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Sport | The Guardian



Sports news, scores, blogs and opinion on US and world sports from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:47:59 GMT2017-06-26T15:47:59Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course set to host Scottish Open

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:07:32 GMT2017-06-26T10:07:32Z

• Trump International Golf Links is the early favourite to stage 2019 event
• European Tour braced for controversy if US president’s course is chosen

Exclusive

Donald Trump’s relationship with golf is poised to remain in sharp focus, with the US president’s course on the outskirts of Aberdeen in the frame to host the 2019 Scottish Open. The event’s sponsors, Aberdeen Asset Management, are keen that the tournament returns to the north east of the country; Trump International Golf Links is currently the favoured venue.

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Why Houston Dynamo v FC Dallas is becoming MLS's most vital rivalry

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:36:40 GMT2017-06-26T11:36:40Z

It may lack the glitz of the New York derby or the grudge match in the Pacific north-west but the Texas clubs are producing fine play on the field

The rivalry between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas lacks the pageantry of, say, the Sounders-Timbers feud up in the Pacific north-west. Though an official attendance of 22,115 showed up for Friday night’s showdown at BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston’s first announced sellout since July 2015 – the atmosphere was still somewhat short of raucous, and a sprinkling of bright-orange empty seats stood out from the crowd.

Houston-Dallas lacks the big city sparkle of the New York City FC-Red Bulls games, and the historical weight of matches pitting Toronto against Montreal. What the Texas Derby lacks in grandeur, however, it currently makes up for in on-field quality and stakes – a case can be made that, right now, it is the most compelling rivalry in all of Major League Soccer.

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WTF, FML and a brief history of sporting acronyms in the modern age

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:20:53 GMT2017-06-26T14:20:53Z

The World Taekwondo Federation has finally rebranded but it is far from the only sporting entity to cause controversy with an acronym or abbreviation

The World Taekwondo Federation did the inevitable last weekend, changing its name to escape the “negative connotations” of its acronym.

World Taekwondo, as it is now officially known, first considered changing its name in 2015, but decided to give it another 18 months before accepting that the ubiquitous online abbreviation was going nowhere. The new slogan? It’s “Taekwondo For All”. Thanks for asking.

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Mets promote Tim Tebow to Advanced A due to 'chase rates and exit velocity'

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:44:01 GMT2017-06-25T19:44:01Z

  • Former NFL star has underwhelming average so far in baseball career
  • Twenty-nine-year-old will now play for St Lucie Mets

These are testing times for the New York Mets, with the team well off the pace in the National League East, star players injured and veteran players unsettled. And now Tim Tebow is creeping his way towards the major leagues.

The Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL star is still a long way from an MLB appearance but he has been promoted from the Low A Columbia Fireflies to the Advanced A St Lucie Mets. It is unlikely that Tebow’s move is due to his stunning play: the 29-year-old rookie batted .222 with three home runs and 23 RBIs for the Fireflies, stats that the Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, admitted are underwhelming.

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Manchester United set to sign Nemanja Matic from Chelsea for around £40m

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:21:48 GMT2017-06-26T11:21:48Z

• United hopeful of completing midfielder’s transfer this week
• José Mourinho keen to land player he signed for Chelsea in 2014

José Mourinho is intent on signing Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic for around £40m, with Manchester United hopeful of completing the transfer this week.

The 28-year-old is understood to have agreed personal terms with United and the two clubs have agreed his price.

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Novak Djokovic’s peace mission may have neutered killer instinct – McEnroe

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 21:30:42 GMT2017-06-25T21:30:42Z

• Former great questions Pepe Imaz’s influence on troubled Serb
• Djokovic awaits confirmation Andre Agassi will be at Wimbledon as mentor

John McEnroe fears Novak Djokovic’s burgeoning spirituality could be draining the Serb of his “killer instinct”.

The American, who wrestled with his own volatile personality for much of his career, says of the one-time shirt-ripping beast of the Tour: “From an emotional standpoint he perhaps felt he wanted to bring in somebody who wants to give people a lot of hugs. That does not necessarily translate to having that killer instinct. It does not automatically lose it, but you don’t want to get into a situation where it is all peace and love and then have to go out and try to stomp on somebody’s head in competition.”

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America's Cup: Team New Zealand one point from glory after win over Oracle

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 18:30:22 GMT2017-06-25T18:30:22Z

  • Oracle Team USA trail 6-1 after New Zealand win both Sunday’s races
  • First team to seven will be the holders of the Auld Mug

Helmsman Peter Burling and his underdog Emirates Team New Zealand won two races on Sunday to reach match point in the America’s Cup against Jimmy Spithill and two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA. Now the New Zealanders need to avoid the kind of soul-crushing collapse that kept them from winning the oldest trophy in international sports four years ago.

