17-11-2018 The Spin | England reaping the benefits of Lions tours that turn tyros into Test players

Four of England’s winning Test team in Galle were on a successful Lions tour to Sri Lanka two years ago and this is one part of ECB planning that should be praisedAs the projected costs of The Hundred mount, tripling from the original estimate of £13m up to £40m – and counting – budgets are being slashed at ECB Towers. Gone is Andrew Strauss’s pet North-South series, gone is the not-so-mourned Pace Programme, gone are the Overseas Placements that so benefited Ollie Pope and Mason Crane in consecutive winters in Sydney.But still hanging on, whether by thread or rope, is the Lions Programme, perhaps English cricket’s most secret and deadly weapon. The first part of this winter’s tour starts on Sunday against Pakistan A, with a four-day match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Five one day and two Twenty20 games follow over the next three weeks, ricocheting between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Pope has been dispatched from the main England tour to get more match practice than he would twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines in Sri Lanka. Then, after Christmas, the Lions head to India. Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Netherlands 2-0 France: Dutch beat world champions to relegate Germany

The Netherlands deservedly beat France in the Uefa Nations League to end the world champions' 15-game unbeaten run and relegate Germany.

17-11-2018 Alexander Zverev reaches ATP Finals semis then reminds Lendl who is boss

• Zverev beats John Isner 7-6 (5), 6-3 to set up Federer tie• Djokovic defeats Marin Cilic 7-6 (9), 6-2 in evening gameAlexander Zverev reached the semi-finals of the ATP Finals by serving John Isner off the court in an hour and 20 minutes here on Friday to confirm he is the game’s most precocious shooting star.Of the contenders queueing up to take over from the game’s holy trinity – Roger Federer (whom he meets in the semi-finals on Saturday and who took three sets to break him down here a year ago), Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal – Zverev, at 21, has already set himself apart from his contemporaries. He walks with the air of someone for whom youth is an inconvenience but his strong mental qualities are sometimes mistaken for arrogance. Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Lewis Hamilton’s F1 vision suggests bid to match Michael Schumacher

Champion wants the sport to develop in established nations and overhauling Schumacher’s records appears part of the planLewis Hamilton believes Formula One should be looking to the European heartland if it is to add new races. It is an understandable viewpoint given he takes huge pleasure in racing on classic circuits packed with fans but much less so in front of empty grandstands. Yet that he should express his feelings having recently claimed a fifth title suggests a possible subtext. Hamilton is considering F1’s future and therein lies his final challenge: matching or beating Michael Schumacher. Related: Mercedes tribute to ‘exceptional’ Lewis Hamilton after F1 constructors’ title win Continue reading...

17-11-2018 José Mourinho: People who don't understand football analyse with statistics – video

Manchester United manager José Mourinho has blamed exertions for his side's 3-1 derby defeat to Premier League leaders Manchester City.United fought back for a 2-1 victory against the Italian champions Juventus in Turin on Wednesday while City cruised through a home game against Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0.'Everybody has to agree - it is one thing to go to Juventus and play against one of the best teams in the world for 90 minutes and another thing to beat Shakhtar Donetsk at home 6-0 and be very relaxed. We arrived in different circumstances,' said the Portuguese coach. But in contrast with some defeats this season, Mourinho was unwilling to criticise his team's attitude and effort, saying 'for me zero words against my players, everything is positive. I am with them and they are with me.'Sportblog: Would Pep Guardiola win the title with this Manchester United squad? Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Women's World Twenty20: Anya Shrubsole hat-trick inspires England win over South Africa

England reach the Women's World Twenty20 semi-finals with a nine-wicket win over South Africa as Anya Shrubsole takes a hat-trick.

17-11-2018 Which football teams have worn most kit combinations in a season? | The Knowledge

Plus: huge gaps between victories in the same competition, winning the same title with multiple teams, and loose dentures. Mail [email protected] or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“It appears that Fulham’s kit designer is having as bad a season as their defensive coach,” muses Richard Hilton. “Fulham have worn five different kit combinations in their first five away matches of the season (red/red; black/black; blue/blue; white/black; white/white). Is this a record?”It turns out Fulham’s kit designer still has a little more meddling to do, Richard. Here’s Chris Oakley. “I can confirm that they have some way to go yet! I’ve been creating some illustrations for Rochdale AFC’s official matchday programme, The Voice of Spotland, which show they had seven kits during the 1997-98 season. Two of them used elements of a kit worn two seasons before.” Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Wales 1-2 Denmark: Wales lose to Denmark in Nations League

Wales miss out on promotion to the Nations League's top tier as they are beaten at home by Denmark, who win Group B4.

