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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, 27 Feb 2017 13:35:31 GMT2017-02-27T13:35:31Z

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



America's soccer migrants: the US footballers crossing Mexico's border – video

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:05:24 GMT2017-02-27T09:05:24Z

Despite President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans crossing the border to the US, American soccer players such as Omar Gonzalez are heading south for new opportunities, more money and a better standard of football. The Guardian travels to Pachuca, Torreón and Guadalajara to speak to top clubs, US immigrant players and Mexico legend Jared Borgetti – who find the prospect of a border wall at odds with the reality of the two nations’ interdependent relationship

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Premier League and EFL Cup: eight talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:02:00 GMT2017-02-27T00:02:00Z

Manchester United keep the League Cup flag flying, Swansea pin hopes on Fernando Llorente, and Sam Allardyce maintains faith in foreign getaways

Zlatan Ibrahimovic shot his questioner a quizzical look when asked, immediately after the EFL Cup final, whether he sensed something special building at Manchester United. The competition is sometimes put in the context of the wider season – a kind of stepping stone to help build confidence and a winning mentality – but Ibrahimovic made clear that he felt this title was something special in its own right. The 35-year-old has won major trophies all over Europe yet sunk to his knees with joy on hearing the final whistle, while United’s celebrations and the shattered Southampton reactions defied any notion that the competition holds little significance for the players or their supporters. This final was a fine advert for the League Cup, complete with a compelling narrative and charismatic hero, and left no doubt that it remains a worthwhile prize. Lawrence Ostlere

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Kurt Busch wins first Daytona 500 title in crash-filled race

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 23:42:54 GMT2017-02-26T23:42:54Z

  • Busch passes Kyle Larson on final lap to clinch victory
  • Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Danica Patrick all crash out

Kurt Busch had a brilliant start to the season with a last-lap pass to win the crash-filled Daytona 500 as multiple accidents pared down the field and had a mismatched group of drivers racing for the win at the end.

“The more that becomes unpredictable about Daytona, the more it becomes predictable to predict unpredictability,” Busch said. “This car’s completely thrashed. There’s not a straight panel on it. The strategy today, who knew what to pit when, what segments were what. Everybody’s wrecking as soon as we’re done with the second segment.

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The sport of skeleton celebrates helmet art: bears, eagles and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – in pictures

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:22:45 GMT2017-02-27T11:22:45Z

In the midst of the winter sports season, competitions are taking place across Europe, such as the IBSF World Cup at Innsbruck, Austria and the IBSF Bob & Skeleton World Championships at Lake Königssee, Germany. With skeleton riders reaching speeds of over 80mph (130 kph) and experiencing forces of up to 5g on their runs, it’s not only bravery, skill and derring-do that’s on display, there’s also some rather fetching artwork on the competitors’ crash helmets

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic says ‘I am a lion’ after Manchester United Wembley heroics

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:00:02 GMT2017-02-27T12:00:02Z

• Swedish striker feels like an animal after taking season goal tally to 26
• 35-year-old yet to commit to staying at Old Trafford for next season

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has likened himself to a lion after his match-winning performance for Manchester United in the EFL Cup final against Southampton.

The Swede scored twice in the 3-2 victory, with his decisive 87th-minute header the 26th goal of his debut campaign in England. The striker’s age had caused some to question how effective he would be but the 35-year-old said: “I’m an animal. I feel like a lion. I don’t want to be a lion, I am a lion.”

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Alberto Salazar and Mo Farah still have many questions to answer | Sean Ingle

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 22:41:16 GMT2017-02-26T22:41:16Z

Allegations about the American coach are not going away, which means both he and Farah must engage more fully with those who are challenging them

The last time I spoke to Alberto Salazar, in a hotel lobby in Beijing, he offered some simple financial advice. “You should put your money on me being cleared,” he said, smiling. “It’s a winning bet.” That was in August 2015, in the midst of a blizzard of allegations and an investigation by the US Anti‑Doping Agency against him. Yet 18 months later he remains in limbo, neither damned or saved, still awaiting his fate. And there, right beside him, stands Sir Mo Farah and British Athletics.

Who would have predicted this in June 2015, when the allegations against Salazar first surfaced on the BBC’s Panorama? Depending on one’s point of view, this shows either commendable faith or staggering misjudgment on the part of Farah and British Athletics. The accusations are not insubstantial. Salazar has faced a rap sheet of potential violations – including giving Galen Rupp testosterone when he was 16 – and now it has been suggested that he ignored the warnings from a UK Athletics doctor not to prescribe Farah vitamin D or calcitonin in high doses in 2011 because of a medical condition.

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My-King Johnson is first openly gay scholarship player in major college football

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 14:23:59 GMT2017-02-26T14:23:59Z

  • Arizona defensive end was also sought by UCLA
  • ‘It can put a target on my back. But whatever’

University of Arizona recruit My-King Johnson is set to become the first active openly gay scholarship player in major-college football history.