Burling, who at 26 could become the youngest helmsman to hoist sailing’s greatest prize, steered his red-and-black, 50-foot foiling catamaran to victories of 12 seconds in Race 7 and 30 seconds in Race 8 on the Great Sound. His team moved to 6-1 in the first-to-seven match. Team New Zealand has won seven races but began with a negative point because Oracle won the qualifiers. The clincher could come on Monday, when two races are scheduled.

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Confederations Cup: Germany reach semi-final after video replay confusion

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:19:25 GMT2017-06-25T19:19:25Z

The world champions, Germany, reached the Confederations Cup semi-final on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over a Cameroon side reduced to 10 men after further confusion with experimental video replays.

Germany were leading through Kerem Demirbay’s strike when a case of mistaken identity halfway through the second half – which replays were meant to eradicate – left Cameroon bemused and irritated.

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Lewis Hamilton challenges Sebastian Vettel to sort it ‘face to face’ after Baku 'disgrace'

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:20:42 GMT2017-06-26T08:20:42Z

• War of words ensues after German rams Briton in Azerbaijan GP
• Ferrari driver hit with 10-second penalty for double collision

Lewis Hamilton has branded his Formula One world championship rival Sebastian Vettel a disgrace after the German deliberately drove into him at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Hamilton demanded that, if they are to clash, they should do so like “men” outside the car.

Hamilton’s Mercedes was leading the race in Baku and was behind the safety car just before the restart when Vettel’s Ferrari hit him from behind. An angry Vettel, believing Hamilton had braked deliberately and sparked the collision, then drew level and swerved into the side of the British driver’s car.

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Latest Russia allegations raise big questions for Fifa – and football | Sean Ingle

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 18:13:34 GMT2017-06-25T18:13:34Z

Fifa must deprive Russia from staging next year’s World Cup if possible doping offences by the country’s 2014 World Cup squad are found to be true

Of course there were denials. There are always denials. It is part of the dance, the fast‑paced barynya, when it comes to Russia and doping allegations. No sooner had the Mail on Sunday revealed that the country’s entire 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup was under investigation by Fifa for possible doping offences, than its deputy prime minister, and chairman of 2018 World Cup Russia, Vatily Mutko, put up the shutters. “There have never been and will never be any problems with doping in our football,” he said. “They have written some sort of nonsense.” He was similarly dismissive about allegations about doping in Russian athletics in 2013. So it goes.

This, of course, is the same Mutko that a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation found might have personally intervened to cover up a failed drug test by a banned foreign footballer, which meant the sample was never declared positive and he was free to keep playing. And the same Mutko who was Russia’s sports minister during the period when the Canadian law professor Richard McLaren found that more than 1,000 elite Russian athletes across 30 sports had benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme. Strangely it did not harm his political career. In fact he was promoted.

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Frank de Boer arrives at Crystal Palace with proven vision to pull off grand plan

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:30:03 GMT2017-06-26T15:30:03Z

New manager is expected to develop young talent and keep the club in the Premier League. The Dutchman’s time at Ajax shows he is capable of both

Rewind to the 1998 World Cup and Dennis Bergkamp’s winning goal for Holland against Argentina at Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome. It is a moment of breathtaking skill that has been replayed on numerous occasions but what is often lost in the telling is the pass that made it happen. It came from the boot of Frank de Boer as he edged towards the halfway line and, as well as displaying great range, highlighted a quality Crystal Palace are banking on the Dutchman bringing to the club, having appointed him as their latest manager: vision.

Confirmed as Sam Allardyce’s successor at Selhurst Park, De Boer’s principal task is keeping Palace in the Premier League. However, the decision of the club’s chairman, Steve Parish, and the American major shareholders, David Blitzer and Josh Harris, to opt for De Boer over, say, Mauricio Pellegrino and Sean Dyche, is also based on a long-term strategy of developing young talent and integrating it successfully into the first team, allowing Palace to become less reliant on big-money signings and quick-fix loan deals, as has been their way in recent years. In that regard De Boer fits the bill perfectly.

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North-south football divide is a figment of the imagination | Louise Taylor

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:11:08 GMT2017-06-26T12:11:08Z

David Moyes thinks Sunderland suffers for its location but a look around the north-east and a conversation with Newcastle’s Rafael Benítez reveals it can attract the best talent

David Moyes is discussing culture shock, regional imbalances and their role in his club’s relegation. “Along with Manchester, London is the capital of English football and those cities will always attract the best players,” says Sunderland’s manager, a few weeks before his resignation.

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Six Germany players who could threaten England’s Euro Under-21 hopes

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:54:04 GMT2017-06-26T14:54:04Z

Wolfsburg’s youngest-ever player, a forward just bought by Borussia Dortmund for €20m and a former Arsenal winger with Bayern Munich feature on our list

The withdrawal of the highly rated Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah on the eve of the tournament left a large gap to fill at the back and Stark – who was outstanding in central midfield for Hertha Berlin as they secured Europa League qualification by finishing sixth in the Bundesliga last season – was chosen to fill it. A sloppy pass against Italy forced the classy midfielder Mo Dahoud into an uncharacteristic mistake that gifted Federico Bernardeschi the only goal in the Azzurrini’s Group C victory on Saturday as Germany conceded their first goal of the tournament. The 22-year-old will be looking to make amends against England.