17-11-2018 Ivan Rakitic: ‘We saw Football’s Coming Home and thought: yeah, but you still have to play us’

The Barcelona and Croatia midfielder talks about playing England at the World Cup with a virus, how to stay calm when taking penalties and post-tournament exhaustionIvan Rakitic packed his bag, kissed his family goodbye and said see you on the 15th. It was early June and he was not planning to be back until mid-July, four days after his daughter’s birthday. His wife, Raquel Mauri, told him he had better explain, so he made a promise: “I told her: ‘Don’t worry, when it’s over we’ll have a big party,’” he grins. “And I kept my word.” The day Althea turned five, he was still in Moscow. That night he called, wished her happy birthday and said sorry: daddy wasn’t coming home just yet. He had a World Cup final to play. Related: Croatia stun Spain to set up Nations League decider against England Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Magnus Carlsen narrowly avoids Fabiano Caruana stunner in Game 6 epic

Carlsen stages bold escape in Game 6 thriller – as it happenedBest-of-12-games match deadlocked at 3-all after six drawsMagnus Carlsen narrowly avoided a devastating upset on Friday in the sixth game of his world championship match with Fabiano Caruana in London, scratching back from the brink to save a miraculous draw after 80 moves. Related: Magnus Carlsen barely saves draw as Fabiano Caruana misses win in Game 6 epic – live! Continue reading...

17-11-2018 NI Open: Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby advance to semi-final match

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby will meet in the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast on Saturday.

17-11-2018 The Fiver | The potential commercial benefits of honouring former heroes

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Almost two years to the day since he made his final appearance for England at Wembley, Wayne Rooney will make his final appearance for England at Wembley on Thursday, in what amounts to a testimonial for the 33-year-old striker. Rooney called time on his international career in 2017, but like a well-intentioned ex-con in a cliched heist movie has been talked into one last job. The grizzled old veteran will take his place among the substitutes in Gareth Southgate’s squad for a friendly against the USA! USA!! USA!!! so England fans can thank a loyal servant who played quite well in one major tournament England didn’t come close to winning, before playing quite badly in several others they also didn’t come close to winning. As an homage to an international career in which he earned 119 caps and scored 53 goals, Rooney will receive a guard of honour from both sets of players, come on as a substitute and take the captain’s armband from Fabian Delph. Continue reading...

17-11-2018 England must turn on style against Japan to slip into World Cup fast lane | Paul Rees

Spirit and solidity have driven England’s upturn in results but Eddie Jones will expect ruthlessness against his former sideEngland’s head coach called on his players this month to make their own movie rather than sit and watch one. If they take him up on it against a Japan side he advised to pray before their first full Test at Twickenham, Eddie Jones and the Temple of Doom will have its first releaseJapan are the first of the other two international teams Jones has been in charge of to visit Twickenham in the final two weeks of the autumn series with Australia providing the final curtain next weekend. “Pray, pray, pray. Go to the temple and pray,” Jones advised his former charges. “We will be ruthless and want to physically smash them.” Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

17-11-2018 Steve Ogrizovic: ‘I enjoyed the police. I was good at clearing bars and clubs’

In the first of a series on 90s throwback footballers, Coventry’s former goalkeeper and current coach discusses the team’s shaves with relegation and his father’s escape from the Nazis“He had a trench coat on, he was fleeing the village, and Nazis were opening up on them. They just ran.” Steve Ogrizovic is explaining why his family settled in Mansfield and how a harrowing journey made by his father – ending in England but starting in Yugoslavia during the second world war – shaped his life. Nicola Ogrizovic had already seen his own father shot dead when he fled his home as a 14-year-old in 1942, leaving behind his mother and two sisters.“That was the last time he ever saw his village and his family,” Ogrizovic says. “There was a lake – he went over it and into the woods. It was only when he felt safe in the forest that he checked himself. His coat had been flapping in the wind, there were bullet holes both sides but nothing hit him. He spent the next two years living rough, on the move all the time, evading capture.” Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Claudio Ranieri puts burgers on menu to beef up Fulham survival mission

The Tinkerman got a pizza the action in his Leicester miracle but knows he must up the ante to save Fulham from relegationThere has been little to light up Craven Cottage this season, but on a shale-grey November afternoon Claudio Ranieri was a one-man sunbeam – offering optimism, old-world charm and an iron promise to do everything possible to keep Fulham from the drop. “If I come here it’s because I believe,” he said, smiling after being unveiled as the club’s new manager. “I’m mad but not stupid.”At Leicester Ranieri promised his players pizza every time they kept a clean sheet. This time, he joked, he would have to up the ante for a side that have conceded 31 goals in 12 Premier League games this season. “I have to promise something more,” he said. “Pizza is not enough now. Better everybody to McDonald’s! I hope to pay for a McDonald’s big burger very soon!” Continue reading...

17-11-2018 Thousands of Leicester City fans march to honour Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – video

Thousands of Leicester City fans marched on Saturday to honour former owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others, who were killed when their helicopter crashed following Leicester's previous home match against West Ham. Fans gathered in Jubilee Square and marched towards the team's King Power Stadium  ahead of their match with Burnley waving Leicester City and Thai flags, with others holding up banners. Continue reading...