The Breakdown | It was tough on Sam Underhill, but England try was rightly disallowed

Courtney Lawes took a gamble and lost when he charged down TJ Perenara’s kick against the All Blacks. The referee was correctSam Underhill may be one of England’s youngest, least experienced players but he reacted to one of the biggest disappointments of his senior career with a mature detachment. “If the referee says the grass is pink, then the grass is pink,” he said when asked about his disallowed try five minutes from time against New Zealand when Courtney Lawes was ruled to have been offside when he charged down a kick. Related: Japan captain Leitch says his side will not bow down at Twickenham Continue reading...

17-11-2018



Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

17-11-2018



African Footballer Of The Year: Watch goals from our 2018 AFOTY nominees

Watch some of the best goals scored by BBC Sport's African footballer of the year nominees in 2018.

17-11-2018



Keaton Jennings’ close encounters help change momentum of second Test

• Opener plays key role in two dismissals at short-leg• ‘You feel you’re going to get hit at times’In the first innings when the wicket was sleeping and the Sri Lanka batsmen were cruising it was Ben Stokes’s brilliance in the field that reignited England.On another steamy day in the field it was the turn of a contrasting character – Keaton Jennings – to change the direction of the game. This will bring a warm glow to Trevor Bayliss, who has always emphasised how a moment or two of brilliance in the field can change the course of a match. Continue reading...

17-11-2018



The Fiver | The potential commercial benefits of honouring former heroes

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

17-11-2018



How can Renato Sanches be so bad at one club and so good at another? | Stuart James

The midfielder is rebuilding his career at Bayern and is clearly a huge talent, which makes his failed spell at Swansea so bafflingSeptember 2017, the London Stadium. Renato Sanches is brought down by Cheikhou Kouyaté deep inside the West Ham half and is determined to take the free-kick. He tells his Swansea teammates he is going to put it in the top corner. One swing of his right boot later and the ball is on its way to the top corner ... of the stadium rather than the net. Swansea’s players are already turning on their heel before gravity has started to do its work.July 2018, Wörthersee Stadion. Bayern Munich win a free-kick wide on the right, about 22 yards from goal. Every Paris Saint-Germain player is expecting a cross as Sanches stands over the ball. Expertly disguising his intentions, Sanches curls a brilliant shot inside the near post. Rafinha jumps on top of Sanches to celebrate and the rest of his Bayern teammates join in. Continue reading...

17-11-2018



Ryan Fraser fires Scotland close to Nations League promotion

• Albania 0-4 Scotland• Fraser 14, Fletcher 45pen, Forrest 55 67Scotland are within 90 minutes of promotion from the third tier of the Nations League after an emphatic 4-0 win over 10-man Albania at the Loro Borici Stadium in Shkoder.Ryan Fraser’s first international goal after 14 minutes gave the visitors the lead before home skipper Mergim Mavraj was sent off six minutes later by the referee, Vladislav Bezborodov, for a headbutt on Ryan Christie. Continue reading...

17-11-2018



Which football teams have worn most kit combinations in a season? | The Knowledge

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

17-11-2018



Portugal hold Italy to become first team to reach Nations League semi-finals

• Rui Patrício the Portugal hero in goalless draw at San Siro • Mitrovic scores and misses Panenka-style penalty in Serbia winPortugal became the first team to qualify for the Nations League semi-finals when they held on for a goalless draw away to Italy to make sure of top spot in Group Three in the competition’s top tier.Italy dominated the first hour and Portugal were rescued by the Wolverhampton Wanderers keeper Rui Patrício, who twice denied Ciro Immobile when the forward looked set to score. He also saved Lorenzo Pellegrini’s header from close range in stoppage time. Continue reading...

17-11-2018



Baron Alco and Jamie Moore grind Cheltenham rivals into submission

• BetVictor Gold Cup winners lead from the front• Sara Bradstock praises third-placed ConeygreeWhen six of the 18 runners in a handicap chase make it across the line, up front is generally the best place to be. So it proved here on Saturday as Baron Alco and Jamie Moore made all the running to win a BetVictor Gold Cup that was strewn with incident from the first fence to the last.Four horses fell, two more were brought down and four unseated their riders over the course of two-and-a-half miles, but the drama passed Baron Alco by as he jumped quickly and accurately at the head of the field. Frodon, under top weight, kept him company for much of the way but his burden started to tell on the turn for home and Baron Alco stayed on strongly close home to register a comfortable success. Continue reading...