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Confederations Cup, the Euro U-21s and more – Football Weekly

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:44:45 GMT2017-06-26T13:44:45Z

The podders preview England v Germany in the Euro U-21s. Plus, the latest Confederations Cup news and all you need to know about Mauricio Pellegrino

On today’s Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by Simon Burnton, James Horncastle and Nick Miller to talk about the hottest happenings on Planet Soccerball.

First up, we hear from Rafa Honigstein about England’s chances against the Germans in the U-21 European Championship semi-final. Will this be revenge on Stefan Kuntz and his charges for Euro 96?

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The Fiver | Having spent the entire weekend soaking in a tub of after-sun

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:26:52 GMT2017-06-26T15:26:52Z

In today’s Fiver: Frank de Boer, Mr Senegal and maverick Swedes

The first thing to say about the new manager at Crystal Palace is that Tactics Tim was available. It’s a point The Fiver’s English cousin, $exually Repressed Morris Dancing Fiver, has been making all day, so we consider ourselves well versed on the topic. Poor $exually Repressed Morris Dancing Fiver. It was the last thing he needed. The Fiver hadn’t seen him go this red in the face since he underestimated last week’s heatwave and stepped outside for a couple of seconds without any suncream on.

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Liverpool target Naby Keïta can leave RB Leipzig but German club want £70m

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:27:12 GMT2017-06-26T08:27:12Z

• Liverpool considering £50m offer for Guinea midfielder
• Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk still wanted by Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool have been handed encouragement in their attempt to sign Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig, although the German club have indicated that they are not prepared to allow the Guinea international to leave for less than £70m.

Jürgen Klopp has identified the 22-year-old central midfielder as a key target after completing the £36.9m club record signing of the Egypt international Mohamed Salah from Roma last week, with Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk also still wanted by the Liverpool manager despite the club publicly apologising this month over their approach for the Holland defender and saying they had ended their interest.

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What happens to football managers who fall off the merry-go-round?

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:01:29 GMT2017-06-26T08:01:29Z

A few lucky managers always seem to have work but 70% of bosses aren’t given another opportunity after they lose their first job. What do they do next?

By Sean Cole for The Set Pieces, part of the Guardian Sport Network

It can appear as though some managers, no matter how mediocre their records, are never out of work. For all the endless churn in the volatile and highly pressurised industry of professional football, a few seem to skip from one employer to another without any discernible success. But the reality for most managers is rather different. According to figures from the League Managers Association, 70% of first-time managers are not given another opportunity after they lose their jobs. It can be sink or swim, with no second chances.

Kevin Dillon is someone who has struggled to return to a first-team role. The 57-year-old was a spiky and confrontational player for Birmingham City, Portsmouth and Newcastle United, among others, before he went back to Reading, his final Football League club, to take up a coaching position in their academy. He progressed through the ranks to become assistant to Alan Pardew and, via a handful of games as caretaker manager, Steve Coppell.

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Mark Cavendish to race in Tour de France after gambling on fitness

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:17:31 GMT2017-06-26T13:17:31Z

• Returned to training only six weeks ago after suffering from Epstein-Barr virus
• Team Dimension Data sprinter four stage wins off Merckx’s record of 34

Mark Cavendish’s attempts to become the most prolific stage-winner in Tour de France history will continue this July after he was named in Team Dimension Data’s squad for the race.

Related: Chris Froome: This Tour de France route is biggest challenge of my career

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Kyle Edmund and Naomi Broady knocked out in first round at Eastbourne

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:01:28 GMT2017-06-26T13:01:28Z

• British players each beaten in three sets
• Petra Kvitova pulls out of tournament with abdominal injury

The British No2 Kyle Edmund was knocked out of the first round at Eastbourne by the American Donald Young after losing 4-6, 6-3, 3-6. He was joined in leaving the tournament by Naomi Broady, who was beaten 2-6, 7-6 (9), 1-6 by the Czezh world No44 Kristyna Pliskova.

Related: Novak Djokovic’s peace mission may have neutered killer instinct – McEnroe

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Crystal Palace confirm Frank de Boer as manager on three-year contract

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:01:00 GMT2017-06-26T13:01:00Z

• Dutchman succeeds Sam Allardyce at Selhurst Park
• De Boer has been out of work since leaving Inter in November

Crystal Palace have confirmed the appointment of Frank de Boer as their manager on a three-year contract. The former Holland international is their fifth permanent manager in four years, succeeding Sam Allardyce, who surprisingly resigned last month.

“I had a good feeling about the club and the prospect of managing a team in the Premier league was exciting,” De Boer said. Asked to outline the target for his first season, he said: “To be a solid Premier League team and not to struggle against relegation – that’s the main target. If we can do more that’s nice but first to be a very solid Premier League club.”

