against Japan
Rassie Erasmus expects tight encounter in Yokohama
South Africa’s head coach Rassie Erasmus has picked his strongest, most settled team to tackle New Zealand in the highest-profile fixture of the World Cup’s opening weekend. The return of skipper Siya Kolisi is the solitary change to the 23 who held the All Blacks to a 16-16 draw in Wellington in late July.
The side is precisely the same as the one which defeated Japan 41-7 in Kumagaya two weeks ago, making it the first time for four years the Springboks have named an unchanged matchday squad. Their powerful No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be appearing in his 50th Test.
WRU knew about suspected betting breach a week ago
The ‘devastated’ assistant coach has returned home
The Welsh Rugby Union have revealed they were first made aware of Rob Howley’s suspected breach of World Rugby’s betting regulations last Wednesday following contact from one of the gambling industry’s integrity teams.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has admitted the bombshell news surrounding Howley and his World Cup departure has sent shockwaves through his team.
It was a night when Frank Lampard’s young players found out that no competition is as unforgiving as the Champions League. It was a night of missed opportunities and when it was over Chelsea were left wondering how they had failed to take at least a point from a tight game.
The frustration for Lampard is that he had warned his team not to place too much stock in Valencia’s apparent state of utter turmoil. The Spaniards were wily opponents throughout and while they were fortunate to hold on to their 1-0 lead after Ross Barkley skied a late penalty, their combative display means Chelsea are already under huge pressure in Group H.
• Attack coach says tier-one nations must do more to help • ‘No reason England can’t go there’ says Wisemantel
When England’s attack coach, Scott Wisemantel, discusses the state of Pacific Island rugby it pays to listen. When he urges the Rugby Football Union to arrange tours to Tonga, Samoa and Fiji – “I don’t think that just because it’s England you can think you’re above everyone else” – and to share with them their autumn gate receipts it is worth listening to.
For Wisemantel has first-hand experience of working in the South Seas, for the past two years coaching at the Pacific Islands combine – an initiative to develop young players from the three countries, placing them with professional clubs abroad but crucially ensuring they are not poached by tier-one nations.
• Lowry playing in Europe this week for first time since Portrush • Open champion is in the field for the BMW PGA Championship
Two months have passed since Shane Lowry took delivery of the Claret Jug and with it, all manner of life-changing add-ons. That this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth marks Lowry’s first start in Europe since “Open champion” was added to his CV means waves of congratulations have again been forthcoming. Lowry was afforded honorary life membership of the European Tour on Tuesday.
“Golf is funny,” Lowry said. “Myself and Neil [Manchip, his coach] talk about it a lot; you don’t win one major and people ask you when you’re going to win one. You win one, they ask you when you’re going to win your next one.
Liverpool will not mind should history repeat itself and another late defeat in Naples eventually end with Champions League glory but this was a dispiriting start to their defence of number six. Jürgen Klopp’s team were vastly improved on last season’s poor display here and on top when José Callejón darted into their penalty area in the closing stages. Andy Robertson’s clumsy foul brought familiar pain at the death.
Dries Mertens converted the 82nd minute penalty to leave the European champions with no reward for their improvement. This was an engrossing affair, with defenders and goalkeepers to the fore, but it turned into a miserable night for Liverpool when a rare error from Virgil van Dijk enabled Fernando Llorente to seal Napoli’s victory in the final seconds.
SafeSport faces funding questions as case load rises sharply
Center now receiving 239 reports a month, up 55% from 2018
The US Center for SafeSport is fielding 55% more reports of sex abuse and other misconduct in 2019 than it did last year, leading to an increasingly urgent debate over who should provide the lion’s share of money to an organization struggling to manage its caseload.
This week, the two-year-old center, tasked with investigating sex-abuse claims in Olympic sports, received a $1.3m infusion from the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee that brings the USOPC’s overall contribution to $7.4m in 2019.
Team news: Andy Robertson has been passed fit to play in a Liverpool side that features three changes from the side that started against Newcastle on Saturday. Jordan Henderson and James Milner come into midfield, with Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain making way. Roberto Firminho comes in for Divock Origi and will make his 200th appearance for the club.
Carlo Ancelotti has picked a very attacking Napoli side, with Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Hirving Lozano all starting. Despite fronting up for last night’s press conference, Fernando Llorente starts on the bench.
Vázquez, 28, was served a felony search warrant out of Florida’s Lee County on Tuesday morning at his Pittsburgh apartment by the FDLE and Pennsylvania state police, authorities said. A spokesperson said arresting officers seized several electronic devices, which will undergo forensic examinations as part of the ongoing investigation.