“I do feel like when I say that [I’m gay], it can put a target on my back. But whatever,” Johnson told The Arizona Daily Star on Saturday.

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Lionel Messi seals win for Barcelona with late goal against Atlético Madrid

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:27:37 GMT2017-02-26T17:27:37Z

There were four minutes left when Lionel Messi scored the goal that allowed Barcelona to depart the Vicente Calderón top of La Liga and believing they could actually win it. This was not a good game, but it was a very good result for Luis Enrique’s side on their last visit to this stadium, due to be bulldozed in the summer.

Although the occasion revealed the flaws in their football, and while Real Madrid were at that stage yet to kick off against Villarreal and still have a game in hand to play against Celta de Vigo, by the end of it Barcelona were top, for a few hours at least. How they got there is another question. The answer, as so often, was Messi.

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Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan agree to 'super fight' in April

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 10:32:41 GMT2017-02-26T10:32:41Z

  • Pair say terms have been agreed for fight at as-yet undisclosed venue
  • Australian Jeff Horn’s hopes of meeting with Pacquiao appear over

Multiple world champion Manny Pacquiao has agreed to fight Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan on 23 April, with both boxers on Sunday confirming their intentions to appear in a “super fight”.

The 38-year-old Pacquiao had said four days ago that he and Khan’s management were in discussions for the fight, despite an earlier announcement the Filipino’s next bout would be against Jeff Horn.

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Harry Kane hat-trick sets the tone as Tottenham Hotspur rout Stoke

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 15:29:29 GMT2017-02-26T15:29:29Z

Lads, it’s Stoke City. After the embarrassing exit from the Europa League on Thursday, Tottenham Hotspur eased back into Premier League action by thrashing their most submissive opponents. Mauricio Pochettino’s team had beaten Stoke 4-0 in their two previous meetings and it took only one half for them to reach that score here, as Harry Kane struck three goals before inviting Dele Alli to hit another. If Wembley spooks Spurs, the sight of Stoke City jerseys cheers them right up.

Spurs, in fairness, have clobbered most opponents at White Hart Lane this season, their tally for the Premier League campaign now standing at 11 wins and two draws from 13 matches. But few visitors have been as obliging as Stoke, who, seemingly unrefreshed by a break in Dubai began as if expecting another trouncing. That was a self-fulfilling attitude that made them ideal opponents for a Spurs team eager to reassert their top-team credentials after flopping out of Europe at Wembley.

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Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield charged with public drunkenness and resisting arrest

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:46:15 GMT2017-02-25T22:46:15Z

  • Sooners star was ‘yelling profanities and causing a scene,’ police said
  • Oklahoma spokesman says university is aware of the incident

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has been arrested and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Related: US border agents ask Muhammad Ali's son: 'Are you a Muslim?'

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Fàbregas and Pedro see off stubborn Swansea as Chelsea stay way out in front

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 17:06:25 GMT2017-02-25T17:06:25Z

Antonio Conte has grown used of late to knocking back suggestions the Premier League title is already all but Chelsea’s, though he will do well to maintain that facade of incredulity for much longer.

His side’s advantage gapes at 11 points after this victory, a win chiselled out against a much improved Swansea City. If the leaders crane their necks, squinting back over their shoulders, they might just make out the chasing pack massing on the horizon, but their threat is distant.

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Robert Lewandowski hits hat-trick as Bayern Munich hammer Hamburg 8-0

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 17:27:27 GMT2017-02-25T17:27:27Z

Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich obliterated Hamburg SV 8-0 on Saturday to stay five points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and equal their opponents’ heaviest ever league defeat.

Lewandowski, who has now scored 19 league goals this season, struck twice in the first half and slotted home a third in the 54th minute, after Arturo Vidal had put the hosts ahead.

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Simone Biles: ‘My guiltiest pleasure? A pizza and ice-cream party’

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 09:30:01 GMT2017-02-25T09:30:01Z

The gymnast on the bee that surprised her, why she hates talking about her weight but quite likes the idea of being a witch

Born in Ohio, Simone Biles, 19, started training at the age of six. She spent her early childhood in and out of foster care, due to her mother’s substance abuse, and was adopted by her grandfather and step-grandmother. She has won 10 World Championship gold medals, the most ever amassed by a female gymnast. Last year she won four Olympic golds in Rio, was BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year and wrote an autobiography, Courage To Soar. She lives in Texas.

When were you happiest?
The Olympics: all my dreams came true in one place.

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Aviva Premiership moves US game to September, start of NFL season

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 09:00:00 GMT2017-02-25T09:00:00Z

  • ‘Multi-year deal’ to follow Irish-Sarries in Jersey will avoid Test windows
  • Saracens CEO: NFL is ‘having a hard time of it’, creating ‘vacuum’ for rugby

The Aviva Premiership will stage a game in the US in September, bringing its American adventure into contact with the mighty NFL.