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Lewis Hamilton feels Sebastian Vettel reaction shows psychological weakness

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:38:33 GMT2017-06-26T12:38:33Z

• Briton believes German’s adjudged dangerous driving was result of pressure
• Toto Wolff: nobody wanted schmoozing. Gloves are off. F1 needs the rivalry

Lewis Hamilton believes Sebastian Vettel’s angry reaction in deliberately driving into him at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is evidence the German driver is psychologically weak.

Hamilton has already described Vettel’s actions in Baku on Sunday as a disgrace and demanded that, if they are to clash, they should do so like men outside the car. Vettel has said he wants to clear the air with Hamilton.

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Gatland's claims about dangerous All Blacks play are desperate, says Hansen

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 03:23:34 GMT2017-06-26T03:23:34Z

  • All Blacks coach responds to Gatland’s complaints of ‘dangerous’ play
  • ‘We want to play hard, but we want to play fair,’ insists Hansen

The bad feeling between Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland got a whole lot worse on Monday morning, when the All Blacks coach accused his Lions counterpart of being “desperate” after the first Test, and said that his remarks about the All Blacks’ tactics had taken the gloss off the match and the tourists’ performance.

Gatland complained that New Zealand had been “dangerous” in the way they’d targeted Lions’ scrum-half Conor Murray, that their tacklers had “dived blindly” at his standing leg while they were trying to charge down his kicks. In an interview with Radio Sport NZ on Monday morning, Hansen hit back by saying that Gatland’s remarks were “really, really disappointing”, but no less than he expected from him.

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Warren Gatland wants end to All Blacks' ‘dangerous' harassment of Conor Murray

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 21:03:21 GMT2017-06-25T21:03:21Z

  • Lions head coach wants referees to watch late lunges on scrum-half
  • Itoje and Warburton in line to start second Test in Wellington

Warren Gatland has accused the All Blacks of illegally targeting his scrum-half Conor Murray and warned that the British & Irish Lions will hit back hard in the second Test this weekend. Having reviewed footage of Saturday’s first-Test defeat, Gatland is calling for more scrutiny on players who launch “dangerous” lunges at the standing legs of kickers rather than seeking to charge the ball down.

The Lions management concede their team were outgunned physically during their 30-15 defeat but were aggrieved by several incidences of Murray being tackled or pushed after launching box-kicks. “From my point of view, if someone pushes him afterwards, that’s fine but diving at his leg … I know other teams have used that in the past,” Gatland said, referring to the Glasgow v Munster Champions’ Cup game in January when similar complaints were made.

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Oracle takes first win against Team New Zealand in America's Cup

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 22:40:14 GMT2017-06-24T22:40:14Z

  • Skipper Jimmy Spithill cuts Kiwis’ lead over American boat to 4-1
  • Rival skipper Peter Burling says: ‘It’s great to see a bit of fight’

Jimmy Spithill skippered two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA to its first victory of the America’s Cup regatta, taking a thriller in race six to earn a split Saturday and slow the momentum of Emirates Team New Zealand.

Related: Ben Ainslie vows to bounce back after costly America’s Cup semi-final exit

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Premiership expects Philadelphia sell-out for Newcastle v Saracens

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-06-24T06:00:00Z

  • 18,500 crowd at Talen Energy Stadium ‘integral to success’ of project
  • Executives: staging game on NFL and college football weekend no concern

Premiership Rugby expects its game in Philadelphia on 16 September to sell out, the main lesson of its venture to New Jersey in March 2016 having been that “success in year one is that the event actually happens”.

Related: Pro12 plan for US expansion with Houston team faces tough challenges

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Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar ordered to stand trial on sexual assault charges

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:27:33 GMT2017-06-23T17:27:33Z

  • Longtime USA Gymnastics doctor accused of assaulting six young gymnasts
  • Judge makes decision after hearing testimony from gymnasts over two days

A judge on Friday ordered Larry Nassar, a longtime doctor at Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, to stand trial on charges of sexually assaulting six young gymnasts who said he molested them while they were seeking treatment for various injuries.

Judge Donald Allen Jr made his decision in Mason, Michigan, after hearing testimony from the gymnasts over two days and watching a police interview of Nassar.

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NBA draft: blockbuster Jimmy Butler trade makes Wolves the big winners

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:09:32 GMT2017-06-23T14:09:32Z

Minnesota picked up one of the best players in the league, Philadelphia and LA did what they were supposed to do, and don’t write off San Antonio

Everyone was expecting something major to happen in the NBA on Thursday night, yet it was a little surprising when something actually did. Heading into the 2017 NBA draft there was plenty of talk of a team pulling off a big deal. Insiders threw out names like Paul George, Kristaps Porzingis and LaMarcus Aldridge. Yet nobody had the Minnesota Timberwolves trading for the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler until the deal was nearly completed, after the draft has already begun. The blockbuster deal overshadowed an a draft night that otherwise went pretty much as expected and heads our discussion of last night’s winners and losers.