Pep Guardiola would not pay £75m for Virgil van Dijk last year and City balked at £80m for Harry Maguire
John Stones’s thigh injury makes Manchester City’s failure to sign a centre-back in the summer all the more conspicuous. Even before the 25-year-old was ruled out for up to six weeks with a problem suffered in training on Tuesday, Pep Guardiola had difficulty concealing frustration when asked about strengthening the position during the winter window.
The question was posed on Friday because the manager had confirmed his defensive lynchpin, Aymeric Laporte, would be unavailable until the spring because of a damaged knee. After attempting to dismiss the signing of a stop-gap for Laporte in January as media speculation, Guardiola revealed his true feelings. “But we could not invest in this situation in the summer, we cannot do it in winter,” he said. “That’s why we are going to wait with the players we have, with the two central defenders,” meaning Stones and Nicolás Otamendi.
There will be plenty of familiar faces on show in the Champions League this week, but there are also a number of players hoping to make an impression on the big stage at the first time of asking. We’ve picked out 10 players embarking on their first Champions League campaign who are worth watching.
A former doctor for New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown claims the NFL star repeatedly farted in his face and laughed about it during an appointment where he turned up three hours late and never paid $11,500 in fees.
Dr Victor Prisk, a former bodybuilder who runs Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness outside Pittsburgh, said he admitted Brown for an initial consultation despite his “flighty” reputation during a nine-year stint with the hometown Steelers and has since filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for the unpaid bill from the All-Pro wideout, according to an SI.com investigation published on Monday.
The Yorkshire and England leg-spinner is at a crossroads and considering a return to white-ball specialism
Adil Rashid is due to sit down with Yorkshire to discuss his future amid thoughts of a return to white-ball specialism in order to prolong his playing career.
Rashid, 31, has not featured for club or country since the World Cup final in July because of the chronic right shoulder injury that required painkilling injections to nurse him throughout the victorious campaign.
• Stones suffers injury in training for Shakhtar Donetsk game • Otamendi is City’s only fit centre-half with Laporte also out
John Stones will be out for up to six weeks because of a muscle problem that leaves Nicolás Otamendi as Manchester City’s only available frontline centre-back.
With Aymeric Laporte out until February and Vincent Kompany having left in summer, Pep Guardiola struck a bullish note regarding Stones’s injury, which was sustained during training on Tuesday morning, as City were preparing for Wednesday’s Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk in Kharkiv.
With the opening game just three days away you get the feeling Japan will have to perform well on the pitch to engage a nation already seduced by next year’s Tokyo Olympics
There were six people in the bar, five friends and now one stranger too. I would have backed right out but then the barmaid said she wanted to practice her English. She’d been taking lessons, she explained, because she’s so excited about the Tokyo Olympics and is sure she will enjoy it more if she can talk to all the tourists who’ll be coming here next year. By the time I’d finished my drink we’d established that no, this wasn’t my first time in Japan, that I have family in Sapporo, and, after I’d made a clumsy mime of typing on the bar, that I was here on business, working as a sports journalist. The one thing we got stuck on was exactly which sport I was here to cover.
The injuries to the Steelers’ and Saints’ franchise quarterbacks have dramatically transformed the AFC and NFC playoff pictures
When Jon Gruden was still an ESPN broadcaster and not a sentient meme, he would attend team practices across the league. He did so with the sole focus of studying how different teams prepared and developed their quarterbacks. Before a Colts’ Monday night game, Gruden was struck by how then-Indianapolis quarterback and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning took each snap in practice. Curious, Gruden sidled up to the offensive coordinator Tom Moore and asked him why the Colts didn’t rotate the snaps to prepare Manning’s backup, as is custom. “Fellas, if ‘18’ goes down, we’re fucked,” Moore replied. “And we don’t practice fucked.”
There is no injury in sports as impactful as that of losing a franchise quarterback. Nowhere is that sentiment felt more today than in Pittsburgh and New Orleans. Both teams will have to do without two of the sport’s biggest stars for the foreseeable future, the soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees.
London Broncos can consider themselves extremely unfortunate to be relegated from the Super League. Their 19-10 defeat to Wakefield on Friday night meant they were relegated on points difference, having won more points than any relegated side in Super League history. They are probably the best ever team to go down.