Related: Ireland to play USA in New Jersey as Pro12 eyes North America expansion

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Radja Nainggolan finds balance among Serie A’s most influential players | Paolo Bandini

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:01:43 GMT2017-02-27T13:01:43Z

Two astonishing goals in Roma’s 3-1 win at Inter showcased the Belgian’s talents and helped keep the Giallorossi snapping at Juve’s heels

Radja Nainggolan makes no secret of his vices. He likes to smoke, to stay out late and to dance. When Rolling Stone magazine asked him whether he considered himself a “discotheque footballer” in late 2015, he replied with an unapologetic “yes”, before adding: “I have no desire to stay home every evening like other players who just go ‘house, football pitch, house, football pitch’.”

That mindset has not always endeared him to coaches. Marc Wilmots, after leaving Nainggolan out of Belgium’s 2014 World Cup squad, eventually came to recognise the player’s talent and subsequently made sure that the player’s hotel rooms always had a balcony to smoke on. But he still let his feelings be known when he lamented that: “It will be [Nainggolan’s] problem if he only plays to 30 years old instead of 35.”

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Hamburg haunted again at Bayern Munich's house of horrors | Andy Brassell

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:46:18 GMT2017-02-27T12:46:18Z

HSV’s malaise has run deep this season, and it will need a real shift in terms of collective responsibility to avoid a season’s end as ruinous as its start

“This is something that can’t be allowed to happen, but it has happened.” Just when life starts to look good again, along come Bayern Munich. Or more specifically in Hamburg’s case, a trip to Munich to face them in the Allianz Arena. Among a squad of shell-shocked players, few seemed quite as humbled as the captain, Gotoku Sakai, after Saturday’s 8-0 drubbing by Bayern.

In terms of even recent historical perspective, it was hardly a coupon-buster. Starting from 2010, Hamburg’s reverses on their visits to Bayern have been by the scores of 6-0, 5-0, 9-2, 3-1, 8-0, 5-0. When they lost 8-0 here the last time, in early 2015, it was the biggest defeat Der Dino had suffered during an ever-present stay in the Bundesliga. This Saturday, it barely seemed worth an arch of Carlo Ancelotti’s famously active left eyebrow.

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Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson out of Leicester match and may miss Arsenal clash

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:00:02 GMT2017-02-27T12:00:02Z

• Liverpool captain suffered severely bruised foot in training
• Emre Can and Lucas Leiva in contention to replace Henderson

Jordan Henderson will miss Liverpool’s trip to Leicester City on Monday night and possibly Arsenal’s visit to Anfield on Saturday with a foot injury.

The Liverpool captain sustained the injury during training on Friday and has not travelled with Jürgen Klopp’s squad to Leicester for the first Premier League game at King Power Stadium since Claudio Ranieri was sacked.

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Arsenal’s academy manager Andries Jonker named Wolfsburg coach

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:52:34 GMT2017-02-27T11:52:34Z

• Dutchman replaced Liam Brady at Arsenal in 2014
• Valérien Ismaël was sacked over the weekend

Wolfsburg have confirmed that Arsenal’s academy manager, Andries Jonker, will take over as their new coach.

Jonker, who replaced Liam Brady at Arsenal in 2014, previously served as an assistant at the Bundesliga club having also worked under Louis van Gaal with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Holland. The 54-year-old Dutchman has signed a contract until the end of next season will replace former Crystal Palace defender Valérien Ismaël, who was sacked following the 2-1 home defeat to Werder Bremen that left Wolfsburg only two points outside the relegation zone.

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Leicester covet reluctant Guus Hiddink to replace Claudio Ranieri

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 19:22:41 GMT2017-02-26T19:22:41Z

• Return of former manager Nigel Pearson thought to be unlikely
• Caretaker Craig Shakespeare could get job on permanent basis

Leicester City are hopeful of persuading Guus Hiddink to take over from Claudio Ranieri until the end of the season, although the Dutchman is understood to be reluctant to take on the role at such short notice, meaning the Premier League champions could turn to caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare on a permanent basis.

Representatives of Hiddink, who has been out of work since leaving his second spell as Chelsea’s interim manager last May, are believed to have been approached over the weekend by Leicester officials to gauge whether the 70-year-old would be interested in succeeding Ranieri after the Italian was sacked last week. However, having indicated several times during his second spell at Stamford Bridge that he was intent on retiring after nearly three decades in management, it remains to be seen whether he can be persuaded to change his mind.

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Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp: directors, not players, are undermining managers

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 22:30:42 GMT2017-02-26T22:30:42Z

• German wary of communication between boardroom and dressing room
• Liverpool visit King Power Stadium as Leicester begin post-Ranieri era

Jürgen Klopp has denied player power is on the rise and claimed the biggest threat to managers such as Claudio Ranieri are directors with a direct line of communication to the dressing room.

Ranieri was sacked as Leicester City manager on Thursday amid reports of a dressing‑room revolt among players he turned into Premier League champions nine months previously.

