Ligue 1 club had early hosted ‘small event’ at Roazhon Park
Rennes have sealed place in Champions League group stage
Residents close to Rennes’ stadium were unexpectedly woken at 3am on Wednesday by the Champions League anthem, which was blaring out of the speakers at Roazhon Park.
Rennes confirmed they had earlier held a “small event” at their home ground to celebrate a first-ever place in the Champions League group stage – secured when Sevilla eliminated Wolves from the Europa League.
Stories from the beautiful game that you may never have heard before, written by some of the world’s leading sports journalists, and spanning more than 100 years of sporting history from across the footballing planet.
In the final episode of this series: 15 Dutch footballers were among 176 people who died in a 1989 plane crash. Edu Nandlal, one of the survivors, tells his story
Team docked 15 F1 championship points for brake ducts breach
Ferrari and Renault appeal against ‘leniency’ of punishment
Racing Point are to appeal against the FIA’s verdict regarding the legality of their F1 car. The team were docked 15 championship points and fined £360,000 for illegally copying Mercedes’ 2019 car brake ducts.
Racing Point had 96 hours from their notification of the penalty on Saturday to lodge an appeal, and F1 say now that has been done the case will go to the FIA’s international court of appeal on a date to be determined.
Super League fixtures reworked to provide four fixtures
Hull in self-isolation amid call to switch testing to later in week
Hull FC and Salford have stood down from their Super League league fixtures this weekend due to a series of positive Covid-19 tests at Hull, with the competition’s schedule completely reworked to enable four matches to still take place and the season to continue.
Five Hull players who featured in their 54-18 loss to Salford on Sunday – as well as another first-team player and two coaches – tested positive for the virus after the game, and their squad has now entered self-isolation as a result. The Red Devils have also placed their playing and coaching staff into quarantine until a further round of testing this weekend, after track and trace analysis of the match between the sides showed 11 of their players must also now isolate.
The season will resume on Friday and, with nine rounds left and two play-off weekends to follow, there is plenty to play for
Position 6th Slap in the middle of the table, the play-offs are five points one way and Leicester (or relegation any other year) 10 points the other. The arrival of Ben Spencer is the most notable boost since the suspension of play, the retirement of Francois Louw the most significant loss. But Taulupe Faletau has signed a long-term contract and – with Sam Underhill, Zac Mercer et al chomping at the bit – back-row is not an obvious problem area.
‘I’ve had more slaps than Frank Bruno,’ says Peter Chapple-Hyam, whose Newmarket stable is to lose half its horses
Could there be one last hurrah in Britain for Phoenix Thoroughbreds? The bloodstock operation announced on Tuesday that it was quitting the country “with immediate effect” and yet it appears set to have a runners on Wednesday, at Kempton and Beverley.
“It has happened to many times already, we need to keep our focus at set pieces,” the Wolves manager said. “We can be proud of ourselves though, we played a tough team and we had our moments against them. In the end small margins counted against us.”
England opener is eager to learn and take advice as he works on his game, ignoring the tea and biscuits while he is at it
Azhar Mahmood gave a beautifully simple explanation during the first Test of what Mohammad Abbas seeks to do with a cricket ball, a match Pakistan appeared to have under control only for England to swipe the win from under their noses.
“He might be 80mph but his ‘off the pitch’ is really quick,” the former Pakistan all-rounder told Test Match Special. “It’s the wrist behind the ball. It’s kissing [the pitch]. You stand next to the river and throw the stone, sometimes it goes in and sometimes it skips. Wasim Akram used to do it. There’s no dying of the pace [because of the] back spin.”
Three sites to be used instead of Perry Barr facility
Organisers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are no longer planning to use a single-site athletes’ village.
The accommodation facility was set to be built in the Perry Barr area of the city, but the coronavirus pandemic has changed the thinking, with three sites now being used. They will be at the NEC hotel, the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham.
The British No 1 suffers heart palpitations and, in putting glory above health concerns, treads a familiarly risky path in tennis
You have to admire the pluck of Johanna Konta and Serena Williams. Both have heart and respiratory problems that would not only give them an excuse to withdraw from the upcoming US Open in the middle of a pandemic but send them into a full anxiety spin.
Yet, unless circumstances change, they will be in New York when the first ball is struck on 31 August, along with Venus Williams (Sjögren’s syndrome), Danielle Collins (rheumatoid arthritis – which ended Caroline Wozniacki’s career) and scores of others with myriad underlying health problems that could make them vulnerable to coronavirus.
Players, coaching staff and assistants are in quarantine
Five unnamed players are self-isolating
Atlético Madrid women have suspended their training only 10 days before the Champions League is due to restart after five positive Covid-19 tests.
A statement from the club confirmed that four players had tested positive for the virus on Tuesday after a first player was identified as having contracted the disease last Friday. Training has been suspended and players, coaching staff and assistants have been quarantined.
Three games postponed after Celtic defender’s Spanish visit
Lennon: ‘We are all desperately disappointed. It’s appalling’
Neil Lennon has expressed dismay at the “premeditated” actions of Boli Bolingoli, after Celtic’s Belgian defender caused the postponement of three Scottish Premiership fixtures with an unauthorised trip to Spain. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has warned the country’s football resumption will be put on hold if there are any further breaches of Covid-19 protocols, threatening to show the game “a red card”.
Bolingoli appeared from the Celtic bench for the closing minutes of Sunday’s draw at Kilmarnock. Days earlier, he had spent 24 hours in Spain without the knowledge or consent of Lennon.
Wolves’ epic season ended in agonising style as Lucas Ocampos headed in an 88th-minute goal to send Sevilla into a Europa League semi-final against Manchester United. There can be no begrudging the Spaniards their win, given how much they dominated, but this quarter-final might have turned out very differently if Raúl Jiménez had not had a penalty saved in the 11th minute and if the referee had ordered a retake after a Sevilla defender encroached.
