Aaron Ramsey targets Euro 2020 success after ‘special’ qualification

• Ramsey missed Wales’s Euro 2016 semi-final due to suspension • We learned from missing out on World Cup, says midfielder Aaron Ramsey has said Wales will relish another appearance at a major tournament after qualifying for Euro 2020 and he believes they are capable of again going deep into the competition after reaching the last four in France three years ago. Ramsey missed Wales’s semi-final defeat to Portugal at Euro 2016 owing to suspension and the Juventus midfielder admits he feels as if he has unfin[..]

Eric Cantona: ‘Big democracies are, in a way, dictatorships’

Former Manchester United striker on ‘economic terrorism’, a suitcase that shed light on his family and trying to understand himself For a man who spoke of seagulls and trawlers after he karate-kicked a fan in April 1995 and quoted King Lear when he collected Uefa’s president’s award almost 25 years later, reciting “as flies to wanton boys, we are for the gods”, there is something in the simplicity of what Eric Cantona says now. He pictures himself standing with his mother and aunt, looking into his grandfat[..]

Australia and New Zealand discuss dual bid for Women's World Cup in 2023

Expanded format leads to increased demand for venues A dual bid ‘makes sense’ says FFA chair Chris Nikou Australia’s bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup is shaping to be a joint bid with New Zealand. The success of this year’s tournament in France resulted in Fifa expanding the 2023 edition from 24 teams to 32 and on Tuesday FFA chairman Chris Nikou said that due to the increased demand for venues a dual bid is being discussed, with a resolution expected in coming days. Continue reading...

The Fiver | The 10th anniversary of that famous night in Paris

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now! Hell hath no fury like a knobbly stick-waving, Riverdancing Irish relative whose national team has been cheated out of a place at a major football tournament and Monday marks the 10th anniversary of the famous night in Paris that sent The Fiver’s cousin, Theme Pub O’Fiver, over the abyss and into the madness. With O’Ireland level on aggregate with France in a play-off for the 2010 World Cup finals and deep into the first half of added time, the ball was cr[..]

Euro 2020 qualifying: Who will reach the finals?

6:49 AM ET Euro 2020 kicks off in June next year and 20 of the 24 places at the tournament will be secured this week. Here is a look at the latest qualifying permutations and scenarios. – Stream Euro 2020 qualifiers (live and replay) on ESPN+– Qualifying tables | Upcoming fixtures 1 Related The top […]

Lydia Thompson pounces in England Women’s dramatic win over France

• England 17-15 France • Hosts score try in final moments to claim victory Lydia Thompson’s last-minute try helped England beat France 17-15 in Exeter on Saturday. The visitors led through a Jessy Tremouliere penalty and Laure Sansus’ try before Emily Scarratt kicked six points from the tee to reduce England’s deficit to 8-6 by half-time. Continue reading...

England’s Abby Dow hoping to engineer success against France

Wasps wing combines international rugby with studies at Imperial College London and is ready to make strides in both Abby Dow is on a mission. Make that two. By this time next year she hopes to have qualified as a mechanical engineer and earned a professional playing contract from the Rugby Football Union. She can give a boost to that latter ambition by performing as well against France in Exeter on Saturday as she did against the same opposition during last week’s victory in Clermont-Ferrand. Dow is one of[..]

Turkey qualify for Euro 2020 after holding Iceland to goalless draw

• Draw in Group H also secures France a place in the finals • Iceland’s Hordur Magnusson goes close to snatching a win Turkey qualified for the Euro 2020 finals with a goalless draw in their Group H game against Iceland in Istanbul – with the result also ensuring France a place in the championship. Related: England v Montenegro: Euro 2020 qualifier – live! Continue reading...

How Rugby Australia risks ending up with a Wallabies coach they don't want | Bret Harris

The length and details of any contract offered to Michael Cheika’s replacement will be key As Rugby Australia determines who becomes the new Wallabies coach they will also consider the length of the successful candidate’s contract. It seems sensible to sign the new coach to a four-year contract, culminating at the next World Cup in France in 2023, but does the governing body really want to lock themselves into a lengthy contract that would potentially leave them stuck with a coach they did not want at the n[..]

