Champions League last 16: who’s hot, who’s not and potential match-ups

13-12-2018 Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United face the prospect of daunting ties after the cream rose to the top in the groupsThe Premier League will supply a quarter of the teams in the Champions League last-16 draw, which will take place at 11am on Monday. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other, and likewise teams who qualified from the same group. Group winners will be drawn against second-placed teams, with the top seed enjoying home advantage in the second leg. VAR will be used for the rest of the competition. Continue reading...

Ashley Giles set to be named as England's new director of cricket

13-12-2018 Giles has been offered role as Andrew Strauss’s successorWarks director of sport expected to be appointed within daysAshley Giles is set to be named the new director of England cricket. The former left-arm spinner is understood to have been offered the role and is now in the final stages of negotiations over terms.The appointment, which should be confirmed in the coming days, will bring to an end a two-month search for a successor to Andrew Strauss, who stepped down in October after three years in the role as his wife, Ruth, undergoes treatment for cancer. Continue reading...

NFL This Week: Could Amari Cooper send the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl?

13-12-2018 After spending a first-round draft pick trading for wide receiver Amari Cooper, have the Dallas Cowboys found the missing piece to their team?

Alisson the rock in Liverpool’s solid defence but Matip injury is a blow

13-12-2018 • Goalkeeper vital to defensive improvement this season•Defender out for six weeks with a fractured collarboneThere was a grin from Virgil van Dijk before giving his assessment of Alisson’s contribution to Liverpool’s victory over Napoli. “He was there to do his job,” the defender said. Bear hugs and effusive praise could come from others. Van Dijk was, of course, correct, although a Liverpool goalkeeper doing his job so well, so consistently and so decisively feels a novelty in the context of Anfield’s recent history.The Champions League group decider was Alisson’s 22nd appearance for Jürgen Klopp’s team following his £65m summer move from Roma. He had justified the expectation levels that soared with his signing long before Wednesday, when he earned Liverpool an extra £11m in Champions League revenue with the 92nd-minute block that secured victory and a return to the knockout phase. Continue reading...

Team Sky’s legacy: titles and ambition tarnished by coldness and allegations | Richard Williams

13-12-2018 The cycling team, who will lose Sky as a sponsor next year, raised the sport’s profile in Britain but took it away from the humanity treasured by puristsEvery now and then a new force enters a sport with an impact so crushing it reshapes and even deforms the whole competition. So it was with the state-sponsored German grand prix teams in the 1930s, with East African distance runners over the past two decades and with football clubs benefiting today from the sovereign wealth of Arab states. Team Sky’s recent dominance of cycling’s major events can be measured on that scale.Many will mourn the passing of a name that helped bring British riders to the forefront of the sport: first Bradley Wiggins, then Chris Froome and most recently Geraint Thomas. When Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 it was the fulfilment of what had long appeared an impossible dream. By the time of Thomas’s recent Tour victory – a sixth for Sky in seven years – it seemed almost commonplace. Froome’s victories in the Vuelta a España in 2017 and this year’s Giro d’Italia meant he and the team held all three grand tour jerseys simultaneously. Continue reading...

Eleven Sports may be facing closure in UK after only four months

13-12-2018 Service holds UFC, La Liga and Serie A rightsPromised distribution had not been securedEleven Sports, the self-styled “Netflix of Sports” controlled by the Leeds United owner, Andrea Radrizzani, could be facing closure in the UK & Ireland after failing to attract enough subscribers.The service, which launched less than four months ago, has the UK rights to sports including Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s La Liga and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Continue reading...

Hand of clod? Brexit and Theresa May divide England's 1986 World Cup squad

13-12-2018 Peter Shilton and Peter Reid at odds over Jacob Rees-Mogg Gary Lineker tells Chris Waddle to ‘stick to football’ after tweetBrexit has divided communities, families and friends, so it should perhaps come as no surprise to find it has done the same to England’s 1986 World Cup squad.After Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence by Conservative MPs on Wednesday, several members of the side which reached the quarter-finals in Mexico offered their thoughts on social media. They revealed a divide as great as the one in the England defence when Diego Maradona dribbled straight through it. Continue reading...

What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

13-12-2018 Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

Aston Villa remove Kevin MacDonald from coaching after new bullying claims

13-12-2018 • Gareth Farrelly alleges he and others were targeted in 1990s• Villa launch independent investigation and report claims to FAAston Villa have suspended their long-serving youth coach Kevin MacDonald from working with players, after a former graduate of the club, Gareth Farrelly, came forward to tell the Guardian about his claims of relentless bullying from MacDonald in the mid-1990s.Farrelly accused the coach of “incredibly aggressive, constant verbal and physical bullying” and said it “took me to a place at 20 that nobody should have to go to. And I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.” Continue reading...