If a team cannot be fielded then a game is set to be forfeited
Games still go ahead if players in different positions test positive
Premiership rugby teams could be required to forfeit games 20-0 if they cannot play because their players have coronavirus.
Premiership Rugby insists postponements will only be triggered by a club announcing they cannot field a competitive team if, for example, all their props are in quarantine. In that event a panel will rubber-stamp the decision to award victory to the opposing team, with no space available in the tightly packed schedule for rescheduled fixtures.
Premiership teams have discussed anti-racism message
Some players are reluctant to take the knee for political reasons
The England and Bath wing Anthony Watson has insisted there is no point forcing Premiership players to take a knee before matches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after it emerged some have expressed concerns over doing so this weekend.
Representatives from all 12 clubs met via conference call on Tuesday to discuss how best to show support but, in the absence of any directive from Premiership Rugby or the Rugby Football Union, sides are expected to come up with differing gestures.
Atalanta take on PSG in a Champions League quarter-final and hope to provide more succour for their Covid-19-ravaged city
For two months, the wailing of ambulances cut into Bergamo’s soul. It knew no difference between bleak days and dark, tortured nights that came to seem endless. “The constant noise, you had to kill it in some ways, it was getting in your mind,” Franz Barcella says. “The news on television looked nothing like as bad as what those noises will tell you. You had fear, but it was more than fear for yourself.”
The cruelty of what had hit Bergamo, which became the centre of Europe’s worst Covid-19 outbreak in March, was hard to reconcile. So was the spectrum of emotions when, on 10 March,Atalanta beat Valencia to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The last-16 second leg was being played behind closed doors in Spain, with the extent of the disaster now becoming clear. Alberto Savi watched at home as Josip Ilicic swept in the team’s, and his own, fourth goal of a night that should have been the stuff of unfettered fantasy. The television commentators balanced their own incredulity by reminding Bergamo’s citizens to resist any urge to convene on the streets.
Attacking midfielder’s 10-year stay at City is ending
Spaniard confident he has five years left at the top
David Silva is joining Lazio on a three-year deal after leaving Manchester City. The Spanish playmaker is moving on from the Etihad Stadium this summer after 10 years and has decided to play in Serie A for the first time in his career.
The 34-year-old is confident that he has at least another five years left at the top – injuries permitting – and Lazio have given him the long-term security he desired when leaving City.
Nuno Espirito Santo made two changes as Wolves faced Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals. Ruben Vinagre came in for the injury Jonny Otto in Duisburg, where suspended Daniel Podence was replaced by Leander Dendoncker. Adama Traore started in attack alongside Raul Jimenez, while Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui stuck with the same side that beat Roma last week.
Max and the pod discuss Saudi Arabia becoming the latest Gulf state to get involved in football ownership. They also ask: what is soft power? Does it work? Should anybody be allowed to own a football club? Should clubs be held to a higher moral account than other businesses? And do fans have any power in any of this?
Kosovan side Drita placed in quarantine over positive tests
New Uefa regulations may settle preliminary round tie
Linfield look set to become the first club to receive a Champions League bye because of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, after their Kosovan opponents were put into quarantine in Switzerland.
The Northern Irish champions had their match against KF Drita called off hours before kick-off on Tuesday evening. The match had been scheduled to take place behind closed doors in Nyon, the home of Uefa.
The Scottish government now calls the shots not the football authorities after two major breaches of coronavirus protocols
Scottish football has had worse weeks. It is just now difficult to remember them. For two days out of the last three a government coronavirus briefing has been dominated by the once beautiful, now unseemly, game.
World No 1 beaten 13-9 by Wilson in quarter-finals
Mark Selby wins 12-7 against Neil Robertson
The defending champion Judd Trump crashed out of the world championship after a 13-9 defeat against the eighth seed Kyren Wilson. Trump became the 18th player to suffer the so-called “Crucible curse” where no first-time winner has retained the crown since the event moved to the venue in 1977.
Trump had shown signs of recovering from his 10-6 overnight deficit as he made three breaks over 50 in the first four frames on Tuesday to reduce the arrears to just two. But Wilson moved one frame from victory after winning the 21st in two visits then seized on a missed long red by Trump to complete victory in the quarter-finals with a break of 104.
Match referee Broad Sr involved after Shah given send-off
Bowler needs to behave in next Test or faces possible ban
Stuart Broad has been given a stern reminder from his father about bad language and left on the verge of a ban after being fined around £2,000 for giving Pakistan’s Yasir Shah a send-off during the first Test.
The former England opener Chris Broad is acting as the match referee for all six Tests this summer after the International Cricket Cricket opted to use home officials in response to the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
President says NBA protests have ‘a nastiness’ about them
Trump returns to topic of whether NFL players should kneel
Donald Trump has waded into the anthem debate as well as the long-running conversation over the merits of LeBron James and Michael Jordan during a call to Clay Travis’ Fox Sports radio show on Tuesday.
Jordan and James are often held up as the two greatest players of the modern NBA era, and the president was asked whom he preferred. “Michael Jordan, plus he wasn’t political so people like him better,” Trump said.
‘There is no way we will isolate someone for religious beliefs’
Trinity linked arms and stood in unison in front of Wigan players
The owner of a Super League club whose players collectively decided against taking a knee has denied anyone involved is racist, insisting the decision was made to stand in solidarity with a player who said his religious beliefs prohibited him from making the stance.
Wakefield Trinity attracted criticism after their players did not kneel before their game against Wigan, with the squad instead opting to link arms and stand in unison. The likes of Israel Folau of Catalans have also not taken a knee since Super League’s resumption, but Wakefield’s owner, Michael Carter, has stressed his players were keen to send their own anti-racism message while also supporting those who did not feel comfortable kneeling.