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David Moyes: Sunderland must win five of final 12 league games to stay up

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 22:30:42 GMT2017-02-26T22:30:42Z

• ‘I don’t think it’s too late. We’ve got a tough run,’ admits manager
• Everton’s Romelu Lukaku has sights on Premier League Golden Boot

David Moyes believes Sunderland must win five of their remaining 12 Premier League matches to avoid relegation and that another feat of escapology is not beyond the division’s basement club.

Sunderland remain rooted to the bottom of the table following their 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday and three points from safety after Patrick van Aanholt, their former player, gave Crystal Palace a crucial victory against Middlesbrough.

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Crystal Palace coach vandalised by mistake before Middlesbrough game

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:16:51 GMT2017-02-27T11:16:51Z

• Palace had to arrange for replacement coach to take them to match
• Vandals understood to have caused £40,000 of graffiti damage

Crystal Palace were forced to arrange for a replacement coach to take them to Saturday’s Premier League victory over Middlesbrough after the original vehicle was vandalised outside the team hotel.

The coach was daubed with ‘Crystal Palace FC’ in red, white and blue paint across the sides and rear of the vehicle. The incident occurred hours before Palace secured a vital 1-0 win that lifted them out of the relegation zone.

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Former league star Mark Geyer says he wouldn't sue NRL over concussion

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 04:02:01 GMT2017-02-27T04:02:01Z

  • ‘I don’t want any compensation from the game,’ says 15-year NRL star
  • Comments come in the wake of James McManus legal action

Former rugby league hard man Mark Geyer says he would never consider suing the NRL or any of his former clubs over the number of concussions he suffered in his career.

Geyer was so concerned over the state of his brain following his 15-year career as a forward, that he had tests carried out on his head in 2015 after a number of former players revealed they had brain damage. Geyer just passed the tests, but remains worried he could have future complications.

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'I'd do it again': Kate Sheahan's AFLW debut might be her swansong

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 01:43:49 GMT2017-02-27T01:43:49Z

  • ‘We did it’: footballer tweets photo with proud father Mike Sheahan
  • Scans will confirm whether injury is career-ending for Pies player

Injury has likely ended her AFLW career after only one minute, but Kate Sheahan says she would do it all again to fulfil her dream of playing professionally. Sheahan, 35, was barely into her debut for Collingwood on Saturday when her left leg buckled under her as she attempted a quick change of direction.

“I felt like someone had grabbed a cricket bat and smashed the side of my leg,” Sheahan told SEN Breakfast on Monday. “It just snapped. It felt like I’d broken my leg.

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Conor Murray promises ‘a lot more to come’ from Ireland in Wales clash

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 23:20:00 GMT2017-02-26T23:20:00Z

• Ireland’s try scorer against France: ‘It will be a massive game in Cardiff’
• France coach, Guy Novès, says his team stagnated in 19-9 defeat in Dublin

This was a fitting scoreline given the many questions the Ireland head coach, Joe Schmidt, was asked on Saturday night about Ireland’s final match of the championship against England. The last time the men in white were in Dublin two years ago, they lost 19-9 on another occasion when the hosts weathered the conditions more adroitly than their opponents.

The prospect of a grand slam showdown may have died on the opening weekend of the Six Nations when Ireland lost in Scotland, but the title will be there to be won if Schmidt’s team beat Wales in the next round on a Friday night in Cardiff even if England go on to record a bonus-point victory against Scotland; another 10-point success may be enough to secure a third title in four years.

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England suggest Italy’s no-ruck innovation could kill rugby union

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 22:36:00 GMT2017-02-26T22:36:00Z

• George Ford urges authorities to review laws before Scotland match
• Coach Eddie Jones says game ‘became a joke’ due to Italy’s tactics

George Ford has called on World Rugby to change its laws before England face Scotland after their 36-15 bonus-point victory against Italy, which was described as “a joke” by Eddie Jones. The head coach also claimed supporters should get their money back because of Italy’s controversial tactics, which he compared to Trevor Chappell’s famous underarm bowling for Australia and Ford claimed could quickly “kill the game”.

The England fly-half said: “I hope it will get addressed before the Scotland game [on 11 March] because, if teams do that, it is going to kill the game quickly. There’s no rugby going to be played.”

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Jason Behrendorff embarrasses Victoria with 14-wicket haul

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 22:30:47 GMT2017-02-26T22:30:47Z

  • Western Australian paceman ends up with 14-89 in fast bowling clinic
  • Behrendorff took 9-37 to embarrass Victoria in first innings collapse

Returning Western Australian paceman Jason Behrendorff has produced a sublime bowling performance to guide Western Australia to an innings defeat of Victoria in the Sheffield Shield, and the fast bowler threatened to send records tumbling at the Waca ground on Sunday.

Behrendorff’s match figures of 14-89 are the second best in Western Australia’s Sheffield Shield history, sitting behind only Terry Alderman’s 14-87 against New South Wales in 1981, and the ninth best analysis for a player from any state.