Their record of 10 wins in 29 games gives them a better points-per-game ratio than any wooden-spooners in the top flight’s history, better than Huddersfield in 1903-04, who are the only other team to finish bottom of the first division despite having won that many games, albeit in 34 attempts. The Broncos are statistically the best team to be relegated since second-bottom Featherstone went down on points difference in 1992 despite winning 11 of their 26 games. They bounced straight back up. If London are to do the same, it will take a third successive season of magic by Ward and his team.
England cricketer says front page article about family trauma in 1980s is immoral
The England cricket player Ben Stokes has described a front page article by the Sun newspaper about a family tragedy 31 years ago as “disgusting” and “immoral”.
In a statement on Twitter, Stokes said the paper’s decision to publish the story would have “grave and lifelong consequences” for his mother in particular. He also claimed the story contained a series of serious inaccuracies.
• Private equity firm has agreed £300m package in principle • CVC already backs Gallagher Premiership and in Pro14 talks
World Rugby officials have expressed their concern at the potential implications of Europe’s major rugby-playing nations signing a game-changing new deal with a private equity firm. A proposed package worth around £300m is said to have been agreed in principle between the Six Nations and CVC, which would also mean the latter owning a 15 % share of autumn and summer tour commercial rights.
The Italian has moulded a smart, adaptable side and Liverpool’s visit is a chance to take the first step towards true success
Carlo Ancelotti does not believe in quick fixes. In his 2009 autobiography he explained that he learned the value of patience from his parents, both of whom worked on farms. “What you sowed, you reaped a year later,” he wrote. “There was no instant gratification.”
A successful harvest is required eventually, though, to keep your family fed. Ancelotti inherited a Napoli team in the summer of 2018 that was coming off a record-setting Serie A campaign, in which it collected 91 points but still finished as runner-up to Juventus. In his first season he guided them to a further second-place finish as well as the quarter-finals of the Europa League and Coppa Italia.
Japanese visitor is the most interesting horse around after being locked in the pocket at Leopardstown on Saturday
You can keep your “Pinaturbo”. Star Catcher and Logician are all very fine, I suppose, if you like that sort of thing. But the horse from last weekend’s racing that I can’t wait to see next time didn’t even get a place.
I won’t be alone in this. There was an enormous quantity of top-class racing on Saturday and Sunday but surely nobody failed to notice the classy animal who spent most of the Irish Champion Stakes trying to crawl over the backs of the rivals in front of her.
Coach Matt Proudfoot: ‘six to eight players are tested a week’
Proudfoot defends image of SA rugby after failed summer tests
South Africa’s forwards coach, Matt Proudfoot, has revealed almost every player can expect to be drug tested at the World Cup as he was questioned over his nation’s record on anti-doping.
Rugby World Cup has stepped up its anti-doping programme such that two players from each team will be tested after every match and all 20 sides will be randomly visited every week by anti-doping officials from Japan.
Basics such as medical care and insurance are being left behind and players are paying with their careers in a growing game
When Crystal Palace forward Gemma Bryan took to social media last week out of exasperation at having been left “in limbo” by the club after she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in April, it caused a wave of disgruntlement.
Because, while there has been a drive towards professionalism in the women’s game – with the FA, sponsors and increasing support of clubs for their women’s teams leading the charge – player welfare has been neglected. And that is not OK.
Replacing Marcelino García Toral with Albert Celades has caused confusion before the Champions League trip to Chelsea
The only man who spoke after Valencia’s 5-2 defeat at Barcelona on Saturday was the man who had been there only three days and had nothing to say. Albert Celades had just begun his spell as the club’s 10th manager in five years by suffering the worst defeat since Gary Neville took his team to the same stadium three years earlier and let in seven. He faced the media alone, nothing he could offer of any use or any comfort to anybody; the players did not appear and nor did the president. Three days later there was still no sign. Ahead of the game against Chelsea no Valencia player met the media on Monday night.
If they were trying to feign normality, or avoid more noise, they went about it in a strange way. Saying nothing was the most powerful statement of all. Celades gave what little he could and then left. Three days earlier there had been an actual statement, released as they slipped out of the Camp Nou in silence.
• Scott Stevenson hurt in inter-services game against the army • ‘This is tragic and heartbreaking news,’ says RFL chief
An RAF senior aircraftman has died after being injured playing in an inter-services rugby league match against the army.
Scott Stevenson was hurt playing in the game at Aldershot last Friday night and news of his death was announced by his family in a Facebook post on Monday evening. Stevenson, 25, who was based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, also played for the Boston Buccaneers community club in Lincolnshire.