“We have at least one player who was adamant that their religion did not allow him to kneel for anyone but God,” Carter told the Guardian. “I didn’t feel that was open to question and having spoken with one player privately, he had concerns about the reaction Israel Folau had received to the point he was actively considering standing down.
Harrington leaves British Cycling for CEO role at BHA
New chief executive was operations director at the FA
Julie Harrington will take over as chief executive of racing’s ruling body in the New Year, replacing Nick Rust, who announced his intention to leave in January. With a background in racing combined with experience of senior roles in other sports, Harrington was seen as a strong contender from an early stage and has been the bookmakers’ favourite to take over since April, when it emerged that she was interested in the post.
Harrington spent eight years as a senior executive with Northern Racing before it became part of the ARC group of racecourses and managed Uttoxeter for a time. She is well known at the BHA, having been a non-executive director until last year.
FC Dallas will admit a limited number of supporters to its home game this week. Some experts think it’s too early to return to a semblance of normality
The five-month wait has been hard for Luis Dollar, president of El Matador, an FC Dallas supporters’ group. “Man, not seeing our team out there was brutal,” he said. “We miss our team.”
After the MLS is Back tournament in the Orlando “bubble” concludes on Tuesday, Dallas will host Nashville at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday and Sunday, marking the return of regular-season Major League Soccer games at club stadiums. And the return of fans in the stands.
Eight years after winning Olympic gold at London 2012, the lightweight on lockdown frustrations, fighting after losing his father and excitement over a potential bout against Ryan Garcia
“It’s been a fucking mess,” Luke Campbell says bluntly in his kitchen which spreads out into a vast living area. His home, in a suburban mews on the leafy outskirts of Hull, is as airy and spacious as boxing during Covid-19 is bleak and restrictive.
“Since November I’ve trained for two fights. Neither happened. One because I was going for a world title and the other because of the pandemic. Fights are all over the place now and people talk so much shit. Like announcing fights without any sign of them happening. It’s absolute bollocks. I enjoy training with the lads and I’m getting better. But boxing’s pretty shit at the moment.”
Following England’s win over Pakistan via patchy wifi was thrilling and a reminder that the game has often been enjoyed from a distance
I spent last week in Shropshire, where my family and a few others had clubbed together to hire out Wilderhope Manor, the wonderful and historic National Trust property and youth hostel whose splendour and all-round magnificence must make it among the most unlikely places in the country to find creaky bunk beds, rubberised mattresses, shared toilets and bargain accommodation.
Despite its antiquity the property is equipped with many modern conveniences including wifi, the only problem being that the modem is housed in a cafeteria that was locked for the duration of our stay, and the signal stubbornly refused to worm its way through the massive stone walls that have held up the house for the last 450 years or so. With mobile signal largely nonexistent internet access was thereby limited to a small corridor outside the cafeteria’s locked door, and strongest in a pocket of space little more than a metre square in which we placed a single chair. Much of the time access to the outside world was limited to the individual who occupied this seat.
In an echo of the Bob Willis Trophy, the ECB have announced the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy - a month long 50-over tournament to start on the August bank holiday weekend. The eight teams from the new domestic structure will play six games each, in two groups of four. The two top teams will meet in a final on September 26.
North: Central Sparks, Lightning, Northern Diamonds, Thunder
Good morning from a humid Manchester, where huge thunderstorms lit up whole streets late last night. This is the last day of the second round of the Bob Willis Trophy. Just five games left after yesterday’s victories by Kent, Derbyshire and Lancashire, and Somerset’ two-day triumph on Sunday.
The forward was the inspiration as United summoned some energy in the dog days of midsummer to reach the Europa League semi-finals with victory over Copenhagen
At times watching this two-hour game of knockout football felt like sitting through an increasingly entertaining migraine. The RheinEnergieStadion was a mid-August firepit from the start.
The colours swirled across the deep green spaces. And 12 months on from the start of the season, in the dog days of midsummer, Manchester United and FC Copenhagen fought with heartening vigour for the right to progress to the semi-finals of this Europa knockout period.
After 23 weeks in limbo, rugby is emerging blinking into the summer sunlight and the next two months of the Premiership are crucial to the sport’s future
People used to argue that class is permanent and form only temporary. Not in these unprecedented stop-go days of English rugby. As the Premiership season re-emerges blinking into the bright summer sunlight, woe betide any ambitious clubs who respond slowly to this weekend’s starting pistol after 23 weeks in limbo.
Because the traditional domestic marathon is suddenly a gut-busting sprint, complete with unfamiliar midweek games, as the league looks to make up for lost time and, more pertinently, precious television income. Nine rounds, plus the play-offs, with everything settled by late October. An element of speed dating is set to replace steady courtship, which will suit some more than others.
Injured striker has not played since win over Burnley in June
Agüero still recovering in Barcelona with City squad in Lisbon
Sergio Agüero has all but resigned himself to missing Manchester City’s Champions League campaign and believes he may not play again until next season due to his knee injury.
While City flew to Lisbon on Monday before Saturday’s quarter-final with Lyon Agüero remained in Barcelona as he continued his recovery. It is understood he has told friends that the chances of him recovering in time to be part of Pep Guardiola’s squad for the competition are slim.
Several September race-meetings have been suggested to government as possible trials for the return of spectators
Race meetings at Newmarket and Ayr next month have been submitted to the government for possible use as trial days for the return of spectators, The Guardian understands. The Ayr Gold Cup meeting and the Cambridgeshire meeting, which both run for three days in the second half of September, have been put forward alongside St Leger week at Doncaster as racing seeks to organise a trial in place of the one that was cancelled at Goodwood recently.
Manchester United struggled to put away a doughty FC Copenhagen before doing so in extra time, Bruno Fernandes again the hero for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side.
