Coal-To-Liquids, Climate Change, and Energy Security

first_imgOn May 2nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee marked up the first major energy bill of the new 110th Congress. As of May 13th the bill includes incentives for biofuels, energy efficiency, and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). At one point the Committee considered–but ultimately rejected–a mandate for coal-to-liquids (CTL) fuels. Nonetheless, the provision will likely be reintroduced when the bill comes up on the Senate floor, so it’s worth examining the implications that CTL might have for both energy security and climate change policy.CTL is a technology that converts coal from a solid to liquid fuel. It is gaining attention in the U.S. as an option to offset the need to import oil. The final product, often referred to as synthetic diesel, has no sulfur and burns more cleanly than traditional petroleum diesel. The South African company Sasol has commercialized the technology over decades of strong government backing. A similar package of long-term incentives would likely be needed for CTL to play a significant role in improving U.S. energy insecurity.The CTL provision in the Senate markup would have created a mandate of 21 billion gallons of CTL fuels by 20221. For comparison, the existing federal mandate for ethanol requires the use of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012. To address concerns that CTL is a step backward on global warming, another provision stated that the greenhouse gas emissions levels of CTL fuels should not exceed that of conventional gasoline.U.S. coal supplies are abundant. In theory, CTL could help to offset some of the negative impacts of oil import dependency including supply uncertainty, wealth transfer to unstable or hostile regimes, and larger geopolitical maneuvering. There are, however, significant trade-offs in promoting its use as a substitute for petroleum. Consider that:CTL results in greater CO2 emissions than petroleum, even if CCS is used. Lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from CTLs, which include all emissions from “coal mine” to “vehicle wheel,” are nearly twice as high as petroleum alternatives. The proposed legislative standard that “greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of CTL fuels shall not exceed those of conventional gasoline” refers only to the “tank to wheel” portion of emissions. The “mine to wheel” portion is not addressed in the standard. Carbon capture and sequestration can mitigate most of the “mine to wheel” emissions, but the final GHG profile is still higher than “business as usual” petroleum. CTL is expensive. Construction of CTL facilities requires multi-billion dollar investments for large plants. Due to technology risk, and uncertainty over global oil prices that serve as a benchmark for CTL competitiveness, investments are not likely to flow without significant government subsidy and guarantees. CTL plants risk becoming stranded assets if global crude prices fall. This happened in the late 1970s and early 1980s with shale oil and other energy security investments. CTL uses water unsustainably. In addition to the usual social and environmental problems associated with coal mining and transport, CTL production requires large quantities of water. Approximately 10 gallons of water are used for every gallon of CTL product. Sourcing the additional 210 billion gallons of water needed annually to meet provisions called for in the bill would be challenging. There are already serious water supply problems in Western states such as Montana and Wyoming where most of our cheap coal supplies are located. Investors in China have also begun to show a new skepticism for CTL because of water supply concerns in its coal heartland.Coal-To-Liquid AlternativesThere are alternatives to CTL that are already available, and achieve the same objectives as CTL without the adverse environmental impacts.Vehicle Efficiency. Improving vehicle efficiency can cost-effectively reduce the need to import oil and simultaneously slash GHG emissions. The U.S. corporate average fuel efficiency program (CAFE) cut this country’s oil demand by nearly 3 million barrels a day between 1978 and 1985. No significant changes have been made in the requirements since then, however. CAFE and other vehicle efficiency measures offer the greatest opportunity to serve U.S. public interests holistically, yet a lack of political leadership has left these options largely unused. Biofuels. Non-grain based ethanol and biodiesel are other options that can simultaneously improve energy security and global warming concerns, provided that adequate environmental safeguards are applied. Cellulosic ethanol is particularly promising, and policy measures enacted today can ensure a more certain future.If CTL technology is to have a role in meeting future U.S. energy needs, we will need to address the high greenhouse gas emissions, costs, and water use. Otherwise, this option involves trade-offs that don’t serve the nation’s larger public interests.1 Using a reference of 2 barrels of CTL product per ton of feedstock coal, this provision would require about 250 million tons of incremental coal use per year. This is roughly 20 percent more than today’s consumption.last_img read more