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Mo Farah denies breaking anti-doping rules after new claims against Salazar

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 22:20:16 GMT2017-02-26T22:20:16Z

• Report accused Farah’s coach of giving runners drugs when no medical need
• ‘I am a clean athlete who has never broken the rules’

Britain’s double Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah has again denied that he broke anti-doping rules amid fresh allegations against his coach, Alberto Salazar, that also prompted questions over whether the athlete’s health was put in danger by taking prescription drugs when there was no medical need.

Related: Mo Farah’s training camp at centre of documentary alleging banned drug use

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Transgender teenage wrestler wins Texas girl’s state championship – video

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:21:30 GMT2017-02-26T17:21:30Z

17-year-old Mack Beggs, a teenager who is transitioning from female to male, won the 110lb weight class at the Texas girl’s state wrestling championships on Saturday. Beggs, who reportedly wants to be included in the boy’s division of the sport, is required to instead compete in the girl’s competition due to state rules which say athletes must be classed according to their birth gender

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Transgender teenage wrestler Mack Beggs wins Texas girls title

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 07:53:27 GMT2017-02-26T07:53:27Z

The 17-year-old and his opponents want him to compete against boys but state regulations mean he is classed by birth gender

High school wrestler Mack Beggs, a teenager who is transitioning from female to male, won his 110lb weight class in the Texas girl’s state championship on Saturday, according to media reports.

Beggs, 17, and many of his opponents want him to wrestle against boys, but the transgender boy wrestled in the Texas championship for girls because of state sport regulations, which require athletes to compete according to birth gender.

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Russell Westbrook's 28th triple-double of the season helps Thunder top Lakers

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:50:58 GMT2017-02-25T13:50:58Z

  • Westbrook scores 17 points in 65th triple-double of his career
  • Lakers stay at 19-40 following 110-93 defeat in Oklahoma City

Russell Westbrook connected with his new teammates immediately.

Related: Top US golfers say they'd jump at the chance to play with Trump

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'Heartbroken' Ben Simmons to miss rest of NBA season with injury

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:19:27 GMT2017-02-24T20:19:27Z

  • 76ers’ No1 draft pick hasn’t recovered from surgery on his right foot
  • GM Colangelo says: ‘He wants to play. It’s eating him alive, I’m sure’

Ben Simmons has been ruled out for the rest of the season with injury – and 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo said the No1 draft pick was “heartbroken” at the news.

Related: The Philadelphia 76ers' bold bet on failure is paying off ahead of schedule

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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 ... Dario Dubois, Argentina’s face-painted footballer | Simon Burnton

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:59:46 GMT2017-01-24T11:59:46Z

When he was on the pitch he wore garish face paint, when he was off it he played in rock bands and caused controversy, but Dubois was a popular figure in Buenos Aires football in the 1990s before meeting an untimely death

“It gives you energy,” Dario Dubois once said of his unusual pre-match ritual. “You paint your face, you go to war and you kill your rivals.”

For a while Dubois, a centre-back who did the rounds of Argentina’s lower leagues for a decade or so, went the full Kiss pre-match, covering his face and neck with black and white make-up before taking to the field. On one occasion he had to knock on the referee’s door before kick-off and ask if it would be OK to use his mirror to apply the paint, as the away team’s dressing room didn’t have one. He found the war paint had the triple benefit of making him more fearless, making opponents more fearful, and earning himself more recognition. “I’m just a clown with a painted face – but one who is ready to die for his shirt,” he said.

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The Fiver | Tremendous stick for shooting Bambi’s mum

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:54:11 GMT2017-02-24T15:54:11Z

In today’s Fiver: Claudio Ranieri, a Mexican stand-off and the Dele fail

Winning is for losers. That’s why The Fiver follows the Mr Roy survival plan for getting along in today’s dog-eat-dog world. Keep expectations at a minimum, avoid pressure at all costs, embrace mediocrity. Let it wash over you. Easy does it. No one will expect anything from you if you don’t give them a reason to. You wouldn’t catch Mr Roy doing anything as silly as actually winning the Premier League with Leicester, would you? In fact, he wouldn’t dream of doing it anywhere. You only need to look at history to see how dangerous it is to win a trophy. Like Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini and José Mourinho before him, Claudio Ranieri is merely the latest manager to win the Premier League and receive his P45 less than a year later. Even Manchester United spied a chance to get rid of Lord Ferg when they found out David Moyes was available in 2013 (it’ll all come out one day).

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The Joy of Six: goals going in off the woodwork

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:59:43 GMT2017-02-23T09:59:43Z

From Ronaldinho’s exocet against Sevilla to Darren Anderton’s both-posts rattler, via Zinedine Zidane versus Gianluigi Buffon

The beauty of a goal that crashes in off the crossbar is that anyone can score one, but there are some players you would expect to do it more than others. Demba Ba’s nominative determinism aside, the outer reaches of the goal frame appeal to the game’s more expansive talents, seeking to paint every inch of their chosen canvas.