The manager introduced Juan Mata for Mason Greenwood ahead of the extra half-hour and this proved prescient. On 95 minutes Anthony Martial was slipped in by Mata and while the superb Karl-Johan Johnsson saved from the Frenchman, a moment later Andreas Bjelland pulled him down.
Donald Trump has tweeted his support for college football players pushing for the opportunity to compete this season despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled. #WeWantToPlay,” wrote Trump on Monday, using a hashtag started by college football players advocating for the season to go ahead.
Perhaps it was inevitable that in being a leader, an ambassador, an entertainer and a salesman, something had to give
Three years ago, I went to Sheffield to interview Joe Root. It was his first summer as England captain and as he parsed his way through a series of solemn, proportionate answers about New Responsibilities and Exciting Opportunities, I became increasingly fascinated by his demeanour. His posture was nervous and awkward; his gestures self-conscious and uncertain; his words stilted and punctuated by short involuntary intakes of breath. It seemed like Root still was still trying to work out whether the England captaincy was something into which you grow or shrink. Whether it bottles you up or sets you free.
A couple of weeks later, someone in the England camp informed me Root had read my article and was a little put out. Not angry. Not upset. Just a bit surprised, as anyone might be if they’d seen their verbal tics and physical mannerisms deconstructed in creepily forensic detail in a national newspaper. Even so, Root’s reaction struck me as atypical. If this was his response to a largely innocuous slice of cod-psychology, how would he handle the merciless media roastings, the poison-pen campaigns, the barefaced lies to come? The England captaincy, after all, is hardly a job for someone who cares what other people think.
Nuno Espírito Santo’s side play quarter-final on Tuesday
‘We want to give a win to our fans and to Jonny’
Nuno Espírito Santo and his Wolves players have said the loss of Jonny Otto to a serious knee injury makes them even more determined to conclude their marathon season with European glory.
Jonny suffered cruciate ligament damage in Thursday’s victory over Olympiakos and will be out of action until next year, with Ruben Vinagre likely to replace him in Tuesday’s Europa League quarter-final duel with Sevilla.
Eric Bailly continues alongside Harry Maguire, with Victor Lindelof on the bench, and Fred is preferred to Nemanja Matic. That’s a bit of a surprise. If I was going to play Fred it would have be instead of Pogba rather Matic.
FC Copenhagen’s XI includes the former United right-back Guillermo Varela, one of the 327 youth players given their Old Trafford debut by Louis van Gaal.
Forward had already agreed terms with Manchester United
Dortmund’s Michael Zorc: ‘He will play for us next season’
Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, has said Jadon Sancho will not be transferred to Manchester United this summer and that he will stay at the Bundesliga club for the 2020-21 season.
The England international is United’s No 1 target in the current transfer window and has agreed personal terms with the club on a basic salary of around £250,000 a-week. The 20-year-old flew to Switzerland on Monday for Dortmund’s pre-season training camp.
Morikawa emerged, ultimately in a comfortable manner, from a Harding Park field in which stellar names – Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka – could not keep pace. A sensational 291-yard drive to within 8ft of the hole at the 16th on the final day endorsed the champion’s state of mind. With 38 days until the US Open gets under way at Winged Foot, Morikawa wants to ride the wave.
Ben Stokes was sorely missed the last time he was absent but he has not been his superhuman self in the past two Tests
With difficulty. The last time he was absent for more than the odd Test was in the 2017-18 Ashes, when he was helping Bristol police with their inquiries. England lost 4-0, and it was hard to say what they missed most – Stokes’s batting, his bowling or his blazing presence. This summer, though, they’ve already had to do without him to an extent. In the third Test against West Indies, he couldn’t bowl; in the first Test against Pakistan, he barely batted, making 0 and 9. And he’s been dropping catches. If he was superhuman in the first two Covid Tests, he’s been a mere mortal in the past two. Since his debut, England’s record is much the same whether Stokes is on board (won 38, lost 36, drawn 11) or not (won 8, lost 7, drawn 3). His usual understudy is Sam Curran, the man with the golden home record (played 8, won 8). But this time it has to be a batsman, as a fifth bowler had already been brought in to bowl Stokes’s overs. Cometh the hour, cometh Zak Crawley. Curran may sneak in too, depending on …
Wolff says Verstappen is now a genuine title contender
Mercedes principal says tyres investigation under way
The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has said he welcomes the challenge from Red Bull after his team were soundly beaten in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took victory at Silverstone on Sunday with a superb drive beating the world champion, Lewis Hamilton, into second and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas into third. Wolff believes all three drivers are now genuine contenders for the title.
Verstappen pulled off a commanding win in a race where the Mercedes was revealed to have a problem with its tyres wearing and losing performance very quickly. With their rubber blistering at Silverstone they could not match Red Bull’s pace and Verstappen’s victory moved him up to second in the championship.
Photojournalist Gary Calton packed his earplugs alongside his cameras as he visited the north of England’s only drag racing track on the day Melbourne Raceway reopened
Yorkshire’s Melbourne Raceway held its first event after a successful funding campaign where a loyal and dedicated racing community, including enthusiasts and competitors from all over the UK, helped raise more than £104,000 to repair the venue and bring it back to its former glory. It had lain idle and fallen into disrepair over a number of years.
It is the only track of its kind in the north of England and attracted a Covid-19-limited capacity of 100 competitors and 500 spectators for its first event, entitled Dragtastic, on the weekend of 8 August 2020.
Fast bowler admits play not been up to usual standard
‘I’ve not bowled very well and felt out of rhythm’
Listen to Jimmy Anderson and it sounds as if he bowled a never-ending stream of long hops and full tosses throughout the Test at Old Trafford, which was definitely not the case. But his standards are high; he did not meet them and now he seems almost eager to share his disappointment, as well as quashing any suggestion that he might be contemplating calling an end to the most illustrious of careers.