The Real Story Behind Falling Renewable Energy Investments

first_imgInvestors worldwide spent less on renewable energy and related technologies—such as smart meters, electric vehicles, and storage—last year than in previous years. Global investments in renewable energy fell to $214 billion, down 14 percent from 2012. Venture capital investments in U.S.-based clean-tech companies fell 25 percent in 2013, according to Clean Edge’s latest report. And for the first time in a decade, China saw a decline in clean energy investment in 2013.These isolated numbers make it appear as if the clean tech sector is on the decline. But take a deeper dive and it’s clear that there’s a much more complex story at play. In reality, renewable energy is on a strong growth path—and tools are emerging to push the sector even further.Falling Renewable Energy Investments Actually Signal ProgressThe recent fall in clean tech investments is partly driven by the fact that renewable energy has become much cheaper in the past few years. You can buy more energy output for less cash than you could have two or four years ago. At the 2014 Future of Energy Summit earlier this month, Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), said that roughly 80 percent of the reduced investment in clean energy over the last two years is due to these price reductions. Solar module prices, for example, have declined by about 80 percent since 2008. Increased competition among wind energy suppliers has also reduced prices. Research from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that wind energy prices could drop from 10-30 percent further in the medium to long-term.With the costs dropping substantially, growth in clean energy capacity remains at record highs. This is in spite of economic and policy turbulence in many countries. The United States, China, and Japan in particular have been moving aggressively with solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. China installed a whopping 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity—nearly triple the 4.5 GW deployed the year before. And the world’s total installed wind energy capacity grew by about 19 percent in 2012, followed by another 12.4 percent increase in 2013.In short, the renewable energy industry is maturing—and investors are starting to take notice. Investors like Citigroup are becoming more optimistic in the industry, claiming that the “age of renewables” has begun. “Green bonds”—which direct investment towards environmentally friendly projects—are becoming more and more popular. Energy-smart technology firms, including Opower, are marching into the stock market. These are all indicators that renewables are stepping onto the mainstream financial scene.A Coalition of Renewable Energy InterpretersThe scale and impacts of declining renewable energy costs is not widely understood. This is an example of how real industry trends can be hidden by the headlines. Admittedly, the rapidly changing renewable energy industry can be difficult to keep up with. Decision-makers need both insightful analysis and proactive communication channels to help them understand what’s really going on with renewable energy development—and push this sector further faster.Several organizations are starting to realize the importance of making sure that facts about renewable energy are fully examined, explained, and widely shared. For example, WRI recently joined with IRENA, IEA-RETP, Greenpeace, ACORE, WWF International and 36 leading renewable energy players to establish a “Coalition for Action to Bolster Public Support for Renewable Energy.” This Coalition, which includes think tanks, environmental NGOs, and leading renewable energy companies, will provide fact-based information to address questions and concerns about renewable energy technologies and help support the growth of the industry worldwide. The Coalition will host a knowledge platform to share the latest news, information, lessons, and training opportunities in the renewable energy sector.As part of the coalition, WRI is producing evidence-based research, fact sheets, and tools on renewable energy through its Charge initiative. For example, our 10 Questions to Ask about Scaling On-Grid Renewable Energy paper raises the key questions decision makers need to answer in order to create a stable policy environment that will support the growth of grid-based renewable energy. Our Above and Beyond paper explores how utilities can use “green tariffs” to provide cost-competitive renewable energy to corporate customers. And forthcoming factsheets will help decision makers makes sense of the electricity cost data they encounter.The Charge initiative at WRI and the IRENA Coalition can start to clear up some of the confusion surrounding renewable energy costs. However, truly moving toward a world where all communities have access to affordable, clean energy will require a greater effort. Decision-makers from government, business, and the electricity sector will need to use all tools at their disposal to look past the headlines and capitalize on the emerging opportunities presented by a rapidly changing renewable sector.LEARN MORE: Check out our portfolio of 40 publications and learn how WRI helps power development through affordable, sustainable electricity.last_img read more

OU’s Cowboys 4Ever

first_imgStoops’ head nod at 1:40 SLAYS me.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img

Details Emerge Regarding Jhajuan Seales Arrest

first_img• Police found cup of peach liquor inside car as well as bottle with cracked seal• “Seales … asked me if he could just pay for it.”— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) October 29, 2015Seales BAC of .14 and .15 are nearly twice the legal limit of .08, and according to Oklahoma law, any BAC at .15% or higher can be considered “aggravated” DUI, which could result in mandatory treatment, community service, or an ignition interlock installed on the individuals car if convincted. According to this blood alcohol level chart, for someone who weighs 200 pounds (Seales: 198), he would have likely had to have more than 9 alcoholic drinks before getting behind the wheel and driving.Kyle Fredrickson confirmed with an OSU spokesman today that Mike Gundy was aware of the situation and that it was going to be handled internally. Oklahoma State wide receiver Jhajuan Seales was arrested early Sunday morning for DUI, and details have emerged regarding the incident that make the night’s activities sound more and more headscratching.Seales reportedly was seen “spinning his tires” and, as Kyle Frederickson reports, Seales even asked the officer “if he could just pay for it.”From #OKstate WR Jhajuan Seales DUI arrest report• Pulled over about 12:30 am Sunday• Seen “spinning his tires” eastbound on University— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) October 29, 2015 If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Oklahoma State and TCU Have Won a Combined 26 Games in a Row