Manchester United’s Casey Stoney said she was “gutted” and her team “devastated” after a desperate late Daniëlle van de Donk goal, snatched on the rebound amid relentless Arsenal pressure, denied a stunningly resilient home team the first point of their maiden Women’s Super League campaign.
West Ham arrived here on a quest for the victory that would have lifted them to third in the table but they ended up relieved to take a point. They did not deserve more. Nor did Aston Villa, and that was frustrating for the hosts, who spent the last portion of the game mostly failing to trouble 10 men after Arthur Masuaku was sent off.
Napoli handed Liverpool a late defeat in last year’s group stage but manager insists a triumphant campaign has only made his squad hungry for more
One might expect Liverpool to return to the Champions League stage with an air of superiority 108 days after winning the club’s sixth European crown. Not Jürgen Klopp. He sees a team that feels it still has something to prove to the outside world. On that basis the Stadio San Paolo is the perfect spot for the European champions to launch the defence of their title.
• Squad are bonding well but looking forward to action • Itoje: Sunday’s game in Sapporo cannot be taken lightly
Monday was a national holiday in Japan to honour the elderly. It was fitting, then, that when Billy Vunipola appeared on stage at England’s World Cup welcome ceremony he declared his World Cup wish to be that he and his teammates grow old and grey and still fondly reflect on this tournament. “I wish that whatever we do in the next few weeks will live with us for the rest of our lives.”
• Pettersen keen to lead at next Solheim Cup after retirement • Matthew ‘wouldn’t say no’ if offered leadership for second time
If the assumption is that Suzann Pettersen’s next Solheim Cup chapter will come in the form of captaincy, Catriona Matthew may yet have something to say about a supposed formality.
Pettersen announced her retirement from competitive golf moments after holing the winning putt for Europe on Sunday. Having played in nine Solheim Cups in a hugely successful playing career on both sides of the Atlantic, Pettersen was immediately installed as the hot favourite to lead the European defence in 2021.
It was not a perfect summer and the Test side requires work but Trevor Bayliss delivered the prize England coveted the most
After it was all over there were smiles rather than jubilation at the Oval and a few sighs of relief – from both sides. Australia were content, having retained the Ashes; England could take comfort from what was almost a copybook victory in the final Test, which allowed them to square the series. The England side might have crumpled after the defeat at Old Trafford but they came back strongly with Joe Root overseeing everything adroitly in the field; the Australians needed more than 103 runs in the match from Steve Smith.
• ‘I don’t think I’ve seen a more talented bowler’, says Stokes • Archer hit 96mph and took 22 wickets in his first four Tests
Ben Stokes believes Jofra Archer to be the most talented fast bowler he has seen and one who can help regain the Ashes in Australia, with England now set to lock down this summer’s breakout star with his first central contract.
• 37-year-old rider banned from driving for five years • ‘It’s an awful shame because he’s a very talented lad’
The talented but troubled jockey Graham Gibbons has been jailed, following his fourth conviction for drink driving. The verdict was recorded last week at Harrogate magistrates court and resulted in the 37-year-old being committed to prison for 16 weeks, disqualified from driving for five years and fined a victim surcharge of £149.
It is the latest of several examples of Gibbons making trouble for himself and throws into question whether he will ever be able to recover his licence to ride in races. He last rode as a jockey in December 2016, until a urine sample taken from him while he was riding at Kempton returned positive for a metabolite of cocaine.
Both sides go with attacking line-ups but both have notable absentees in the starting XI. Summer signing Jackie Groenen misses out for United with an injury, while Danielle van de Donk is on the bench for Arsenal.
Manchester United: Earps; Smith, McManus, M Turner, A Turner; Galton, Zelem (c), Ladd, Toone; Sigsworth, Ross.
For the Manchester United women’s team, it has been a long and rocky road to their first ever top-flight home fixture. A supporters’ side floated around the lower divisions before earning affiliation with the club in 2001 - only for funding to be pulled four years later, casting the team into oblivion.
Last year, an official team was born and cantered to promotion, managed by Casey Stoney and with significant squad investment. They are still playing catch up in a landscape that has changed almost beyond recognition - but tonight’s opponents can show them the way.
Steelers quarterback will have surgery on elbow injury
Brees, NFL’s all-time passing leader, tears hand ligament
Two of the NFL’s highest-profile quarterbacks will miss significant playing time. The Pittsburgh Steelers confirmed that Ben Roethlisberger is out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury, while the New Orleans Saints are expected to be without their quarterback, Drew Brees, for six weeks.