“It’s been a frustrating week for me personally,” he said. “I’ve not bowled very well and felt out of rhythm. For the first time in probably ten years I got a little bit emotional on the field. In the second innings in particular a chance went down and I let it get to me. I just felt I wasn’t bowling to the standards I set myself. It reminded me of when I first started playing. When you get frustrated and a little bit angry you try and bowl quicker and quicker and it doesn’t help. Now I’ll just try to work hard and hope I get the nod for the next game”.
Bayern Munich should be too strong for Barcelona while PSG have only played two games in the past five months
On the one side, the fairy story of this season’s Champions League, the sole remaining Italian club in the competition with their annual revenues of €188.6m. On the other, the habitual French champions with their annual revenues of €635.9m. Atalanta are delighted even to be in the Champions League, never mind to have got this far, while Paris Saint-Germain are weighed down by the burden of never having got beyond the semi-final, and never having got beyond the quarters under their Qatari ownership.
College football’s five wealthiest conferences face billions in lost revenue if the season is canceled due to the pandemic, which is the only reason why they have yet to pull the plug
The college football season is less than a month from kicking off on campuses across the US, but there are still more questions than answers surrounding player health and safety amid a coronavirus pandemic that on Sunday surpassed 5m confirmed cases nationwide, equal to one in 66 Americans.
Bulgaria exploded in pure identity, while the rest of the world enjoyed a moment of luscious joy in the misfortune of another
Not much makes the world simultaneously bigger and smaller, but the World Cup boasts that precise, precious capacity. While celebrating our differences – all those songs, all those chyrons, all those haircuts – it also highlights our similarities – all those souls, all those feelings, all that love – which together compel our species into a single endeavour of collective bliss.
But rarely has rapture been as rampant as when Yordan Letchkov’s header gave Bulgaria victory over Germany at USA 94. His team weren’t even meant to be there; needing to beat France in their final qualifier, the score was 1-1 with 90 minutes played. But then out of nowhere a fantastic pass from Lyuboslav Penev found Emil Kostadinov racing towards the box … and he absolutely mulleted a sensational finish in off the bar. “God is Bulgarian!” hollered Nikolay Kolev in commentary. “God is Bulgarian!”
A first meeting with the Oaks winner Love seemed on the cards but veteran mare will have a quieter Arc prep next month
Next week’s seismic clash in the Yorkshire Oaks is off, connections of Enable having decided to prioritise her attempt to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented third time. It had been hoped that she would line up on the Knavesmire against Love, the much-feted Irish filly who won the Oaks by nine lengths.
That would have turned the York race, a week on Thursday, into a mini-Arc, since Enable and Love are the top two in the betting for the Paris race in early October. But it has been decided that might not be the ideal preparation for the older mare, a six-year-old.
Often thought of as Mr Dependable, the Warwickshire player is invaluable to England with the red, as well as white, ball
It would be easy to paint Chris Woakes as an underrated England cricketer but the truth is, it rather depends where you look and who you listen to. And, perhaps, those days are in the rearview mirror now anyway.
On the drive back from Manchester late on Saturday evening I passed Edgbaston and for a good few years now the side of the stadium has been adorned with a huge photo of the Brummie Botham/Sutton Coldfield Sobers (delete as per taste – both if you have any).
American hits final-round 64 to win his first major title
Morikawa finishes ahead of Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey
Ultimately, there was no need for the kind of US PGA Championship playoff that could have risked social distancing infractions. Of the wave of data that will now surround Collin Morikawa, golf’s latest major winner, one element stands out: just 15 months ago he was a college student.
Morikawa marched through a congested Sunday scene at Harding Park, which had frequently seen six and seven way ties for the lead. He produced the shot of the tournament, just when it mattered, with a towering drive to within 8ft of the par four 16th hole’s pin. As Morikawa slammed home his putt for an eagle, the Wanamaker Trophy was his barring meltdown. The 23-year-old, who has turned heads since joining the professional ranks last summer, won the US PGA by two at 13 under par. Molikawa’s final round of 64 emphasises a nerveless approach, in what was only his second major appearance. It isn’t supposed to be this straightforward.
Dutchman romps to win at 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
Racing Point decry rivals for ‘dragging our name through mud’
Lewis Hamilton has said he welcomes the fight from a resurgent Red Bull and Max Verstappen after he and Mercedes were soundly beaten at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Verstappen’s victory at Silverstone was a warning for Hamilton and Mercedes that they will not have everything their way his season.
Five-time world champion now to face Mark Williams
Kyren Wilson into last eight after beating Martin Gould
Ronnie O’Sullivan swept into the last eight of the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible after beating Ding Junhui in a quality session which saw breaks of 50-plus in each of the evening’s seven frames.
Resuming at 8-8, O’Sullivan made the first mistake when he missed a simple black, but seized a second chance to take the frame with a break of 87.
A short yellow from Ding allowed O’Sullivan to extend his lead to two frames with a 73, before Ding pounced on another missed black by O’Sullivan to reduce the deficit with a break of 88.
‘We were already in charge of our own body,’ says British No 1
Konta driving over 1,000 miles in US to avoid air travel
Johanna Konta has played down concerns related to the waiver players will sign in order to compete at the US Open later this month. The legal waiver appears to absolve the United States Tennis Association of liability “for any risks of loss or personal injury, including serious illness, injury or death … whether caused by the negligence of the NTC or otherwise”.
Although players frequently sign waivers, the tournament organisers had previously rejected the possibility of a Covid-19 specific waiver: “It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to have players sign that because, look, they’re at risk of developing Covid from many different scenarios. It’s highly unlikely it’s going to happen at the US Open,” said Dr Brian Hainline, the chairman of the USTA Medical Advisory Group, during the launch press conference in June.