first_imgThat’s 26 straight games these two teams combined have won. The last loss both of them had? At Baylor during the 2014 season.David Glidden said this week that the plan hasn’t changed.“It really does stay the same,” said Glidden. “Coach Gundy does a good job of putting that in our heads and we just go out there and do our jobs. We just have to win out in practice every day and that’s all we can do. You study film on your own, do all the little things that you can do and in the end it’s going to give you and your football team an advantage.“I don’t think there is any added pressure to this because we knew going into the season that November was going to be a difficult stretch and if we could make it to this point, we’d have a shot and that’s really all we could ask for.”Ask and ye shall receive (hopefully literally in Glidden’s case).If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! There are 10 college football teams left — 118 have a loss, 10 do not. It’s astonishing as an OSU fan to think about the implications there. Only eight of those 10 are Power 5 schools: Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, TCU and the Pokes. What a world.Even crazier? TCU and OSU are bringing the second and sixth-longest winning streaks respectively in the country into this game.Ohio State: 21TCU: 16Memphis: 15Michigan State: 12Clemson: 11Oklahoma State: 10″You tried to fire me 11 months ago and now that’s 10 straight.” pic.twitter.com/WPqCOp7P7K— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) October 31, 2015last_img read more

Preview: Oklahoma State-TCU

first_imgThe Oklahoma State Cowboys have made it through eight games without losing. Whether this feat is impressive to you is subjective due to the lack of quality opponents the Cowboys have matched up with in those games. The TCU Horned Frogs are also undefeated and represent the best opponent the  Cowboys have played so far.The Horned Frogs have yet to reach the meaty part of their schedule as well, with their only real road test being a victory over Minnesota (although they sweated out wins at Lubbock and Manhattan).  For the most part Gary Patterson’s group has been the more talented team in every game and they’ve taken care of business eight times.The fact that the Cowboys were able to score 70 points against Texas Tech is impressive. However, this is only if you ignore the fact that the defense, which has been the strength of the all season, gave up 56 points.  Regardless, I’m not going to complain too much about a road victory, especially within the Big 12.The Horned Frogs had their own struggles against Tech, needing a crazy touchdown catch from Aaron Green on a tipped pass to win the game 55-52.Glenn Spencer’s unit will be tested again this week going up against an offense that scores 48.9 points per game.TCU’s OffenseTrevone Boykin is one of the elite playmakers in college football right now. Boykin is currently sitting at 5th in the nation with 2,927 passing yards and his 28 touchdowns put him at 4th nationally. Oh yeah, he only has thrown five interceptions on the year as well.When these two teams played last year Boykin threw for 410 yards and hadthree touchdown passes in an easy 42-9 victory over the Daxx Garman-led Cowboys.Boykin is also a threat with his legs, rushing for 524 yards and 6 touchdowns. With Seth Russell of Baylor now out for the year, Boykin is hands down the best quarterback the Cowboys will face all year.OSU defenseDefensive end Jimmy Bean is listed as questionable for the game on Saturday. Whether or not Bean plays will have a huge effect the pass the Cowboys are able to attack Boykin with. I also like the idea of a Emmanuel Ogbah playing pissed off after being left off the Lombardi Award list. No matter what, the Cowboys defense will have to play A+ football against a team that’s scored over 40 points in every conference game. If anything, last week proved that the Cowboys can win a shootout. I honestly didn’t OSU could score enough to win when it allowed 56 points.Key matchupsBoykin isn’t the only elite played TCU has on offense. Wide receiver Josh Doctson’s 1250 yards are the best of any receiver in the country. He also has 14 touchdowns on 71 receptions this year and will be a tough matchup for Kevin Peterson on the outside. In the blowout win last year, Doctson had seven catches for 225 yards and two touchdowns.TCU also has a productive running game with Aaron Green leading the team with 731 yards and 8 TD’s. Green and Boykin are a great read option tandem that will keep the OSU defense from being too aggressive.TCU’s defense has become vulnerable at times. I’m looking at 37 points allowed against SMU, 52 against Tech and 45 in a narrow victory over Kansas State.I believe this is a somewhat even matchup with TCU being a slightly more talented team, but the fact that OSU is at home holds some weight. This game will be decided by big momentum plays, and the amount of pressure on Boykin will dictate those.If Ogbah and Co. are able to chase him around and force him to throw off his back foot, turnovers will happen. However, if Boykin has time and is able to get comfortable in the pocket then TCU’s offense could be too much.OSU offenseMason Rudolph needs to show more consistency in this game. I only want to see J.W. Walsh inside the five-yard line to score touchdown. Hopefully Rudolph can get the offense moving to the point where he can take about 95 percent of the offensive snaps.Any hope of Chris Carson and Rennie Childs developing in to high-powered running backs may be gone, but Raymond Taylor has shown legitimate potential. Taylor gashed Tech’s defense with two touchdowns, including an impressive 28-yarder. If Taylor were to get a majority of the carries on Saturday you won’t hear me complaining.Prediction timeThe Cowboys cannot afford to go down early against the Horned Frogs like they did against Tech. Even though this is a 2:30 start, BPS should be packed and the fans should be rowdy. If the Cowboys can use the crowd to their advantage I really like their chances. It will take a near-perfect game for OSU to win and think this team is ready to take this next step.Prediction: OSU 41, TCU 37If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Here’s How Oklahoma State Can (Still) Win The Big 12 Title