Related: NBA draft: social media error sees Fultz heading No1 to (team name) and (City)

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NBA draft: social media error sees Fultz heading No1 to (team name) and (City)

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 02:34:40 GMT2017-06-23T02:34:40Z

  • Lonzo Ball will stay in California to play for Los Angeles Lakers
  • Boston Celtics take Jayson Tatum at No3 overall
  • Timberwolves trade for Jimmy Butler in deal with Bulls

The Philadelphia 76ers got the player they wanted and Lonzo Ball the team he wanted. The 76ers selected guard Markelle Fultz on Thursday night with the No1 pick and the Lakers followed by taking Ball, the start of a record-setting run of one-and-dones in the NBA draft. The point guards from the Pac-12 Conference began a run of seven straight freshmen. Nine of the first 10 selections played just one season of college ball.

Fultz’s selection was made all the more memorable when a pre-written template on his Instagram page wasn’t filled out correctly, leaving the interesting caption: “Excited to head to (City) and join the (team name).” It was unclear at the time of publication who (team name) were hoping to select in the second round or what the fans in (City) thought of Thursday’s events.

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Oakland Raiders make $125m Derek Carr highest-paid player in NFL history

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:31:37 GMT2017-06-22T15:31:37Z

  • Quarterback agrees to five-year deal as team prepares for Las Vegas move
  • Twenty-six-year-old has helped turn team into playoff contender

Derek Carr has signed a $125m, five-year contract with the Oakland Raiders in a deal that will make him the highest paid player in NFL history. Carr will make $25m per year, topping the $24.8m a year Andrew Luck makes at the Indianapolis Colts.

Carr tweeted news of the deal on Thursday, and the contract was later confirmed by sources who spoke to the Associated Press and NFL.com.

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The gifs that keep on giving: laughter, face football and two big clearances

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:00:32 GMT2017-01-21T10:00:32Z

Featuring two UFC fighters trying to pretend, a new form of badminton, fast fists, a very short game of pool and an exceedingly chamring basketball player

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The forgotten story of … how the white ball was dismissed as an unwanted fad | Simon Burnton

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 09:42:22 GMT2017-06-09T09:42:22Z

The white ball was widely disliked during trials in 1927 and one manufacturer declared it ‘practically impossible to make’. It would take another 24 years for the Football League to give it the go-ahead

In 1939 the Football League made the wearing of numbers on the backs of shirts mandatory, and in 1951 it officially allowed footballs, previously a shade of mud brown that given the state of many pitches at the time must have been extremely unhelpful, to be white. These novelties stand as two steps on football’s long journey to modernity though superficially they have little in common, separated as they were by 12 years and a world war. In fact, however, they were introduced in a single pioneering week during the pre-season of 1927, a time of wild experimentation which appears to have gone forgotten or unnoticed in the game’s many histories and timelines.

Herbert Chapman, who had already won two leagues titles and an FA Cup with Huddersfield Town and was in due course to repeat that feat at Arsenal, has been credited with playing a decisive role in both. In fact he seems to have been supportive but only tangentially involved, with credit for player numbers more rationally belonging with Chelsea’s manager, David Calderhead, his chairman, Claude Kirby, and later with Everton’s William Cuff, and for the white ball with a certain Mr EL Roberts of Kingsland, Shrewsbury.

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The Joy of Six: Diego Maradona

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:30:21 GMT2017-06-23T09:30:21Z

From a debut remembered mainly by opponents to the rousing of Napoli and that goal against England, half a dozen moments that sum up El Diego

“A lot of people claim they were there on 20 October 1976 when we played Talleres de Córdoba at home. The truth is, if everyone who says they were there for that match – my debut in the first team – had actually been there it would have had to be played at the Maracanã, not La Paternal” – Diego Maradona in El Diego, his autobiography

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It's time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup - with a twist

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:10 GMT2016-10-24T09:00:10Z

The single final is insufficient, and the two-leg final doesn’t reward the higher-seeded team for their regular-season performance. So why not combine the two?

Do US soccer leagues need their own Super Bowl, a week-long festival of the sport at a neutral site? Or should they reward the best regular-season team with home-field advantage for the final game?

Related: Didier Drogba fined but not suspended for Montreal Impact tantrum

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Japanese team skipping, Parma's return and the Lions in New Zealand | Classic YouTube

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:15:00 GMT2017-06-22T09:15:00Z

This week’s roundup also features a perpendicular putt, purple umbrellas and mountain bike legend Rachel Atherton going through the pain barrier

1) The wait is almost over; the first Lions test against the All Blacks kicks off this Saturday. The last New Zealand tour back in 2005 was a painful one, not least for Brian O’Driscoll, whose tour was ended by an infamous tackle in the opening seconds of the first Test, which ended in a 21-3 defeat. The second Test was even worse, Dan Carter inspiring a 48-18 thrashing in one of the all-time great No10 displays, before the tourists’ misery was completed in the third fixture at Eden Park. Lions fans looking for a little cheer might enjoy England’s women winning in New Zealand this weekend, these five classic Lions moments, or two Lions tries against the All Blacks from the vault: Rory Underwood in 1993 and JJ Williams back in 1977.