Roethlisberger will undergo surgery on his right elbow and be placed on injured reserve, ending the 37-year-old’s 16th season just two weeks in. Roethlisberger injured the arm late in the second quarter of Sunday’s 28-26 loss to Seattle. He did not play in the second half, watching from the sideline as backup Mason Rudolph took over.
• Chelsea manager warns of threat posed by ‘fantastic’ side • Spanish club sacked Marcelino Garcia Toral last week
The situation almost feels too perfect for Chelsea. There is a buzz around the place after the 5-2 victory over Wolves on Saturday, Tammy Abraham is scoring goals for fun and their first game back in the Champions League pitches them against a side whose preparations could hardly have been more chaotic.
Everything suggests that Valencia are in a state of utter turmoil before facing Chelsea on Tuesday evening. It is less than a week since Peter Lim, the club’s owner, controversially sacked the respected Marcelino Garcia Toral and replaced him with the former Spain Under-21s manager Alberto Celades, who received a harsh introduction to coaching at club level when his first game ended in a 5-2 defeat at Barcelona on Saturday night.
A long battle for taking sole charge of the club has been played out in court and on Monday the judge ruled in favour of Prince Abdullah, a Saudi royal
This summer, as Sheffield United prepared for their first Premier League campaign in 12 years, the future of the club was being decided in the high court regarding who controls them. At the centre of the argument were the co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah bin Mossad Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a Saudi royal who bought half of the Blades in 2013 for £1, in exchange for £10m investment. On Monday the judge’s verdict arrived and he ruled in favour of Abdullah.
Two weeks of arguments were made on both sides, plenty of it extremely heated. Abdullah was accused of bribery, which he denied and the claim was dismissed as “fanciful” by the judge. Mr Justice Fancourt found overwhelmingly in favour of the prince, dismissing the claims brought by McCabe.
Unfamiliar surroundings and the potential for extreme weather means coaches in Japan must be ready for anything
To appreciate just how different to the norm the 2019 Rugby World Cup is going to be, you only have to set foot outside. Even on a damp Monday in Tokyo, the humidity is unmissable and so is the air of novelty. Judging by the 15,000 locals who queued around the block just to watch Wales train in Kitakyushu, the next few weeks are going to challenge plenty of familiar assumptions
Drive – or rather crawl – through the busier business districts of the Japanese capital and images of the host nation’s players are plastered across the windows of 24-7 convenience stores. There is even a 40ft high action picture of the Australia fly-half Bernard Foley, not normally a household name, on a tower block overlooking one of the main intersections. The All Blacks long-serving coach Steve Hansen has traversed the rugby world multiple times but even he looks faintly taken aback by the rising tide of craziness.
• Spanish goalkeeper’s deal runs until 2023 • De Gea moved to Old Trafford in 2011
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has signed a new four-year deal with the club, ending speculation about his future.
De Gea’s moved to Old Trafford in 2011 from Atlético Madrid and firmly made himself one of the team’s key players over the last eight seasons. The Spain international’s new contract will keep him at Manchester United until the summer of 2023, with the option of extending it for a further season.
To regain the urn in Australia in two years’ time England have plenty of work to do and no time to waste
In the second half of the Ashes series, England’s batsmen hinted at a move away from “it’s the way we play”. They need to run with that mood – or rather crawl with it, and forget about doing everything in a hurry. The only way to win in Australia is to go huge in the first innings, and England need to develop players, especially in the top three, who get high on dot balls. A change to the domestic schedule, so that four-day cricket is played in the middle of the summer on flatter pitches, perhaps with a Kookaburra ball, is essential. When England won in 2010-11, they batted for 150 overs, or five sessions, in four of the seven innings. Under Joe Root’s captaincy they have failed to do so in 62 attempts. Yes, batting has changed – but not that much. In Australia, frisky cameos with the bat win only contempt.
Joe Root: 325 runs, average 33; three wickets, average 41 A shadow of the bustling batsman and dressing room joker of not so long ago. No century in the series and not much fun either. He won’t ever say that he’s had enough of cricket, but it sure looks like that now – and who can blame him? His captaincy attracted a lot of criticism, but when you have only one batsman average more than 40, you’re going to spend a lot of time playing catch-up. Never a good look for a skipper. He out-reviewed his opposite number comfortably and bowled well in the rush for the line at The Oval – it’s amazing what a release of pressure does. Grade: C
Rugby’s myth-makers have overlooked one catch in the game’s history. It’s time for a more appropriate name on the trophy
Every four years, with more than 100 million people watching, a big bloke hoists a golden trophy called the Webb Ellis Cup. Casual viewers might assume this guy Webb Ellis to be legit, what with his name etched across the most valuable stretch of metal in his sport.