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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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Ricardo La Volpe, baseball's worst pitches and MMA showboating gone wrong | Classic YouTube

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:00:00 GMT2017-02-23T10:00:00Z

This week’s roundup also features footballers downing tools, a gnarly garden, and a Hot Wheels psychedelic nightmare

1) It’s tough being a gaffer – stuck on the touchline, unable to let loose on opponents. Full marks, then, to the Club América coach Ricardo La Volpe, who makes his own rules and does his own tackling – dispossessing the Chivas right-back Jesús Sánchez in Mexico’s Clásico Nacional. He joins a big list of managers who can’t help but get involved, including: Alan Pardew, of course (with bonus coverage on Sky from Paul Merson: “Something’s gone on here, Jeff, something’s gone on”); the Ayachucho manager Rolando Chilavert beating Garcilaso’s Iván Santillán to a long ball; Fiorentina’s Delio Rossi weighing up then reacting to his own player Adem Ljajic sarcastically applauding his substitution; Nigel Pearson giving James McArthur a quick strangle; Paolo Di Canio calming down then taking on Leon Clarke; and, at the top end of the scale, the Turkish club Ankaragucu’s manager Umit Ozat dealing with a pitch invader. He was fined and banned.

2) And here’s another Pardew tribute, from an unlikely source: the British MMA fighter Joe Harding taking time out to taunt his opponent John Segas with a Pardew-at-Wembley dance. It doesn’t end well.

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Pies, Rooney, and a crazy week in the Champions League – Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:05:01 GMT2017-02-23T16:05:01Z

The podders reflect on Leicester and Man City’s European exploits. Plus, the inglorious pie-gate affair; and previews of all the Premier League weekend action and the EFL Cup final between Man Utd and Southampton

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher. And join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

On today’s Football Weekly Extra: goals, pies and videotape. Sort of.

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Mourinho praises Southampton for 'beautiful final' – video

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:44:22 GMT2017-02-27T09:44:22Z

José Mourinho praises Southampton for a ‘Beautiful’ EFL Cup final on Sunday, after Manchester United clinched a 3-2 win in the 87th minute. Mourinho says that winning a major trophy with Manchester United was his ‘big target’, but that the team wants to achieve more

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Harry Kane can become a Tottenham 'legend', says Pochettino – video

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 21:09:32 GMT2017-02-26T21:09:32Z

The Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino, says Harry Kane could become a club legend, following his hat-trick in Spurs’ 4-0 win over Stoke City on Sunday. Pochettino says Spurs are still pursuing Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, and will ‘be there’ should Chelsea drop any points

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Antonio Conte says Chelsea deserve to be top of the table – video

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:51:59 GMT2017-02-25T20:51:59Z

Conte says Chelsea deserve to be at the top of the table due to their efforts both on and off the pitch, and also points to his players’ experience in winning trophies, following the 3-1 win over Swansea.

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Six Nations: Eddie Jones makes changes as England take on Italy – video preview

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:41:11 GMT2017-02-25T20:41:11Z

Eddie Jones makes four changes to England’s starting line-up, including Danny Care at scrum-half and Ben Te’o at outside centre. Italy have never beaten England in a full international and have lost their first two matches in this Six Nations

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This Girl Can: campaign launches new ad – video

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 14:42:03 GMT2017-02-25T14:42:03Z

Sport England release a new ad for the This Girl Can campaign, which encourages women to challenge cultural assumptions about femininity that prevent them engaging in sport and exercise. The ad uses extracts from Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Women poem alongside real women taking part in sport

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Adrian Solano wobbles into action at Nordic world ski championships – video

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:18:32 GMT2017-02-25T13:18:32Z

Venezuelan skier Adrien Solano participates at the Nordic world ski championships in Finland, having never trained on snow. Solano wobbles through the starting line of the FIS cross-country course, falling several times along the way before smiling as he crosses the finish line

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Six Nations: Wales' George North to return against Scotland – video preview

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:11:36 GMT2017-02-24T18:11:36Z

Scotland face Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday, with both sides looking to bounce back from narrow defeats in round two. Injuries mean that Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw and centre Josh Strauss will miss the game, but Wales welcome winger George North back from injury

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Six Nations: Ireland and France packs prepare to face off – video preview

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:08:08 GMT2017-02-24T18:08:08Z

Ireland face France in Dublin on Saturday, and will be seeking to build on the first try-bonus point win of the Six Nations, against Italy in round two. Ireland captain Rory Best returns from injury, as does No10 Jonathan Sexton who gets his first start of the tournament

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Six Nations: talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:02:04 GMT2017-02-27T10:02:04Z

Italy proved a point beyond their spoiling tactics, Finn Russell leads the list of potential Scottish Lions and will Ireland pay for lack of pace out wide?