Raymond Poulidor obituary

French cyclist who achieved a record eight podium finishes in the Tour de France but never wore the leader’s yellow jersey Raymond Poulidor, who has died aged 83, became France’s most popular cycle racer – and arguably its most best-loved sportsman – through his valiant, near-perennial failure to win the country’s national Tour over 15 years between 1962 and 1976, and in spite of the fact that he never wore the race leader’s yellow jersey. As late as summer 2019, he was still travelling on the Tour, more wa[..]

Roger Federer v Dominic Thiem: ATP Finals group stage – live!

Our game-by-game report of the action in London Kevin Mitchell: Djokovic eyes history amid threats old and new France claim Fed Cup after decisive doubles win Email | Tweet @tumcarayol 6.13pm GMT Do check out Kevin Mitchell on Djokovic’s swift victory earlier today. Related: Flawless Novak Djokovic swats aside Matteo Berrettini in ATP Finals 6.10pm GMT Novak Djokovic will be watching this match keenly. Here is the Serb’s assessment of Thiem earlier today: I think he was menti[..]

Flawless Novak Djokovic swats aside Matteo Berrettini in ATP Finals

• Serb takes little more than an hour to see off Italian 6-2, 6-1 • Roger Federer faces Dominic Thiem on Sunday evening The last time we saw Novak Djokovic in London he was wearing down Roger Federer in the longest final in Wimbledon’s history. On Sunday he returned and spent a mere 62 minutes opening his campaign to finish the season as the world No 1 for the sixth time. Related: France claim Fed Cup after decisive doubles win by Garcia and Mladenovic Continue reading...

France claim Fed Cup after decisive doubles win by Garcia and Mladenovic

• Garcia and Mladenovic overcome Barty and Stosur 6-4, 6-3 • Final was tied at 2-2 before decisive doubles encounter France claimed their first Fed Cup title in 16 years on Sunday in a doubles decider against Australia in Perth. Related: ATP Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic eyes history but threats old and new lurk Continue reading...

USWNT gives new coach Andonovski first win

10:14 PM ET Associated Press Carli Lloyd scored twice, Christen Press added a goal and the United States held off Sweden 3-2 on Thursday night in Columbus, Ohio, giving Vlatko Andonovski a victory in his first match as head coach. The U.S. is 19-1-3 in 2019 and has a 22-match unbeaten streak. The U.S. dominated […]

Sarah Hunter try double earns England women landmark win over France

France 10-20 England Red Roses win in France for first time since 2012 Sarah Hunter scored two tries as England beat France 20-10 in Clermont, earning their first win in France since 2012 and laying down a marker for the Women’s Six Nations. Simon Middleton’s side had to weather an early storm from the hosts, who took the lead with a Jessy Tremouliere penalty in the 11th minute. England centre Emily Scarratt, named player of the year at last Sunday’s World Rugby awards, levelled the scores with a place-kick[..]

Germany’s Klara Bühl piles pressure on Phil Neville and England with late strike

• England 1-2 Germany (White 44; Popp 9, Bühl 90) • England slip to defeat after Ellen White leveller Klara Bühl struck late to crush England’s record home crowd of 77,768 and give Germany victory. Ellen White had scored in her first England game after injury sidelined the 30-year-old following her six-goal haul at the World Cup in France to undo Germany captain Alexandra Popp’s early unmarked header inside nine minutes. White’s one-touch strike levelled things on the stroke of half time after Keira Walsh f[..]

Eddie Jones should take England to 2023 World Cup, says Chris Robshaw

• 2015 captain says future of young England side is ‘very bright’ • Harlequins captain calls for English improvement in Europe Chris Robshaw believes Eddie Jones should take England to the 2023 World Cup in France, where he expects at least two-thirds of the players who went all the way to the final in Japan still to be in contention. The disappointment felt after losing to South Africa did not compare with the dejection in 2015 after the England side Robshaw captained became the first hosts not to make the[..]