first_imgIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! OSU lost to Baylor on Saturday night, but the season isn’t over yet. Oklahoma State and OU will play in primetime again next weekend in Stillwater (maybe) for the Big 12 championship. TCU and Baylor play on Friday night. If TCU wins, the OU-OSU winner takes home the crown. If Baylor wins, OU can win the Big 12 title. OSU would have to wait for the Baylor-Texas game. TCU has been eliminated.Go Frogs.So who wins the Big 12? Here’s the updated and much simpler chart. pic.twitter.com/o4TdzjPICH— Max Olson (@max_olson) November 22, 2015last_img read more

PREVIEW: Macau vs India – Asian Cup Qualifiers

first_img2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers: Macau vs India Preview – Blue Tigers seek Royal Flush of points in Asia’s Las Vegas Nikhil Jitendran @_VanJitendran Last updated 2 years ago 07:31 9/4/17 Sunil Chhetri India Kyrgyzstan Asian Cup Qualifier 2017 AIFF Media The Indian team are set to face their Macanese nemesis on the road to the United Arab Emirates in 2019, with form and impetus on their side… For the Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) resident Macanese, the Estádio Campo Desportivo in Tapia will not only be a centre of solace from recent vexations but also one of feisty fandom when India takes on the Macau in an Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 qualification Group A tie.   The Blue Tigers arrive on the estuary’s blustered shores having been handed a firm deliverable – to win three points and have group standings play to their advantage. With six points already from two games sealed down, the Sunil Chhetri-led squad will put themselves into firmly qualification territory and there should be no greater motivation.  Stephen Constantine, the national team coach, however, appraised the home side’s performance in their loss to Turkmenistan as nothing less than impressive and will know that significant knurling will be required if India need to fly out of the Far East with their feet firmly up. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina The Englishman, though, can incontestably state that the morale of this troop is stronger than ever. Coming off the back of a Tri-Nations tournament victory in India, the Indians have yet to taste defeat in their last 10 international outings – with the chronometer reading nine wins and a solitary draw. Their last loss was a narrow 2-1 reverse to Turkmenistan in early 2016.India Asian Cup qualification group table match 2The starting eleven to feature in this tie is set to be slightly different from that faced St. Kitts and Nevis in the commercial capital Mumbai, nonetheless bearing a 4-2-3-1 formation. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the Bengaluru FC custodian, is expected to start in goal taking his place from Subrata Paul.Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika are to retain their central defensive starting slots, while Rowllin Borges will start in the centre of the park – someone oozing with confidence right now, given his performance last time around. Alongside him, Eugeneson Lyngdoh will be expected to moderate the pattern of play.Halicharan Narzary and Udanta Singh will be given the nod to wreak havoc on the wings, the latter in a fine spell of form with his goal in the AFC Cup tie against 4.25 SC last month. The two Northeasterners have zip about their play that gives Constantine the onus to play about in front of a seemingly weaker opposition. Up front, Jeje Lalpekhlua will be let loose, partnered by Sunil Chhetri who will be operating in a number ten role. India’s options off the bench will not be shabby either – with the ilk of Robin Singh and Balwant Singh waiting if needed.India Saint Kitts and Nevis 2017If zest floated forth by the zephyr of promise and potential best defines the Indian camp at the moment, then Macau is at the polar opposite of proceedings. With their nation having tottered over the brink of a natural calamity owing to Typhoon Hato’s devastation, The Greens need a belter of a performance to raise the spirit of their country.The head into this tie with the unnecessary record of not having scored a goal since November last year. They were dismantled by Hong Kong on 2nd September, by a 4-0 scoreline, while their practice tie against Malaysia was canceled altogether owing to the ill-fated storm.Adding to calamities, things off the pitch haven’t been too rosy for the FIFA 183rd ranked side either – their new coach Chan Hiu Ming, a former Technical Director of the Macau Football Association (MFA) has recently taken over the job after Tam Lao San quit citing personal problems.  Having rested a couple of few key players from the starting eleven against Hong Kong in the 73rd Inter-Port game over the weekend, Hiu Ming did bring on Leong Ka Hong and Lam Ka Seng in the second half, with both nursing minor niggles.Macau will not be afraid to start with three men in the back but if things go south soon, Kong Cheng Hou will be sacrificed for Chan Pak Chun to provide some defensive stability. The rest of the team picks itself as prolific leader Paulo Cheang Ieang will once again take on the armband. Niki Torrão will be hoping to pass his fitness test, otherwise, Carlos Leonel Gois who played the full 90 against Hong Kong will be preferred up top.With the underlying conditions sure to dictate the passion on the pitch, it’s hard to see anything but an Indian victory come matchday, 5th September 2017. Kick off is at 5 PM IST.PREDICTED LINEUPSMacau Possible XI IndiaIndia Possible XI Macau 2017TEAM NEWSMACAUDoubtful: Niki TorrãoSuspended: NoneKey Players: Leong Ka Hang, Paulo CheangINDIADoubtful: NoneSuspended: NoneKey Players: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua read morelast_img read more