There can be only one talking point about Conor O’Shea’s side and whether their refusal to engage at the ruck was a masterstroke or a blight on the game requires a far lengthier discussion than this. What can be said without question, though, is that it turned what was expected to be a cakewalk for England into a unique spectacle. O’Shea’s side were eventually outclassed but, if his objective was to make those critics who have been calling for Italy’s relegation to think twice, then his mission has been accomplished. GM

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Olympic bidders face harsh reality of costs heavily outweighing benefits | Sean Ingle

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:00:05 GMT2017-02-27T09:00:05Z

The IOC may find fewer cities eager to host the Games with experts agreeing that staging the event is economically damaging despite a larger revenue cake

These days even the Olympics is going on the 5:2 diet. Less than 18 months ago, the politicians and panjandrams of Hamburg, Rome, Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles all craved the right to host the 2024 Games. Now, following Budapest’s withdrawal last week, only Paris and Los Angeles remain. But it is merely reflective of a bidding process that is getting worryingly slimmer.

Twelve cities fought over the 2004 Olympics. Yet only two were in the running for the 2022 Winter Olympics. And now here we are again. Even LA, one of the last pair standing for 2024, was a replacement for Boston after a concerted public campaign forced a rethink at the US Olympic Committee.

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England were foxed and frustrated by Italy's creative use of a legal loophole | Andy Bull

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 20:16:38 GMT2017-02-26T20:16:38Z

The Six Nations champions were confounded by a legitimate plan to avoid rucks by not committing to the breakdown after tackles

Back when Eddie Jones was coaching in Japan he complained that his players spent too much time learning to play the game by rote, running through the same old drills without trying anything new. Always ready with a quote, he said that “everyone drives 10,000 hours but few of us become better drivers”.

A good rugby player, Jones explained, has to be able think on his feet. “A lack of creativity,” he said, “means we have fewer players with the decision-making skills needed to win games of rugby.” Well, against England Italy showed plenty of creativity and Jones’s players were presented with a problem quite unlike any other they had encountered on a rugby pitch. They solved it in the end but it was pretty painful watching them work it out. Italy turned this Test into an 80-minute debate on the intricacies of the offside law.

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David Haye knows how to sell but must be reminded you do not play boxing | Kevin Mitchell

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:02:30 GMT2017-02-27T12:02:30Z

The heavyweight will quietly hope that pushing the promotion of bout against Tony Bellew beyond acceptable limits does not backfire on him and the sport

David Haye would seem to be too much of an animal for some people – but not so abominable as to stop hundreds of thousands of them paying to watch him try to “cave in the skull” of Tony Bellew at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.

In recent days, he has also said: “I’m looking at putting a combination together that really hurts him, a Tommy Morrison-Ray Mercer finish where his brain hasn’t even told his legs to fall down and I’m still hitting him as he’s upright. I’m looking at doing a real number on him, before the referee can even stop the fight, landing three or four vicious haymakers on him.”

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Amir Khan rebuffs Eddie Hearn after announcing fight with Manny Pacquiao | Kevin Mitchell

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:20:40 GMT2017-02-26T17:20:40Z

Bolton boxer lands farewell blow on promoter after agreeing terms with Filipino fighter and former sparring partner for 23 April showdown

In what looks a coordinated social media announcement designed to bypass respective advisers Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao are telling the boxing world they are happy to fight each other on 23 April, five years after their last sparring sessions in the Los Angeles Wild Card gym of Freddie Roach.

It is not “a done deal”, as some are claiming, because they have yet to bring together Pacquiao’s contract lawyer, Michael Koncz, and his promoter, Bob Arum, which lately has been like docking the royal yacht in Camden Lock.

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'World's worst skier': how it went downhill for Adrian Solano, Venezuela's Eddie the Eagle

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 03:04:57 GMT2017-02-25T03:04:57Z

The novice had only trained on wheels before arriving in Finland to compete in the Nordic world ski championships

First there was Eddie the Eagle, then Cool Runnings. Now there’s Adrian Solano, a Venezuelan skier whose only training for tackling the Nordic world ski championships in Finland was using wheels beneath the bright sun.

Related: Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards: ‘My parents didn't quite understand what had happened with the Olympics’

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England 36-15 Italy: Six Nations – as it happened

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:05:03 GMT2017-02-26T17:05:03Z

An off-colour England were tested by Italy who executed an unusual gameplan to lead at half-time, before Jack Nowell scored two late tries as the hosts eventually claimed a bonus-point victory

Related: Jack Nowell propels England past spirited Italy after first-half scare

England are back at the top of the Six Nations table, with 13 points after claiming five today. Today was a struggle for long periods, but their finishers got the job done. It’s now 17 games unbeaten, but Scotland and Ireland will put that run under severe scrutiny based on today’s evidence.

Credit is due to Italy, who came with an unconventional game plan and deservedly led at half-time. They were overpowered in the end but answered their many critics with an attention-grabbing, competitive display. Thanks for joining me, and enjoy the rest of your Sundays.