Australia's Ashleigh Barty strikes back with crushing win in Fed Cup final

Barty brushes France’s Garcia 6-0, 6-0 to level scores Earlier, Mladenovic outclassed Tomljanovic 6-1, 6-1 World No.1 Ashleigh Barty obliterated Caroline Garcia 6-0, 6-0 to even the ledger between Australia and France in the Fed Cup final in Perth. Barty’s clinical victory in just 56 minutes made it 1-1 in the best-of-five format, ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles and potentially a doubles decider at RAC Arena. Continue reading...

Inoue gets past Donaire, signs with Top Rank

9:01 AM ET Naoya “The Monster” Inoue has rarely faced adversity during his reign of terror through boxing’s smaller weight classes, but when he finally did against Nonito Donaire, Inoue came through like a champion in a punishing contender for fight of the year. Inoue, bleeding from a cut over his right eye and nose […]

Emily Scarratt focuses on France after whirlwind week and world award | Emma John

After a 12,000-mile round trip to Japan where she was named world player of the year, England’s totemic centre gets back to work on Saturday – with the 2021 World Cup a longer-term goal The England centre Emily Scarratt is one of the best readers of play on a rugby pitch. She is not so great at spotting a dummy off the field, it turns out. When she was the only one of the three England women nominated for the World Rugby player of the year award who was flown to Japan for the ceremony last weekend, it did n[..]

'We performed desperately': fans review the Rugby World Cup

Supporters from South Africa and England are considerably happier than their counterparts in Ireland and Georgia The Pumas didn’t do as well as I had hoped. We knew the most important game was the one against France and we couldn’t find the win, even though it was close. We seemed a bit off-colour but can leave with our heads held high as the future of Argentinian rugby is looking better than ever. Maxi Hellberg Continue reading...

Home nations far from united over GB women’s Olympic football team | Ewan Murray

It was supposed to be a one-off for London 2012 but the team will be back at Tokyo 2020. Some Scotland players are eager to be involved but only the English are really happy It was an afterthought as England’s campaign ended at the Women’s World Cup this summer, but reaching the last four opened a door widely assumed to have closed for good seven years ago. England cannot play in the Olympic Games but their success in France means Team GB, coached by Phil Neville, will appear in Tokyo. A concept branded uns[..]

Tonga shock Australia to win rugby league international

Australia 12-16 Tonga Invitational Tevita Pangai Junior scores winning try A Tonga invitational XIII have produced one of the greatest performances in rugby league history by taking down world champions Australia 16-12 in Auckland. In front of a pulsating crowd of 25,257 at Eden Park, the Tongans came back from six points down at half-time to claim a famous victory. It is Australia’s first defeat to a side other than New Zealand, England or Great Britain since going down to France in 1978. The Kangaroos wer[..]

Lampard denies feeling pressure to pick Batshuayi and Giroud at Chelsea

• Belgium and France coaches complain about lack of games • ‘I have to pick squad for the best of Chelsea,’ Lampard says Frank Lampard has warned Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud that he will not prioritise their international careers over Chelsea’s needs. Tammy Abraham’s goalscoring exploits have left both strikers in the shade this season, hurting their chances of representing their countries at Euro 2020. Roberto Martínez said during the last international break that Batshuayi needed to play more for C[..]

Football transfer rumours: Lautaro Martínez to Manchester United?

Today’s fluff is getting its act together In the summer, while dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on deals for Rodri and João Cancelo, it seems Manchester City also had officials making notes in sleepy Cesena. It was there where a Phil Foden-less England crashed out of the Under-21 European Championship following a 4-2 defeat by Romania, in which Florinel Coman stole the show, scoring twice. Coman is no relation to Kingsley but he has, rather handily, been compared to another France whizz, Kylian Mbappé, [..]