Mourinho goes with three at the back

first_imgUEFA Champions League Man Utd team news: Jose Mourinho goes with three at the back vs CSKA Moscow Goal Last updated 2 years ago 01:40 28/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jose Mourinho Manchester United 200917 Getty UEFA Champions League Manchester United CSKA Moskva v Manchester United CSKA Moskva Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling will start at the back for the Red Devils’ Champions League match against CSKA Moscow Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has chosen a three-man back-line of Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling for the Red Devils’ Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow.The Portuguese has been known to switch his side into a three-man defence against sides which play a similar formation and he has again added a third centre-back to his team for the clash at the VEB Arena on Wednesday.Man Utd 19/20 to keep CKSA clean sheet Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Ashley Young leads United while switching to right wing-back, having played at left-back in the win over Southampton, while Ander Herrera steps in for the injured Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial replaces Marcus Rashford. There is no Phil Jones due to injury, with Smalling stepping in. On the bench there are places for youngsters Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay.CSKA make two changes from the side which beat Benfica in Lisbon on matchday one, with Sergei Ignashevich replacing Aleksei Berezutski at the back and Fedor Chalov coming in for Aaron Olanare up top.CSKA Moscow XI: Akinfeev; Vasin, Ignashevich, V Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Wernbloom, Dzagoev, Schennikov; Vitinho, Chalov. Substitutes: Pomazun, A Berezutski, Milanov, Nababkin, Natcho, Zhamaletdinov, Kutchaev.Man Utd XI: De Gea; Bailly, Lindelof, Smalling; Young (c), Herrera, Matic, Blind; Mkhitaryan, Martial; Lukaku. Substitutes: Romero, Darmian, Tuanzebe, Mata, McTominay, Lingard, Rashford.last_img read more

Wenger insists Sanchez doesn’t lack desire

first_imgArsenal Wenger insists Sanchez doesn’t lack desire as he backs Chilean to find form Dejan Kalinic Last updated 2 years ago 11:04 10/30/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) AlexisSanchez - Cropped Getty Images Arsenal A. Sánchez Arsène Wenger Premier League The Chilean’s form is of no concern to the Arsenal manager, who has backed his star forward to get back to his best Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he has no concerns over Alexis Sanchez’s attitude, saying the forward would return to his best.Sanchez is yet to find his best form this season with just one goal and two assists in seven Premier League games.Arsenal 5/1 to beat Man City Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The Chile international, whose contract expires at the end of the campaign, was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City in the close-season – and may yet join Pep Guardiola’s side in January or ahead of 2018-19.As Arsenal prepare for a trip to league leaders City on Sunday, Wenger backed the 28-year-old to recapture his best form.”I think he’s coming back stronger physically,” the Frenchman told UK newspapers.”He runs after goals at the moment so he’s a bit frustrated when he doesn’t score, like all the goalscorers. I’m not worried about it, he works hard and that will come back quickly.”You can never try too hard. At the moment he’s marked well, they double up on him, but he still creates many dangerous situation.”He needs to not worry too much. I know when you say that to the strikers they still worry but on a longer period he has always scored goals. That will come back.”#WeAreTheArsenal pic.twitter.com/DpKXzk0Hh9— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) October 29, 2017Despite Sanchez struggling for form, Arsenal sit fifth in the table after a 2-1 win over Swansea City.Wenger said he had no worries about Sanchez’s attitude, insisting the star forward was still desperate to win.”I am not concerned. I am not suspicious of the performances or the desire to win of a football player,” he said.”When you are a player you have a social contract with the rest of the team and I never question that. Once you don’t respect that, it’s difficult to say that you play football.”last_img read more