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England 36-15 Italy: five talking points

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 19:02:23 GMT2017-02-26T19:02:23Z

The first half at Twickenham was unconventional in the extreme and Eddie Jones may wonder when his starters are going to outperform his lauded finishers

It had the fingerprints of Brendan Venter, the Italy defence coach who was brought to Saracens by Eddie Jones in 2009, all over it – and it worked a treat. Italy’s tactic of refusing to engage in rucks after tackling their opponent meant there was no offside line when the ball came back and it baffled Jones’s team. Time and again the England players could be heard remonstrating with the referee, Romain Poite, but as he correctly and continually pointed out, that is the law. Danny Care was among the most frustrated of England’s players while James Haskell, when trying to seek clarification, was told by Poite: “I’m sorry; I’m a referee, not a coach.” England’s second-half response was pretty emphatic but the fact they needed the coaches to tell them how to solve the problem is a concern, nearly as much as the fact they did not appear to know the law in the first place.

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Roger Federer rejuvenated and ready to write his latest script in Dubai

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 19:16:25 GMT2017-02-26T19:16:25Z

• Federer: ‘I wanted to be in good shape so I came early this year’
• Swiss eight-times champion but could face Andy Murray in semi-final

Not even the ageless Roger Federer was on the Tour when the Dubai championships began 25 years ago but the Swiss, newly decorated as a major champion after shaking up the tennis world in Melbourne, is happy to go into this week’s tournament as the hunted again.

“I’ve had some great years here in Dubai,” Federer, an eight-times champion, said after a light beach-tennis workout with Andy Murray, whom he is scheduled to meet in the semi-finals if the results fall as they should. “I wanted to be in good shape and ready for the conditions, so I came early this year.”

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Jack Nowell propels England past spirited Italy after first-half scare

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:12:20 GMT2017-02-26T17:12:20Z

• Six Nations: England 36-15 Italy
• Italy led 10-5 at break but the wing scored two tries in the second half

At least one argument was settled on a windy, fretful afternoon in south-west London. From now on anyone who suggests Italy do not deserve to compete in the Six Nations championship can be shown a recording of this game and invited to reconsider their casual negativity. England did win in the end but, psychologically, this was Italy’s day.

All the pre-match guff about easy pickings was blown to the stadium’s draughty four corners as the Azzurri, having led 10-5 at half-time, momentarily threatened to pull off the rugby equivalent of a rope-a-dope success via the left-field gambit of not competing at the rucks. As well as throwing their hosts completely off guard it posed serious questions about England’s ability to think on their feet, only partly assuaged by a late flurry of scoring that gave Eddie Jones’s side a belated bonus point.

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'I don't think it can recover': what's behind Nascar's nosedive?

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:00:08 GMT2016-09-16T09:00:08Z

Almost 157,000 people flocked to Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend – but it was to watch college football, not cars. Can Nascar rediscover its glory days?

For the first time this year, the big bowl of silver grandstands at the race track that hugs the Tennessee-Virginia state line was packed. Last weekend, nearly 157,000 people flocked to Bristol Motor Speedway, just like the old days – a spectacle, for sure. The big difference was that they were not there to watch a stock-car race, but a college football game.

Tennessee raced past Virginia Tech on a field that had been built in the infield of the oval race track. Bristol is so enormous that some fans said that the players were hard to spot, but the complaints were few. They’d been part of a night in which the two teams set an NCAA attendance record for a college football game, and they sounded like they had fun.

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'Who will do the work?' Trump's migrant crackdown risks horse racing's future

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:00:01 GMT2017-02-23T11:00:01Z

The unglamorous hours in the stables means racing has long relied upon undocumented workers – but recent federal raids raise pressing questions

When it comes to its workforce, American horse racing could be galloping towards a crisis.

Related: US immigrant communities scramble to make sense of raids: 'People are terrified'

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Talking Horses: the Fast Track to Monday's racing tips

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:03:25 GMT2017-02-27T10:03:25Z

An unexposed all-weather David Barron runner at Wolverhampton stands out among Monday’s racing action

The jumpers on show at Ayr and Plumpton 15 days before Cheltenham are never likely to be potential stars of the future and there are not many runners on the card at either track that demand to be backed. The all-weather card at Wolverhampton does have one very interesting race, however, a six-furlong handicap with £12,000 for the winner.

A strong and very competitive field of 12 runners is due to go to post, and a fair case can be made for at least nine of these on the pick of their form. The one who makes most appeal at the odds, however, is Fast Track (3.55), who returns to the track and trip where he got off the mark on the all-weather two runs ago.

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Rio's Olympic venues, six months on – in pictures

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:08:46 GMT2017-02-10T11:08:46Z

Six months after hosting South America’s first-ever Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Rio de Janeiro venues – some of which have been looted – sit mainly idle and already in disrepair, raising questions about a legacy that organisers promised would benefit the Brazilian city and its residents

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