'I was just feeding the kids' – England's Ben Spencer on his World Cup call-up

England’s replacement scrum-half says his dash to Japan cannot compete with New Zealand World Cup winner Stephen Donald’s summons from a fishing trip By his own admission it has been a crazy few days for the England rugby player Ben Spencer. He seems almost sheepish when he says that his is not quite the Cinderella story famously told by the former New Zealand World Cup winner Stephen Donald – “I was just at home, feeding the kids” – but Spencer is nonetheless on the brink of his own fairytale ahead of Satu[..]

West Ham’s Kenza Dali: ‘Football was my escape. I had a bad life then’

Shortly after Dali’s brother died, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. The France midfielder tells her story for the first time “I would tell myself to look at my mother’s bravery. She always smiled. Even without her hair. For a woman it’s really difficult to not have hair and eyelashes – you don’t feel like a woman any more. Cancer breaks everything.” West Ham’s midfielder Kenza Dali has not told her story before. During 12 years of playing in France, including with Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain, she kept[..]

Ben Curry is excited to go watch his twin, Tom, in the World Cup final

‘We support each other in whatever we do, whether its an under-15 final or one of the biggest stages in sport’ When the Sale flanker Ben Curry was given special dispensation by his club to travel to Yokohama to watch his identical twin brother, Tom, play for England in Saturday’s World Cup final he immediately texted him the good news – only to receive a very modern reply. “He just sent a funny gif of me at last year’s Under-20 World Cup in France saying ‘Hi guys’,” says Ben. “And then he wrote ‘Ben rocking[..]

Time for Wales to rebuild despite failings of the regional system | Paul Rees

Wayne Pivac is the new head coach but, like his predecessor, he will find that he has to spot then develop his own Test players As Jonathan Davies entered what is called the mixed zone, a gauntlet lined with reporters who players have to walk through to get from their dressing room to the after-match buffet, following Wales’s semi-final defeat to South Africa, he was asked how he was feeling. The response was a disbelieving stare followed by “How do you think?” Davies carried on walking as fast as his left [..]

England’s response to the haka should be encouraged, not penalised | Liam Napier

They added to the Rugby World Cup semi-final theatre against the All Blacks without overstepping the boundaries of decency The V-shaped formation England went for in Yokohama, which emulated France’s response in the 2011 World Cup final at Eden Park, set the tone for their dominant semi-final victory over the All Blacks. Sure, several players stepped over the halfway line and World Rugby probably feels duty-bound to fine England for breaching this rule, having done likewise with France eight years ago. It m[..]

England could face fine following their response to New Zealand’s haka

• Players stood in All Blacks’ half while forming V formation • France fined £2,500 in 2011 for staging a similar response England are set to discover on Monday whether they will be fined for their V-shaped response to New Zealand’s haka in their World Cup semi-final victory against the All Blacks on Saturday. England’s players revealed that Eddie Jones was behind the plan to counter New Zealand’s traditional Maori challenge in order to show they were “ready for anything”. Continue reading...

‘We’ve given ourselves an opportunity – that is literally all it is’ – George Ford

• England fly-half focuses on chance to ‘finish’ the job • Ford says team had cleared failure of 2015 ‘out of our system’ Among the first people Steve Hansen spoke to after New Zealand’s defeat by England on Saturday was Graham Henry, his predecessor as head coach and fellow World Cup winner having been in charge when the All Blacks finally lifted the trophy again in 2011. More pertinently, however, he was in charge in 2007 – the last time before Saturday that New Zealand lost a World Cup match, against Fra[..]

'I believe there’s a dream': Gatland urges Wales to reach World Cup final – video

Wales coach Warren Gatland has called on his side to believe they can make history by reaching their first Rugby World Cup final. “When you want something bad enough, when you really, really want it, it can happen...I’m probably the greatest optimist," Gatland said ahead of Sunday's showdown in Yokohama. "I always go in there and believe something’s possible. I believe that there’s a dream. "If you don’t have that attitude, and you don’t portray that attitude, then it’s never going to happen. You’ve got to [..]