Regan Grace scored a magnificent hat-trick to help the reigning champions, St Helens, thrash Leeds and move to within two points of Wigan at the top of the Super League table. The Wales international scored three solo tries of the highest order to not only open his account for the season but ensure the Saints were far too strong for their patched-up opponents.
Kristian Woolf’s side were, in truth, assured of victory by half-time. They led 24-0 at the break against an out-of-sorts Leeds side courtesy of tries from James Graham, Alex Walmsley, Tommy Makinson and the outstanding Grace, who produced a mazy run to score his first of the night.
Champions had bid for Norwich’s Jamal Lewis rejected
Tsimikas has still to pass medical and agree personal terms
Liverpool look set to make their first signing of the transfer window, with Kostas Tsimikas heading to Merseyside for a medical.
Jürgen Klopp wants to strengthen specific areas of his Premier League winning squad and the lack of a left-footed backup for Andy Robertson has become a priority. Klopp was keen on a move for Norwich City’s highly -rated left-back Jamal Lewis but a £10m bid was rejected last week.
The 19-year-old brushed off prejudice during her ascent through England’s golf scene. Now she plans to blaze a trail for others
Georgia Oboh doesn’t bother with mediocre ambitions. Should the 19-year-old hit even a fraction of her immediate targets, the world of golf will owe her a debt of gratitude. When the Nigerian is asked about her aspirations, the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics feature heavily. So, too, a rapid rise. “Gaining my LPGA Tour card, winning on the LPGA, winning a major,” Oboh explains. “I like to set my goals high but attainable. I want to be on the path to No 1 in the world.”
Even more intriguing than these bold claims is that Oboh embraces her role as a pioneer. If South Africa is well known for its golfing heritage, the remainder of the continent has had no noticeable status at all; especially among women. Oboh wants to lead from the front.
With so many of the world’s top players not travelling to New York due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the path has opened up for the 38-year-old to equal the Australian’s 24 major titles
When Margaret Court said goodbye to big-time tennis in 1975 with more grand slam singles titles than anyone in the history of the game, she provided Serena Williams with the sort of challenge champions crave.
And, as the American roared through the record books, it seemed inevitable she would match and eventually overtake Court, perhaps forging on to an unattainable peak. However, what was once merely a mountain grew into the north face of the Eiger.
Pakistan contributed to a brilliant first Test and the next two promise more of the same even if England have selection problems to ponder, although no longer behind the stumps
We had no right to expect such enthralling drama in what we assumed would be the most sterile of settings this summer. The West Indies series made for good viewing (and listening) but this was better. The England and Pakistan players at Old Trafford were utterly committed in a deserted stadium, the quality of some of the cricket was excellent and the outcome on a knife-edge.
They have reminded us Test cricket can be the most compelling and complete form of the game, complex too, yet accessible to those with only a passing interest.
This could be redemption time for Dustin Johnson. Ten years ago at Whistling Straits, the big man grounded his club on a patch of sandy grit coming down the last. Under the local rules, it counted as a bunker, and a retrospective penalty meant he missed out on a play-off with Bubba Watson and eventual winner Martin Kaymer.
Then last year at Bethpage Black, he reeled in runaway leader Brooks Koepka to within a stroke, only to immediately hand a couple of shots back and let his compatriot break for the tape. The PGA Championship owes him one. Yes, this could be redemption time. He’s playing more than well enough, as yesterday’s wonderful back nine of 31 proves beyond any doubt. It’s on! It’s ... on?
Brazil winger ends seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge
Arsenal favourites to sign 32-year-old on a free transfer
Willian has announced the “time has now come” to leave Chelsea amid repeated reports of a free transfer to Arsenal. The Brazil forward, who turned 32 on Sunday, is out of contract following a seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge.
Lewis Hamilton finishes second, Valtteri Bottas third
Hamilton equals record of podium finishes
Max Verstappen won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone in a virtuoso performance for Red Bull. Pulling off a real shock, he banished the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton into second and Valtteri Bottas into third. Where Mercedes had looked so dominant last week at the British Grand Prix, this time it was Red Bull that enjoyed a distinct pace advantage, and managed their race with bravery and aplomb. Charles Leclerc was in fourth for Ferrari with Alex Albon in fifth for Red Bull.
In a race where Red Bull’s gamble on their tyre choice paid off, Verstappen grabbed his chance with glee and proceeded to prove why he is such an exciting talent. Given a sniff of a chance against the Mercedes that has thus far won every race this season, Verstappen displayed aggression and control to put in a mighty performance. With tyre use at its heart Red Bull finally had the better of their rivals.
The number 10 is key to our culture: tithes, ten plagues, ten commandments, Ten by Pearl Jam. It controls how we count, which controls how we think, which controls how we feel, not just a figure, but a concept.
But when it comes to Scoish fitba, it means more. Celtic have won nine consecutive titles – a feat they also managed between 1965-6 and 1973-74, only for Jock Wallace’s Rangers to intervene – and a feat Rangers managed between 1988-89 and 1996-97, only for Wim Jansen’s Celtic to intervene. Now, though, it’s very hard to see.
With the second Test coming so soon after the first, Azhar must remind his players that they dominated England for the majority of the match at Old Trafford
By reputation, Pakistan are a chaotic and unpredictable team. The journalist Osman Samiuddin, who has spent years trying to make sense of them, once wrote a brilliant essay about those glorious moments when the players would sense something coming, would slip all of sudden into a higher gear, and inexorably wrest control of a game away from the opposition with a rush of quick wickets. “Waqar Younis calls these moments a tamasha, a spectacle, but also a cross between a rolling circus and a fair,” Samiuddin wrote. “It is a tamasha,” Waqar told him: “‘I swear to God, we used to say it, we used to talk about it like this. Chal para kaam, chaloji, pakro [‘It’s begun, come, grab on to it’]’.”