Report: Bristol City 2 Man United 1

first_imgBristol City 2 Manchester United 1: Last-gasp Smith winner dumps out EFL Cup holders Ryan Benson Last updated 1 year ago 06:01 12/21/17 smith-cropped Getty Images EFL Cup holders Manchester United have been knocked out of the competition by Championship side Bristol City after a late Korey Smith goal. Korey Smith’s stoppage-time winner stunned EFL Cup holders Manchester United, as Championship side Bristol City beat Jose Mourinho’s men 2-1 at Ashton Gate to secure a semi-final berth.United’s team was not lacking in star quality, with Paul Pogba – returning from suspension – starting alongside the likes of Marcus Rashford, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial, but City produced a marvellous performance, Smith’s last-gasp winner sparking scenes of jubilation and a pitch invasion at Ashton Gate.Ibrahimovic and Rashford both hit the woodwork in the first half, but United were by no means in control and City opened the scoring as Joe Bryan netted emphatically just after the break. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player An equaliser followed swiftly, though, with Ibrahimovic – making his first start of the season – scoring a free-kick, eight months on from his last goal after a long injury layoff.And although United continued to create chances, with Romelu Lukaku going close a couple of times, City also remained a potent force in attack.When extra-time appeared to be beckoning, Smith latched onto Matt Taylor’s fine pass and blasted in from close-range in the very last minute to send the Robins into the final four.GOAL: #BristolCity 2-1 Manchester United, Smith 90. #BRCvMUN pic.twitter.com/tVNEwCOaiE — Bristol City FC (@bcfctweets) December 20, 2017 Victory was rich reward for a City side that never looked intimidated and the first chance fell to them, as Sergio Romero tipped over a Josh Brownhill free-kick after just six minutes.United soon woke up and went close themselves, with Ibrahimovic seeing a deflected effort come back off the crossbar following Pogba’s cross.The visitors struck the frame of the goal for a second time in the 21st minute – Rashford hitting the inside of the right-hand post from 20 yards.Still City looked unperturbed, despite United’s chances, and they looked destined to break the deadlock just before the interval.Smith played a quick one-two with Bobby Reid on the edge of the area and darted into the box with only Romero to beat, but Daley Blind tracked his run and made a vital last-ditch tackle.They were not to be denied just after the break, however.Bryan raced on to a brilliant reverse pass played in behind Marcos Rojo by Marlon Pack and then unleashed a stunning left-footed drive into the top-far corner, leaving Romero utterly helpless.Ibrahimovic restored parity just before the hour mark, however, skimming a 20-yard free-kick under the City wall and finding the bottom-right corner via a slight deflection.255 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored his first Manchester United goal since April (vs Sunderland); 255 days ago. Parity. #BRCvMUN — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 20, 2017 Mourinho soon introduced Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – making only his second appearance since November 5 – and the Belgian nearly got United’s second 14 minutes from the end, but Luke Steele pushed his header wide with a fine save.Chances continued to flow at both ends of the pitch, with the lively Jamie Paterson shooting just over for City, before Steele again did brilliantly to stop Lukaku.But just when an extra 30 minutes looked certain, City pounced on a Scott McTominay error and Smith kept his cool from 10 yards at the end of an incisive move to secure Lee Johnson’s men a shock place in the semi-finals. read morelast_img read more