A quick Google would reveal him to be the man whose audacious intervention in a 19th-century game of football is supposed to have invented the very sport. As the profile of the World Cup grows, so the boy in that field all those years ago bestrides the rugby world ever more surely as the hero who created it.
Despite 190 wickets for Yorkshire, the leg-spinner from Sheffield ditched her dreams of playing for England – but she has no regrets
The Guardian Women’s Cricketer of the Year is an award given to a player who has done something truly remarkable, whether by overcoming adversity, helping others or setting a sporting example by acting with exceptional honesty. Katie Levick is this year’s winner.
A question: who is the all-time leading wicket-taker in the Women’s County Championship? Go on, take a guess. Perhaps you are thinking of Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, or even the recently retired Dani Hazell. On all three counts, you would be wrong. The correct answer is actually Katie Levick: a 28-year-old leg-spinner who hails from Sheffield.
15,000 people turn up for Wales open training session
Scotland have brushed up their act before Sunday’s wet and wild World Cup opener with Ireland – by practising with balls soaked in shampoo.
Gregor Townsend’s team are forecast to kick-off their campaign in Yokohama amid a torrential thunderstorm this weekend. But their coach has been expecting things to get slippery regardless while his team are sweating it out in Japan.
Former fly-half to share his own struggles with anxiety
Wilkinson: ‘I hope I can help people reach out and seek support’
Jonny Wilkinson has launched a new mental health campaign together with the health insurer Vitality.
The move comes amid rising concerns about a mental health crisis in rugby, after the recent revelations by former Wasps lock Kearnan Myall in The Guardian, and the ensuing call from the Rugby Players’ Association for the sport to take urgent action to do more to address the issue.
Six and a half weeks of extreme highs and lows saw the 2019 Ashes series finish in a draw. Throughout we've seen memorable moments from superb Steve Smith hitting hundred after hundred, to Ben Stokes's incredible solo display at Headingley. An Ashes debut for Jofra Archer was one to remember in a series that often put the spotlight on England captain Joe Root. Here's a look back at the best bits
As for the big race, the question after Trials day is still the same – can anything beat Enable?
Forty-nine weeks on from an Arc day that left the organisers falling over themselves to apologise for horrendous queues and shortages of basics like sandwiches and beer, Longchamp was a much more agreeable place on Sunday afternoon as the track staged its annual card of trials for the big race.
The sun was beating down – a peak of 27 degrees, no less – and a decent(ish) crowd was able to move about freely and enjoy some excellent racing, including Frankie Dettori’s 16th Group One win of the season and a masterclass in how not to ride Longchamp by Cristian Demuro, on Sottsass in the Prix Niel.
Luciano Passirani said only way to stop him is ‘give him bananas’
Telelombardia says he will not appear on the show again
An Italian TV pundit has been suspended for saying that the only way to stop Romelu Lukaku is to give “him 10 bananas to eat”. Luciano Passirani, an Italian football journalist, was a guest on the Qui Studio a Voi Stadio show when he made the racist remark and the director of the Telelombardia show reacted immediately by saying that he would never appear on the programme again.
The show was debating Lukaku’s impact for Inter so far since joining Manchester United in the summer and Passirani said: “Lukaku is one of the best signings that Inter could have made. I don’t see another player like him on any other team in Italy. He is one of the strongest, I like him a lot because he has that strength: he is the twin of [Dúvan] Zapata at Atalanta.”
The Baltimore Ravens quarterback was seen as little more than a glorified rusher by his critics when he entered the league. But this season he is transformed
After his Week 1 masterpiece against Miami, which included five touchdowns and a perfect passer rating, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson mocked the long-held notion that he is an NFL running back disguised as a quarterback. It’s been a hard stigma to shake for Jackson given his usage last year featured almost as many rushing attempts per game (9.2) as passing attempts (10.2). But two games into the season we have a vastly different narrative. Jackson has emerged as an early MVP candidate on the strength of his arm.
This week in the Ravens’ 23-17 win over Arizona, Jackson rushed for 122 yards on 13 carries, a spectacular stat line for a running back. Yet this game showcased Jackson’s maturation as a quarterback. Jackson again commanded the aerial attack, passing for 272 yards, two scores and no turnovers. His pocket awareness and ownership of the offense was on display throughout.