Jürgen Klopp’s side coasted to the title yet were the league’s second-best team according to the popular metric. Are Liverpool baffling the boffins – or are we missing the point?
There was just the faintest whiff of schadenfreude about it. A table had been published showing how the Premier League would have finished if it were decided by expected goals. “Look,” a colleague said, “according to xG Manchester City should have won the title by 15 points.” In fact, over the past two seasons, Liverpool should have had 39 points fewer. It pained the colleague to say it, but might Jürgen Klopp have exposed the limits of nerdery?
Seeking to show whether a given shot is a good chance, whether it should have gone in, xG is one of many metrics used in football analytics. It is, however, the first to move into the mainstream. It’s featured (after the corner count) on Match of the Day, it pops up in analysis articles and is widespread on Twitter. It has also become a focal point in the debate about how far the magic of football can be distilled into numerical form. So when an xG league table looks so far off the real thing, people start asking questions.
• England all-rounder will fly to New Zealand this week • Stokes to miss two remaining Tests in Southampton
Ben Stokes has withdrawn from the remainder of England’s Test series against Pakistan for unspecified family reasons, with the all-rounder due to join his parents in New Zealand later this week.
England’s vice-captain has already had a huge impact on the summer thus far, leading the side against West Indies in Southampton and then helping set up the 2-1 series vcitory by averaging 90 with the bat and claiming nine wickets with the ball.
We’re back at Silverstone and perhaps things might be different to last week. First up: the weather. It is blisteringly hot in England and even with a touch of cloud cover it is going to hit temperatures of 29-30 degrees during the race. Were there to be crowds at the fabled Northants venue, there would be no such thing as the traditional car-park swamp.
And this week Lewis Hamilton is second on the starting grid, behind Valtteri Bottas, who outpaced his Mercedes teammate on Saturday in qualifying. Hamilton was not impressed with his own performance.
The most exciting performance in qualifying was by Nico Hulkenberg. Having jetted in last week to replace Covid-19-positive Sergio Perez and then suffered from his Racing Point car breaking down ahead of the British GP, he blasted his way to third on the grid in front of Max Verstappen. Not bad for a spare driver. He drove like he is, someone with nothing to lose.
The battle for mid-table is likely to be where all the intrigue lies but Hamilton learned some lessons last week, having crawled home with a puncture when his tyres gave out on the last lap. A one-stop strategy seems unlikely so pitting strategy is likely to be crucial today.
UK’s B4 level not recognised by the Paralympic movement
Karina Lang and Adam Knott call for more inclusive approach
Visually impaired athletes say they are being left in limbo by a classification system that means many who are registered disabled are not judged sufficiently impaired to compete at international level.
As many as one in 10 visually impaired athletes in the UK could fall into the category B4, a level recognised by British Blind Sport but not by the Paralympic movement, and which falls outside the criteria defined by the International Blind Sport Association.
Gomes will head on loan to Boavista for the 2020-21 season
Phil Jones ruled out of Europa League squad with knee injury
Former Manchester United youngster Angel Gomes has completed a move to Lille but will spend next season on loan with Portuguese club Boavista. Gomes has signed a contract until 2025 with the Ligue 1 club.
Police allege a kitchen knife was used in brawl at under 20s community game between Wentworthville Magpies and Penrith Brothers
Three men have been hospitalised after an alleged stabbing following an under 20s community football game in Sydney’s northwest.
Emergency services were called to Old Saleyards Reserve in North Parramatta following reports of an assault after an under 20s community game between Wentworthville Magpies and Penrith Brothers on Sunday morning.
If it did not quite match last year at Headingley, this win over Pakistan shows a team at their best when the odds are longest
The Observer’s official policy about the use of swear words is right there in the official style guide, between the entries on Swaziland and swingeing. “We are more liberal than most newspapers,” it says, however, “we should use such words only when absolutely necessary to the facts of a piece, or to portray a character in an article; there is almost never a case in which we need to use a swearword outside direct quotes.” Which, yes, all makes good sense. Only, I’d guess the person who wrote it never had to take on the job of writing about this England team on a tight deadline.
I discovered yesterday evening that Essex currently have 10 homegrown players in their team against Surrey, including Feroze Khushi who scored his maiden first-class fifty yesterday. Surrey are nearly as successful, their famous production line meant that seven Oval-bred players were in the team, even though 14 first-choice players are currently unavailable. Adam Wheater and Sam Cook were both awarded their county caps by Essex too.
And so it continues - Tom Abell caught behind in the first over of the day. Somerset 15-2. We need Kim Thonger’s son Tom’s with a report from the bathroom.
Almost a year from Bury’s expulsion from the EFL, the phoenix club created during lockdown is ready to restore local pride
It is almost 12 months since Bury were expelled from the Football League and the blows keep coming. On Friday, the Football Association confirmed the club’s application to join the National League had been rejected, a decision ratified by the FA council and based on factors including “financial resources, ownership and insolvency status”.
There is no way back yet for the two-times FA Cup winners under the ownership of Steve Dale. It is 15 months since Gigg Lane last staged a competitive game, a 1-1 draw with Port Vale that doubled as a celebration for Ryan Lowe’s fine team winning promotion to League One. They never would make the step up as debts left by the previous owner, Stewart Day, precipitated the devastating crash of a 134-year-old football club.
As F1 celebrates its 70th birthday at the track where it began, here are some of the most memorable from 1,022 grands prix
With his Vanwall not ready for the opening round of the season, Stirling Moss drove a Cooper T43 for Mike Walker’s privateer team. Ranged against him were the favourites, the Ferraris of Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn and the Maserati of Juan Manuel Fangio, who had claimed pole. Moss started from seventh but hit trouble when his car became stuck in second gear.