17-11-2018



Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic to speak to Dejan Lovren after Ramos elbow brag

• Lovren appeared to hint he deliberately elbowed Sergio Ramos• Croatia face England in winner-takes-all Nations League matchThe Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic, has said he will speak to Dejan Lovren after the Liverpool defender appeared to brag on social media about deliberately elbowing Sergio Ramos during the victory over Spain on Thursday.Lovren, who is expected to start against England on Sunday in the winner-takes-all Nations League showdown at Wembley, had previously accused Spain of showing a lack of respect during their 6-0 victory over the World Cup finalists in September, before being captured on an Instagram live video apparently stating he “elbowed him good” in reference to the Real Madrid defender. Continue reading...

17-11-2018



England 35-15 Japan: Eddie Jones' side hold off spirited visitors

England need a second-half fightback to overcome a spirited Japan, with Joe Cokanasiga scoring a debut try.

17-11-2018



Jacob Stockdale scores only try as Ireland earn historic win over All Blacks

• Ireland 16-9 New Zealand• Ireland see out their second victory over New ZealandBrutal does not even begin to describe the contest but, for Ireland, the outcome was as beautiful as any in their rugby history. For the first time they have beaten the All Blacks on Irish soil and not a single Kiwi can say it was undeserved. If New Zealand are still officially the world’s best team, it did not particularly feel that way at the final whistle.It made for a legendary Dublin night. New Zealand may have escaped against England at Twickenham but not this time; the world champions were hassled and harried to a virtual standstill by a home team as composed and clinical as they were physical and powerful. A solitary 48th-minute try scored by Jacob Stockdale did not entirely reflect Ireland’s compelling efforts with and without the ball. Continue reading...

17-11-2018



Dele Alli: ‘We don’t look back on the Iceland defeat with such anger now’

The Spurs forward experienced first-hand the despondency after England’s Euro 2016 disaster. The feeling couldn’t be more different as their Nations League decider against Croatia loomsThe situation for England on Sunday afternoon is somewhat strange, with both sides involved in the summer’s World Cup semi-final now capable of topping their Nations League group above Spain or being relegated to a lower level, though it certainly achieves the objective of providing a competitive fixture. Dele Alli shrugs and smiles. The last couple of years have been odd, full of ups and downs. He is used to it.“It is a strange one, but it’s another stepping stone for us,” the Tottenham forward says. “Croatia have proved they are a great team, so we know it’s going to be a difficult game, but we are still improving as I think we have shown. Our morale was always high even before the win in Spain, but to post a result like that was a big statement. We know what we are capable of and no one wants to be relegated.” Continue reading...

17-11-2018



Northern Ireland Open: Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Mark Selby on final black to reach final

Ronnie O'Sullivan holds his nerve to beat world number one Mark Selby on the final black and will face Judd Trump in the Northern Ireland Open final.

17-11-2018



Co-captain Owen Farrell helps navigate England through choppy waters | Gerard Meagher

When Farrell came off the bench against a dangerous Japan Eddie Jones’s side were given directionEddie Jones recently explained that Owen Farrell is not the kind of player to be wrapped in cotton wool. He may want to think again. If this victory, ultimately comprehensive but anything but comfortable, told us anything it is that England’s reliance on Farrell remains almost total; going into next year’s World Cup without him is unthinkable.It would be harsh on the eye‑catching performances of Kyle Sinckler and Sam Underhill from the bench, perhaps on the endeavour of Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes, too, to say that Farrell swung the match in England’s favour single‑handed but the biggest factor was without doubt his introduction and the bloody-mindedness he brought. He came on at half-time – it is easy to imagine Jones had little say in the matter – and immediately gave England purpose. Continue reading...

17-11-2018