Christian Pulisic shines as USA defeat Panama 4-0 in must-win qualifier

first_imgWorld Cup Share on Facebook None of the 25,303 who packed Orlando City’s stadium will think Arena’s team head to Russia with an eye on the prize, yet this kind of performance in a must-win match will boost confidence levels no end. And, for that, they have that little man Pulisic to thank.While the Panamanians arrived in Orlando knowing a positive result would help them take them a strident step towards an emotional, debut World Cup appearance, it was hard to escape the feeling that it was the home side feeling all the pressure. The last four matches between the sides have all ended in draws. Coming into this encounter, the US couldn’t afford another one. With Panama to face a Costa Rican side who should be in cruise control, a win was imperative.For Arena’s side not to participate in next summer’s finals was something the impressively loud American Outlaws dare not envisage let alone Arena and the man who appointed him, Sunil Gulati. This kind of nail-biting scenario wasn’t what the head of US Soccer anticipated when he brought Arena back for his Second Coming as national coach. His reintroduction gave them the spark so badly missing under Jürgen Klinsmann yet the last few results have induced serious panic.It is as if a run of just one defeat in 16 has somehow been airbrushed from history. That’s what World Cup worries can do to a team. The US should have already qualified by now, sitting on easy street with Mexico and Costa Rica. Nevertheless, the task in hand was simple. Two games, two wins.Unsurprisingly, Arena had urged his side to come out the blocks firing and heap pressure straight onto a Panama side who’ve been notoriously difficult to break down. And so it emphatically proved. Just five goals conceded in this hexagonal qualification tournament meant the US had no option but to sense blood early on.Wood, who helped salvaged a draw in Honduras last month, was selected ahead of Clint Dempsey in the hope his pace could help the US get behind the visitors backline. It was a smart move. The atmosphere was raucous. Expectant. And very loud.Altidore almost helped increase the volume with just two minutes gone when his close-range effort was charged down before Wood poked wide yet this was the kind of high-octane start Arena wanted. Panama, on the other hand, looked nervous. They barely saw any of the ball but on six minutes, Gabriel Torres wriggled free of Matt Besler only to fire high and wide. It was costly miss because just seconds later, Pulisic superbly opened the scoring.Altidore flicked the ball on and the diminutive midfielder expertly skipped clear of Roman Torres before rounding Jaime Penedo and squeezing the ball home. That was just what Arena ordered. The early goal – it was Pulisic’s sixth of this qualifying campaign – to calm nerves on the pitch and in the stands.Pulisic was already proving the difference and with 19 minutes on the clock, he brilliantly turned provider for Altidore, his excellent, low cross from the left wing easily steered home by the former Sunderland striker. The US were rampant. Facebook Share on Pinterest Share via Email U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer)GOT THREE🇺🇸 dominance from start to finish. pic.twitter.com/LeZ4LynXdIOctober 7, 2017 Share on WhatsApp Christian Pulisic And breathe. All those worries and crippling fears of missing out on the World Cup were banished by the brilliance of Christian Pulisic, who produced the kind of stellar performance needed in these types of career-changing games.Bruce Arena had demanded a big performance ahead of this crucial qualifier and, luckily for him, America’s bright young hope expertly delivered. A superbly-taken opener on eight minutes was just the tonic to ease rampant worries of missing out on the party in Russia next summer before the Borussia Dortmund starlet turned provider for strike partner Jozy Altidore to pick up the first of his two goals.His second, a cheekily-chipped penalty after Bobby Wood was brought down in the area just before half-time, spoke volumes about the sudden jolt of confidence flowing through Arena’s men. It was a dominant performance when it really mattered and now that ticket to Russia can be rubber-stamped with a win in Trinidad on Tuesday, though a draw should be enough.Panama, who arrived with such great hope and left totally and utterly deflated, still have a play-off against Australia or Syria to aim for. Honduras, whose match in Costa Rica was put back a day because of adverse weather, also remain in the mix.Yet this night was all about the preciousness of Pulisic. Kicked here, there and everywhere during the 1-1 draw with Panama in March, he responded by driving a dagger through the visitors’ hearts with pace, vision and skill. Boot him? They could barely lay a finger on him.Arena said of Pulisic: “Christian’s first goal was a terrific finish and I was pleased for both Jozy and Bobby Wood. Our top three attackers all had a good night. I’ve never built a team around one player, he’s exceptional and he stands out but for him to be more effective he needs better players around him. The better players we have around him the better he will be. He was kicked a few times, he’s been beaten up a few times in this Concacaf qualifying competition so I wanted to protect him. “It was a good win for our team. We have had a great year despite what people think. We have come a long way, the game in Trinidad won’t be easy but we are in a good position now. It won’t be easy, it will be challenging. We faced challenging conditions in Honduras and Panama so we will be ready. Trinidad are out but will be a handful.”Pulisic’s unforgettable first 45 minutes produced a stat which proves Arena must build a team around the 19-year-old: the goal and assist here means Pulisic has had a hand in 11 of the 16 goals scored in this Concacaf hexagonal. The Dortmund forward is a game-changer, that precious commodity which separates the best from the rest and with youth firmly on his side, the future, all of a sudden, seems incredibly brighter. Christian Pulisic celebrates with Jozy Altidore after USA score against Panama. Photograph: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports World Cup 2018 qualifiers Share on LinkedIn US sports World Cup 2018 Panama news Share on Messenger Wood almost made the game safe three minutes later only for Penedo to stand tall and keep him out. Pulisic was irrepressible – every time he ran at the Panama defense, they were firmly on the back foot. He was terrorizing them. It was hugely encouraging stuff from Arena’s side, even if their defending at times was of a quality which better teams than Panama will have field days with.Tim Howard kept out Torres well on the half-hour mark though Hernan Dario Gomez – who said his side could have lost 10-0 – must have been furious on the touchline. All that hope had been extinguished as his side spent the first half chasing shadows. When the lively Wood was clipped in the area just before the break by substitute Armando Cooper, the game was done and dusted. Altidore’s chip down the middle was the coup de grace on an emphatic first-half performance.Pulisic left the field on 56 minutes to a standing ovation which was utterly deserved before Wood capped his workmanlike performance with a well-taken fourth on 62 minutes.Question marks remain for Arena. His defence needs shoring up and a deeper squad would be handy if serious waves are to be made on the international stage. Yet this was the night Pulisic arrived. And in some style, too. Share on Twitter Topics Twitter USA Pinterest Reuse this contentlast_img read more

‘I was molested by Dr Larry Nassar’: how the gymnastics sexual abuse scandal unfolded