Ben Ryan on Rugby X: 'Five-a-side, indoors, no goal-kicking, no lineouts'

The coach sits down for a chat to explain a new rugby format that is being unveiled in London next week By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required Ben Ryan went from the streets of Brentford to becoming honorary Fijian royalty after leading their sevens team to gold at the Olympics in Rio in 2016. On Tuesday his latest project, RugbyX, makes its debut at the O2 in London. Many of his Fijian players will be turning out for the Barbarians, coached by Danny Care. England, France, Ireland and USA have also signed[..]

Quiz: how much do you know about Rugby World Cup semi-finals?

Who scored a hat-trick? Who falls short? Who advertised pizza? Who were the beaten semi-finalists in the first Rugby World Cup in 1987? England and Ireland South Africa and Scotland Wales and Australia France and Argentina Who is the only player to have scored four tries in a single World Cup semi-final? Jonah Lomu for New Zealand Jannie De Beer for South Africa Gareth Thomas for Wales Chester Williams for South Africa Who has scored a hat-trick of drop goals in a World Cup semi-final? Jonny Wilkinson Hugo [..]

England train in heavy rain ahead of Rugby World Cup semi-final – video

England’s final training session before their highly-anticipated semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday was slightly delayed by heavy rain. Eddie Jones’s men began training 45 minutes later than scheduled at International Stadium Yokohama after arriving behind schedule. They were due to face France at the venue in their final pool match before it was cancelled because of typhoon Hagibis. Full-back Elliot Daly said: “I probably haven’t trained in that kind of rain for a while, it was quite fun … but the [..]

Semi-final return of Jonathan Davies softens Liam Williams blow for Wales

Davies back in side for Sunday’s World Cup clash Leigh Halfpenny replaces Williams in Yokohama Wales will be without their Lions’ full-back Liam Williams for Sunday’s semi-final against South Africa in Yokohama after he suffered an ankle injury in a collision with a team-mate in training this week. But the blow is softened by the return of the centre Jonathan Davies, the man of the series in the 2017 Lions tour to New Zealand, who missed the quarter-final victory over France with a knee injury, while Willia[..]

The Breakdown | The era of the supercoach is defining this Rugby World Cup

The best four teams may not be in the semi-finals in Japan but without doubt the best four coaches are The World Cup is down to the last four. The best four here? France, feeling hard done by and seeing red over referee Jaco Peyper, and Ireland, the No 1 side in the world rankings six weeks ago, who had the misfortune to meet the All Blacks at their most driven, might beg to differ. The best four coaches? Given that Ireland’s Joe Schmidt presided over two defeats, without doubt. Eddie Jones was able to poke[..]

Michael Cheika linked with move to French Top 14 club Montpellier

Reports suggest Cheika will become club’s director of rugby Montpellier has same structure Cheika despised with Wallabies Outgoing Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been freshly linked with a move back to France to take over as Montpellier’s director of rugby. Cheika’s tumultuous five years with the Australian national side ended with the Wallabies’ disappointing World Cup quarter-final exit in Japan last weekend. French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique is reporting that Montpellier, who play in the Top 14, [..]

‘We don’t have to bowl a super over’: All Blacks braced for World Cup repeat | Andy Bull

England got the better of New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup final but Steve Hansen’s squad seem to have been preparing for an unlikely draw in Japan Steve Hansen always has a list of what‑ifs. It is a habit he picked up from Graham Henry after the All Blacks were undone by a forward pass against France in the 2007 quarter-finals. This year there is one worst‑case scenario to which they have been paying extra attention: the tie-break. The last thing they want is to end up in the same position their cricke[..]

N’Golo Kanté and Ross Barkley out of Chelsea’s Champions League tie at Ajax

• Barkley suffered an ankle injury against Newcastle on Saturday • Kanté still absent with groin problem sustained with France Chelsea will be without Ross Barkley, N’Golo Kanté, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger for their Champions League game at Ajax on Wednesday. Related: Frank Lampard criticises France over handling of injured N’Golo Kanté Continue reading...