2) It’s Queen’s this week, Wimbledon’s fancy cousin, a tournament which takes an awful lot of work and coordination to get ready. There have been some wonderful moments for Andy Murray in recent years – here he is winning last year’s event, having to come from behind against Milos Raonic to claim his fifth title. The lowest point of recent times came in 2012 when David Nalbandian inadvertently injured a line judge, getting himself disqualified and handing the title to Marin Cilic. Queen’s Club has hosted tennis for 130 years, including a Davis Cup tie in 1930 and a memorable women’s tournament one year later.

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Steve Hansen hails All Blacks' scrum as the 'highlight' in win over Lions – video

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 14:15:58 GMT2017-06-24T14:15:58Z

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was hard-pressed to narrow down the list of reasons why his team beat the British and Irish Lions 30-15 in Saturday’s first test of the series, but he chose to highlight their superior scrum, as well as their overall play in forcing the Lions to make many more tackles.

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Chris Froome: winning a fourth Tour de France would be 'incredible' – video

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:50:26 GMT2017-06-23T13:50:26Z

The Tour de France favourite Chris Froome says winning another yellow jersey would be ‘incredible’ but admits 2017 could be his most challenging Tour yet with fewer mountain-top finishes and shorter time-trial stages. Froome has won the last two editions of the Tour, as well as the 2013 race. Only four cyclists have ever won the Tour de France more than three times

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Mohamed Salah: I joined Liverpool to win trophies – video

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:59:55 GMT2017-06-23T11:59:55Z

Liverpool’s latest signing, Mohamed Salah, says he joined the Anfield club to win silverware. The Reds completed the deal for the Egyptian from Roma on Thursday for a club record fee of £36.9m. That figure could rise to £43.9m with add-ons according to the Italian club. Salah impressed with 29 goals in 65 Serie A appearances whilst in Rome

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Royal Ascot – in pictures

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:42:18 GMT2017-06-23T10:42:18Z

From hats and cold showers, to jumpsuits and singing in the round, Tom Jenkins cast his eye around the first three days of a very hot summer spectacular at the Berkshire racecourse

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Lions must be 'bold and courageous' against All Blacks, says Gatland – video

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:06:21 GMT2017-06-22T09:06:21Z

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland wants his side to play with positivity and flair in the first Test against the All Blacks on Saturday. Speaking on Thursday in Auckland, Gatland says his team must be ‘courageous and bold’ if they are to challenge the world champions at Eden Park, a venue where New Zealand have not lost since July 1994  

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Warren Gatland on Lions' win: 'Some guys put their hands up' – video

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:01:32 GMT2017-06-20T14:01:32Z

An impressive 34-6 win over the Chiefs provided the British and Irish Lions with a timely confidence boost in their final match before the first Test in Auckland on Saturday. Jack Nowell scored two tries, while Jared Payne finished off a superb team effort as several players pushed their claims for a place in the squad to face the All Blacks. Coach Warren Gatland stressed that while strides have been made, the Test series will be another step up for his players

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Sarfraz Ahmed receives hero's welcome on return to Karachi – video

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 10:24:16 GMT2017-06-20T10:24:16Z

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed arrived home to a hero’s welcome in Karachi on Tuesday after Pakistan’s win over arch-rivals India in the ICC Champions Trophy final. Fans crowded into the streets and waiting through the night to catch a glimpse of him with the trophy. The captain dedicated the win to the fans, and said he hoped to bring more trophies to Pakistan

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Lions looking for 'real positivity' before New Zealand Test series – video

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:44:52 GMT2017-06-19T12:44:52Z

Andy Farrell insists the British & Irish Lions’ tour additions are blending seamlessly into the squad, as all six of them are among the replacements for the game against the Chiefs on Tuesday. Rory Best will captain the largely shadow side, with Elliot Daly and Liam Williams among those most likely to sneak into the Test squad. Flanker James Haskell hopes that a midweek win will generate some ‘real positivity’ before the three-match series with the All Blacks which gets under way on Saturday

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Brooks Koepka: 'I don't think I ever got nervous' – video

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:16:07 GMT2017-06-19T10:16:07Z

Brooks Koepka insisted that nerves played no part as he equalled the US Open’s lowest winning score of 16 under par to claim his first major in challenging conditions in Wisconsin. Three straight birdies from the 14th hole saw him fend off his closest rivals and capture the title by a two-shot margin. It was the seventh consecutive major to be won by a first-time champion

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Pakistan thrash India in Champions Trophy final – video highlights

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:22:15 GMT2017-06-18T17:22:15Z