‘It says a huge amount about him as a person,’ captain states
Keeper shared in key partnership with ‘fantastic’ Woakes
Jos Buttler battled concerns over the health of his father and thoughts about losing his Test place when he and Chris Woakes guided England to their astonishing turnaround victory in the first Test against Pakistan.
Buttler’s 75 from 101 balls would have been a remarkable innings regardless but during the run chase his sister, Joanne Vickers, tweeted news that their father, Johnny, had spent the previous evening in hospital. Though an England spokesperson confirmed he was now back at home, Buttler requested not to discuss the issue after the win but Joe Root, his close friend and captain, was happy to share his admiration.
With 18 holes to play, Johnson sits atop the leaderboard
Woods admits he has a finite number of major chances left
Nothing would explain the madness of golf better than a Dustin Johnson win at the US PGA Championship.
This isn’t to undermine Johnson’s status as one of the finest players in the world, as is obvious, but rather as emphasis of a bizarre spell. Johnson’s post-lockdown form guide shows a tie for 17th, a win, back-to-back rounds of 80, withdrawal from the 3M Open because of injury and four sub-70 scores in a World Golf Championship. Deciphering what he was likely to do at Harding Park, during the first major of 2020, was for the most daring of gamblers.
Ronnie O’Sullivan level with Ding Junhui at 8-8 in second round
Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins also at 8-8
Jamie Clarke and Anthony McGill became involved in a heated confrontation in their World Championship second-round encounter at the Crucible, where Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui were deadlocked at 8-8.
Trailing 7-2 in the afternoon session, McGill accused Clarke of deliberately standing in his eyeline as the Scot prepared to play a long yellow from the baulk end. Referee Jan Verhaas came between the qualifiers and ordered Clarke from the other end of the table, directing him to his chair.
Even Didier Drogba would have struggled to dig Chelsea out of this hole. There was no miraculous comeback on their return to the scene of their greatest triumph and for all the talk about Frank Lampard’s players taking inspiration from beating Bayern Munich in front of their own fans in the 2012 Champions League final, cold reality intervened once the German side set about finishing the job they started at Stamford Bridge six months ago.
It always was fanciful to think that this Chelsea side had it in them to burgle Bayern here again. They will be in the Champions League again next season but this campaign is over at last. They remain a work in progress, even though Lampard can be proud of finishing fourth in his first year in charge, and instead it is Bayern who head to Lisbon.
Barcelona are through, but that was virtually all you could say about them. Quique Setien’s side – although only just, if reports from Catalonia are to be believed – progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League thanks largely to the individual luminosity of Lionel Messi and the profligacy of their opponents. And yet in doing so they looked leaden and reactive, disjointed and disenchanted, producing a performance that will embolden rather than overawe their remaining rivals in the competition.
In a way, this was the modern Barcelona in microcosm: more than good enough for the average mid-table pretender, and yet ponderous and largely reactive in the face of a drilled attacking pattern and an opponent determined to keep the ball from them. It is why they were pipped to the La Liga title by Real Madrid and why, barring a dramatic uptick in form, are still likely to endure their first trophyless season since 2008.
Williams taking extra care after lung problems in the past
‘I have been a bit of a recluse ... this is my life and my health’
Serena Williams has said she intends to travel to Europe for the French Open in late September and compete at the remaining tournaments on the calendar should they take place. “I see myself doing it all if it happens,” she said as she prepares for her first competition in six months.
Williams was speaking from the Top Seed Open, a new tournament in Lexington, Kentucky, where she will be the top seed. There will be no fans, which Williams described as nostalgic, a reminder of when playing in front of nobody was a regular occurrence in her youth.
First Test, day four: Pakistan 326 & 169; England 219 & 277-7
Woakes (84*) and Buttler (75) secure win from depths of 117-5
As just about no one anticipated, England won an extraordinary match, a classic in camera, by three wickets. Needing 277 for victory they slumped to 117-5 and the pitch seemed to have acquired the qualities of a snake pit. Then a sublime partnership of 139 between Jos Buttler, roundly condemned for his keeping in this match, and Chris Woakes, peculiarly ignored by his captain in the field on Friday, united to transform the game. No one could ignore their qualities anymore.
As ever there was a little flurry of wickets as England homed in on their target. Buttler departed with 21 runs still required, lbw to Yasir Shah. The promoted Stuart Broad went the same way when four runs were required but an outside edge through the slip cordon from the bat of the heroic Woakes prompted the players to bump elbows after an epic contest that has justified all the peculiar hurdles that the pandemic has required everyone involved to overcome.
Doyle delivers for Imad Al Sagar to end horse’s lean streak
Fly Miss Helen put down at Newmarket after leg injury
Saturday proved another big day in the young career of Hollie Doyle, who delivered an inspired ride on the previously frustrating Extra Elusive to land Haydock’s Rose Of Lancaster Stakes. That made for an ideal start to Doyle’s retainer with the owner, Imad Al Sagar, announced a fortnight ago, as this was her first Group-race ride in the green silks made famous some years ago by Authorized.
Extra Elusive has no pretensions to Authorized’s ability but connections must have had hopes for him when he beat a big field on his debut. Alas, the ball has not bounced his way for some time and, before Saturday, he was on an eight-race losing run that stretched back two years, a tendency to pull hard under restraint having been part of the problem.
Controversial Australian takes Super League centre stage again
The Super League restart may have only been around 100 minutes old for Catalans, but at around 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon, the Dragons’ fiercest critics were already sharpening their knives. Humiliated – there really is no other word for it – in their opening game against St Helens last weekend, a sluggish start against Castleford here left many fearing another comprehensive loss was on the cards.
They were 14-0 behind in the blink of an eye and even the most optimistic Catalans fan would have feared the worst. But good teams never give up and great players so often inspire great – perhaps even season-defining – comebacks like these. For all his controversy away from the field, there is no denying that Israel Folau falls firmly into that category.