Referee Jaco Peyper snubbed for Rugby World Cup semi-final after photo row

World Rugby condemns photo of Peyper with Welsh fans ‘Peyper recognises that a picture of him was inappropriate’ Referee Jaco Peyper was not considered for a Rugby World Cup semi-final appointment after an “inappropriate” picture of him with Welsh fans appeared on social media. World Rugby investigated the circumstances around South African official Peyper appearing to mock the elbow to the head that earned France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina a red card against quarter-final opponents Wales on Sunday. Continu[..]

Seven Liverpool players on Ballon D'Or shortlist, Bronze and White nominated

Champions League winners dominate 30-man list England World Cup stars named on women’s list Liverpool’s Champions League winners dominate the nominations for the Ballon d’Or after seven of Jürgen Klopp’s men were included on the 30-man shortlist. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defenders Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and strikers Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino all featured amongst the candidates when they were announced by France Football and L’Equipe o[..]

Dan Biggar urges Wales to ‘change rest of our lives’ against South Africa

• Fly-half puts his faith in ‘attitude and resolve’ for semi-final • Biggar admits quarter-final win over France was fortunate Wales have been urged to seize the moment and take advantage of the life-changing opportunity available to them in Japan. No Welsh side have reached a World Cup final but the fly-half Dan Biggar believes the tournament remains wide open before Sunday’s semi-final against South Africa. Biggar accepts Warren Gatland’s team were fortunate to squeeze past a 14-man France in the quarter-[..]

An England-Wales final? Jones and Gatland have the knowhow to deliver it | Robert Kitson

New Zealand and narrowly South Africa are the semi-final favourites but the Antipodean coaches of England and Wales have the experience to make both games tantalisingly close Some Rugby World Cup semi-finals stay longer in the memory than others. For every stunning sporting spectacle – Sydney 1987, Dublin 1991, Cape Town 1995 and Twickenham 1999 – a good number have been unable to match the hype. Often they are not even close: in no fewer than nine of the 16 semi-final contests to date there has been a doub[..]

Ligue 1 clubs turn to experienced French managers to right wrongs

Claude Puel, Antoine Kombouaré, Rudi Garcia and Christian Gourcuff are all enjoying positive starts at their new clubs By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News Four Ligue 1 clubs have changed managers since the start of August and all four of their appointments speak volumes about the emphasis being placed on veteran managers in France. Christian Gourcuff arrived at Nantes on the eve of the season and has guided them to second place in the table; Claude Puel replaced Ghislain Printant at Sa[..]

Warren Gatland on Jaco Peyper picture: ’People like to make mountains out of molehills’ – video

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has weighed in on the World Rugby's inquiry into referee Jaco Peyper after he was pictured appearing to mock the elbow to the head that earned France lock Sébastien Vahaamahina a red card against Wales. 'How people interpret that is up to them. And obviously, the way things are and the way - how PC everyone is, people like to make mountains out of molehills' Photo of referee Jaco Peyper imitating Vahaamahina elbow prompts RWC inquiry Continue reading...

Wales No 8 Josh Navidi ruled out of South Africa semi-final with hamstring injury

• Influential, hard-tackling No 8 to return home • Wales to meet South Africa in semi-final on Sunday Wales back-row forward Josh Navidi has been ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury. Head coach Warren Gatland confirmed Navidi’s absence because of the injury suffered in the quarter-final victory over France on Sunday. Continue reading...

Photo of referee Jaco Peyper imitating Vahaamahina elbow, prompts RWC inquiry

Referee sent off France’s Vahaamahina during Wales defeat France slam photo of Peyper recreating ‘elbow’ with fans World Rugby is investigating the circumstances around a photo of referee Jaco Peyper in which he appears to mock the elbow to the head that earned the France lock Sébastien Vahaamahina a red card against Wales. Related: Wales come from behind to beat 14-man France in World Cup quarter-final Continue reading...

Wales v France player ratings: Justin Tipuric the pick of quarter-final thriller

Dan Biggar’s kicks and Romain Ntamack’s misses prove the difference between Wales and France in Oita Liam Williams Has had an outstanding season for club and country but mainly reduced to defensive duties and coping with aerial threat from France’s tactical kickers. 5 Continue reading...