Pakistan thrashed bitter rivals India by 180 runs in the final of the Champions Trophy on Saturday to win the title for the first time. Helped by 114 runs from Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan put up a total of 338 at the Oval. India were immediately under pressure and never settled with the bat, dismissed by a rampant Pakistan bowling attack for just 158 runs

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Zafar Ansari: ‘If money was a motivation I would have stayed longer in cricket’

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:24:20 GMT2017-06-26T12:24:20Z

Having broken into the England Test side the player’s decision to walk away from the game aged 25 caused quite a stir but he explains that, for him, there is a lot more to life than cricket

Professional sport is scarred by stories of ageing athletes clinging to faded glory, or by bleak tales of their struggles in retirement, and so Zafar Ansari stands out in shimmering contrast. Ansari played three Tests late last year, his debut in Bangladesh and two in India, picking up five wickets and grinding out a highest score of 32. It was a start in the hardest arena of cricket and so Ansari’s retirement in April, at the age of 25, seemed unusual.

Of course those who knew him felt no shock. Alec Stewart, the director of cricket at Surrey, for whom Ansari had played since the age of eight, was supportive. “It’s a brave and considered decision,” Stewart said. “He was always open and honest.”

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Roger Federer dispatches Alexander Zverev to secure ninth Halle title

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:23:36 GMT2017-06-25T13:23:36Z

• World No5 wraps up 6-1, 6-3 victory in statement of intent for Wimbledon
• Petra Kvitova wins Aegon Classic just six months after stabbing incident

Roger Federer, to the delight of his fans and despair of his rivals, installed himself as an undeniably strong candidate to win Wimbledon for the eighth time when he blitzed the 20-year-old Alexander Zverev in 53 minutes of the Halle final on Sunday.

With Andy Murray hidden away repairing a game that remains worryingly short of the pleasing consistency he needs to keep his title, the three-times champion Novak Djokovic heading for Eastbourne to do a similar job on his own, even more fragile tennis and Rafael Nadal – who has lost to players outside the top 100 on his last four visits to the All England Club – biding his time at home in Majorca, the ageless Federer has emerged to revive memories of past glories.

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Australia beat West Indies by eight wickets at Women's Cricket World Cup – live!

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:42:49 GMT2017-06-26T15:42:49Z

An emphatic start to Australia’s title defence at Taunton, hunting down the West Indies’ 204 with precision then power. Nicole Bolton’s unbeaten century, her third in ODIs, was chanceless. She started the grind then smashed the West Indies completely out of the contest. The 171-run opening stand Bolton shared with Beth Mooney (70) is an imposing reminder of why this Australian team win trophies for laughs.

The West Indies, aside from a decent shift with the new ball, were dreadful in defence of their earlier mediocre tally. The bowling was ropey; the ground fielding messy at best. But Bolton and Mooney were so efficient in the early exchanges that they were always well behind and in desperate need of wickets that never came, save for a couple of consolation scalps to skipper Stafanie Taylor when the result was assured.

With a nudge into the legside, that is that! The most clinical of victories for the defending champions. I’ll gather my thoughts and wrap up the day that was from Taunton in a tic.

Australia 205-2 (Bolton 107, Perry 5).

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F1: Ricciardo wins Azerbaijan Grand Prix after Hamilton and Vettel clash – as it happened

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 15:19:06 GMT2017-06-25T15:19:06Z

  • Daniel Ricciardo stormed through from 10th on the grid to win a dramatic and unpredictable Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas second and Lance Stroll third

Related: Hamilton challenges Vettel to sort it ‘face to face’ after Azerbaijan clashes

Here’s Giles Richards’s race report:

Related: Daniel Ricciardo wins in Baku after Hamilton and Vettel clash on track

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The key areas the Lions must focus on to recover against All Blacks | Paul Rees

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:00:04 GMT2017-06-26T11:00:04Z

Outwitted rather than overpowered, the Lions now need to increase the intensity and work on other facets of their game if they are to stage a memorable fightback in the Test series


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Paolo Maldini courts new love to join grand band of sport switchers | Jacob Steinberg

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 08:59:25 GMT2017-06-25T08:59:25Z

The legendary Milan and Italy captain will make his professional tennis debut this week after stepping away from football to pursue an unexpected ambition

It was the kind of story that made one do a double take. The Paolo Maldini? The retired footballer? The five-times European champion, former Italy captain and devilishly handsome H&M model? He’s a professional tennis player now? Are you sure? There was a temptation to assume it was nothing more than a joke that had spun out of control. It would have made sense if news had broken about Maldini becoming Milan’s manager. But tennis? At the age of 49?

After all, someone of Maldini’s standing would not have had to wait long for the offers to start rolling in if he had decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a manager. Yet he has never sounded like a man driven by a desire to enter the cut‑throat world of coaching.