Spurs, saves, Street Fighter and Atlanta United – Football Weekly Extra

13-12-2018 Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Paolo Bandini and Lars Sivertsen to discuss Spurs and Liverpool squeaking through in the Champions League, easy but great saves, Italian strife, Atlanta United and Street FighterJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the last few days of football, starting with Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou, which in combination with Inter’s draw with PSV was enough to see Mauricio Pochettino’s side qualify for the round of 16. Continue reading...

What now for Team Sky? Vultures will already be circling their top riders

13-12-2018 Sir Dave Brailsford has six months to find a backer but cycling’s top team need big bucks and China may be the answerAs Team Sky’s sponsorship enters its final season after nine years at the peak of professional cycling one thing is certain: unless Sir Dave Brailsford announces a replacement backer this side of June, the vultures will circle ever closer to the ground. They will already be on the wing after the announcement on Wednesday that Sky will end its backing at the close of 2019.There is speculation that because some of their most valuable riders have contracts that last beyond the end of next year, backing may already be in place. It is equally likely that the contracts are long term, as the management had no option but to think that way and possibly little inkling the team may shut up shop, and that possible penalties for early termination of those contracts may be tied to the current sponsorship. Continue reading...

Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

13-12-2018 After Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world title on Sunday, BBC Sport is asking you just who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

The Fiver | The Modern Pantheon of Memorable Anfield Saves (est. Dec 2018)

13-12-2018 Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Liverpool fans can be forgiven for floating on air right now, feeling a little woozy, spaced out, positively trippy. Partly because they’re currently top of the league, unbeaten, with half a chance of … well, OK, a quarter of a chance of the title. Partly because they’re somehow through to the knockout stage of Big Cup having played the sum total of one decent 45 against notoriously flaky travellers PSG. But mainly because they appear to have a proper, fully functioning, dependable, diligent, decent, grown-up goalkeeper. By our reckoning they haven’t signed one of those since landing Ray Clemence from Firewall FC in 1967, so this abrupt reality shift is bound to scramble a few heads. But relax. Open up your mind. Continue reading...

Pete Shelley's Tour de force, Miami's Miracle and Premier Passions | Classic YouTube

13-12-2018 This week’s roundup also features Paul Sherwen, NHL deflections and Dean Jones’s very bad idea1) It wasn’t always widely known, but Buzzcocks’ brilliant Pete Shelley, who died this past week, wrote the music for the iconic Channel 4 Tour de France theme, itself taken from within 1984 track Give It To Me. Another sad passing this week was Paul Sherwen. It’s well worth a listen to the Cycling Podcast’s tribute, while Sherwen recalls how he met his broadcasting partner Phil Liggett.2) The Miami Miracle! Obviously there’s already a Tecmo Super Bowl version out there. Gronk’s still stumbling. More laterals: here’s the Music City Miracle, which always features highly among some of the NFL’s most famous. There are more in college football, including … Miami (!) v Duke, Trinity v Millsaps and the classic: Cal v Stanford. Watch out for that band! More on The Play. Continue reading...

From the Tavern to the Palace: the decade since darts went large – video

13-12-2018 It's now more than a decade since the PDC world championship moved from the Circus Tavern in Purfleet to London's Alexandra Palace and the game of darts has grown beyond all expectations. We talked to a number of the figures behind the growth of the game both in front and behind the cameras Continue reading...

Pep Guardiola: England 'has a diamond' in Phil Foden, says Man City boss

13-12-2018 England has "a diamond" in 18-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

PDC World Darts Championship 2019: Michael van Gerwen heads biggest field ever

13-12-2018 Michael van Gerwen says he has been working on his finishing as the world number one goes in search of a third PDC World Championship.

Football transfer rumours: Yaya Touré to join Crystal Palace or West Ham?

13-12-2018 Today’s piffle just wants to feel appreciatedPurveyors of birthday cakes the length and breadth of England are waiting with bated breath to see which, if any, Premier League club will give Yaya Touré a gig. The 35-year-old Ivorian has parted company with Olympiakos three months after rejoining the Greek club, having made only three appearances. “Yaya is leaving as a friend and the doors at Olympiakos will always be open for him,” said the Greek club in a statement, shortly after ordering security to close the doors firmly behind him, double-lock them, nail stout planks across them and barricade them with several grand pianos. Now that his latest Greek odyssey is at an end, Touré is hopeful of reviving what’s left of his career in the English top flight if he can find a club who’ll take a punt on him. Crystal Palace have been mentioned in passing, although a high maintenance, past-his-prime player sounds more like West Ham’s bag. Related: José Mourinho says he learned ‘nothing’ in Champions League loss to Valencia Continue reading...

Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

13-12-2018 Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.