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Chris Froome: This Tour de France route is biggest challenge of my career

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 08:00:24 GMT2017-06-25T08:00:24Z

The three-times Tour de France winner feels fresh and is not perturbed by his failure to win the Critérium du Dauphiné

Chris Froome is certain he is on track to contend for a fourth Tour de France victory next month despite his not managing to win the Critérium du Dauphiné, traditionally his warm-up race for La Grande Boucle. The Team Sky leader won the eight-day race in France each time before his Tour victories in 2013, 2015 and 2016 but this year could finish only fourth to the Dane Jakob Fuglsang.

“I’m not the superstitious type, to think that winning the Dauphiné is a precursor to winning the Tour,” Froome says. “It’s certainly good for the morale and the confidence to win your last race before the Tour but I don’t think it’s a prerequisite.”

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County cricket: Yorkshire v Surrey and more as day-night matches begin – live!

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:45:56 GMT2017-06-26T15:45:56Z

Fifties for Eskinazi and Malan at Chelsmford. Middlesex 115 for two. They have put on 113.

With the final ball (a flick through square-leg) of a very fine first session Roy, who has been at the crease just 31 deliveries, overtook Rory Burns, who has soaked up 83 for his 21. He’s been playing a different game to the other three.

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Daniel Ricciardo wins in Baku after Hamilton and Vettel clash on track

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:13:33 GMT2017-06-25T16:13:33Z

• Vettel, who seemed to turn into Briton’s car, finishes fourth; Hamilton fifth
• Valtteri Bottas overtakes Lance Stroll just before finish to take second

For many observers it was only a matter of time before what has been an entirely civilised competition for the Formula One world championship turned into a proper fight. Few, however, expected it to ignite with the level of drama and emotion that was on show at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.

Related: Hamilton challenges Vettel to sort it ‘face to face’ after Azerbaijan clashes

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Lions’ margin for error is spent and All Blacks will only get better | Nick Evans

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 21:00:02 GMT2017-06-25T21:00:02Z

The Lions must be smarter and more physical in the second Test but the All Blacks will be ready for whatever Warren Gatland throws at them

The biggest problem for the British & Irish Lions is that the All Blacks are only going to get better in Wellington. They will know what is coming – Warren Gatland is going to throw the kitchen sink at them because the Lions must be more physical. I know Graham Rowntree well and he will be cracking the whip this week but New Zealand were not at their best on Saturday. They made uncharacteristic mistakes and they will improve.

But it is not just that the Lions could not handle New Zealand’s physicality. The big thing was the All Blacks’ forwards’ work with the ball at the contact area. What I noticed most was the yards they made after contact. Carriers like Brodie Retallick and Kieran Read were getting tackled behind the gainline a lot but they have the ability to spin out, make that extra one or two metres and make the pass.

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Chris Froome’s Tour de France rivals? Porte, Quintana, Contador and Bardet | William Fotheringham

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:30:06 GMT2017-06-24T11:30:06Z

A three-times winner who might not be quite what he was, a route that offers something for everyone and high-quality contenders may produce a spectacular

When a three-times Tour de France winner is on the start line in anything resembling a decent state of fitness, forecasts boil down to a simple statement: one man versus the rest. Thus it was with Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong – now disgraced, once perennially dominant – and so it is with Chris Froome, who starts the Tour as the overwhelming favourite, even though he has not yet shown the incisive form of his better years.

There is always speculation that the sheer weight of opposing numbers will one day overcome the counterweight of incumbency but it tends to be wishful thinking. Each of those contenders has his own priorities and the immense importance of the Tour induces a risk-benefit analysis: the favourites weigh up what they have to lose with what they might have to gain and all too frequently it is the former that consumes them.

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Future Lions tours risk being fatally compromised by shrinking schedule

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:30:02 GMT2017-06-26T14:30:02Z

Final midweek game of 2017 New Zealand tour – against the Hurricanes – shapes up as collector’s item, with only eight matches likely in South Africa in 2021

The British & Irish Lions’ final midweek game of their 2017 tour is shaping up to be a collector’s item. As things stand there are set to be only eight matches on the 2021 itinerary in South Africa to permit extra preparation time and to assist player welfare, with no further provincial fixtures once the Test series commences.

It potentially gives the management one less pre-Test headache but the consequences of shrinking the present 10-match schedule could be unexpectedly profound. Only five warm-up games and three Tests could mean a squad member outside the first-choice lineup featuring only twice in six weeks, with scant chance to stake a claim for Test recognition. The whole mass emotional buy-in, competitive buzz and shared brotherhood that makes a Lions tour so special risks being fatally compromised.

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Talking Horses: Best Monday bets for Wolves and Windsor

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:06:28 GMT2017-06-26T13:06:28Z

Le Brivido deserves loads of credit for a memorable Ascot performance. Plus two bread and butter tips for today


In the post-Royal Ascot hubbub, I’m not hearing the name of Le Brivido mentioned as often as it should be. Perhaps it’s because he’s French-trained or that his race last week was only a Group Three or that it seems a long time ago, having been on Wednesday.

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