first_img1:42 Share on WhatsApp January 2017 1997 Nassar pleads guilty to seven charges of criminal sexual abuse. He later pleads guilty to three further accounts as part of a plea agreement.  Michigan Show But these words did not fall on deaf ears. And Denhollander, no longer a powerless adolescent gymnast but a 32-year-old attorney and mother of three, agreed to be named and tell her story on camera to the newspaper. For six months, Denhollander stood alone as the only woman to publicly accuse Nassar, with co-accuser Jamie Dantzscher only disclosing her identity months later.But over time, more and more victims were encouraged to break their silence (and in some cases non-disclosure agreements), emboldened in solidarity and sisterhood, among them household names like Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber and many others whom Nassar abused over two decades at Michigan State University, where he was a respected faculty member celebrated for his two-decade body of work with the United States’ world-beating women’s gymnastics team.So it was somewhat fitting that Denhollander was the last of the 156 girls and women to deliver a victim impact statement during Nassar’s seven-day sentencing hearing. She spoke with strength and composure on Wednesday morning in a Michigan courtroom, addressing not only Nassar himself but also the individuals and institutions whose collective failure allowed a sexual predator to systematically prey upon vulnerable young girls. Topics Almost immediately after Wednesday’s sentence was handed down, the dominoes began to tumble Share on Pinterest Play Video It began 16 months ago, before Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo and the tipping point of the US’s national reckoning with sexual assault, with an unsolicited email to the Indianapolis Star, which that morning had published a five-month investigation into the mishandling of sexual abuse allegations by the national governing body of gymnastics.It read: “I recently read the article titled ‘Out of Balance’ published by the IndyStar. My experience may not be relevant to your investigation, but I am emailing to report an incident that may be. I was not molested by my coach, but I was molested by Dr Larry Nassar, the team doctor for USAG. I was 15 years old, and it was under the guise of medical treatment for my back.” 2:14 Share on LinkedIn Nassar becomes national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics before the Atlanta Olympics. He will go on to treat athletes at the next five Olympics and abuse many of them. Olympic champions Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney are among those who said they were abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.  Nassar at his sentencing hearing where he was jailed for 40 to 175 years. Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters The first recorded complaints about Nassar are received. According to a 2017 lawsuit, youth gymnastics coach John Geddert fails to investigate the allegations.  1986 Larry Nassar joins USA Gymnastics as a trainer Claims against Nassar go public for the first time after the Indianapolis Star publishes an investigation into sexual abuse at USA Gymnastics. Rachael Denhollander files a criminal complaint against Nassar, saying she was first abused by him when she was 15. Twitter Was this helpful? November 2017 Support The Guardian Share on Messenger 1:58 ‘I’m a survivor’: US Olympian confronts abuser Larry Nassar in court – video ‘Little girls don’t stay little forever’: abuse victims confront Larry Nassar – video Share via Email According to a lawsuit, Nassar commits his first recorded assault, abusing a 12-year-old girl in the guise of medical research. A year later Nassar gains his medical degree from Michigan State University, where he will commit many of his assaults. 2:41 Reuse this content Share on Facebook Play Video There was no way Rachael Denhollander could have known that that string of words would, in time, unravel the biggest sexual abuse scandal in sports history, one whose effects will resonate for years to come.How easily they could have been swept aside – like so many other reports of Nassar’s molestation under the guise of medical treatment were dismissed, disbelieved or ignored by coaches, administrators, counselors, police and university-employed trainers between 1997 and 2016. Clicking send, as she later put it, was “a shot in the dark”. Pinterest Eighteen women file a lawsuit against Nassar, USA Gymnastics, MSU and Twistars Gymnastics Club. The lawsuit alleges Nassar assaulted the women over a period of 20 years and the institutions named in the suit failed to prevent his behaviour.  Nassar is given a jail term of up to 175 years for sexually abusing athletes in his care. In total, 156 women make impact statement at his sentence hearing, saying he abused them. Handing down the sentence, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina says: “I just signed your death warrant”. US crime features August 2016 Play Video Play Video Thank you for your feedback. Few sports can match the individual physical and psychological rigors of gymnastics, which at the highest level can offer an awe-inspiring look at the outer limits of human potential. But the power of one was never more evident than with Denhollander, the leader of an army whose courage in stepping into the breach will not soon be forgotten. ‘Larry Nassar, I hate you’: abuse victims in their own words – video Share on Twitter Facebook So far, culpability has centered on Nassar, but there are signs those who enabled or obscured his monstrous acts will be held accountable. Almost immediately after Wednesday’s sentence was handed down, the dominoes began to tumble. Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon, supported by the board of trustees amid mounting pressure to resign from the student body and faculty, stepped down that evening. On Friday, the school’s athletic director followed. Three top USA Gymnastics board members left the organization, followed by the remaining 18 after the US Olympic Committee threatened to decertify it as the sport’s national governing body. Corporate sponsors like AT&T, Procter & Gamble, Hershey’s, Under Armour and Kellogg’s, once enamored with the wholesome, family-friendly image put forth by Olympic champion gymnasts, have all severed ties.Bela and Martha Karolyi, the former national team coordinators widely credited with transforming the United States from outsider to the head of the sport’s new world order, have been named alongside Nassar in some lawsuits in California with one complaint alleging they “turned a blind eye to Nassar’s sexual abuse of children”. Last week, USA Gymnastics announced it had terminated its agreement with the Karolyi’s famed Texas ranch, which had served as the national team training center since 2001 and where many of Nassar’s crimes were alleged to have taken places. Timeline Larry Nassar abuse case January 2018 … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. “What I did in the state cases was medical, not sexual, but because of the porn I lost all credibility,” Nassar had written, referring to his conviction for possession of child abuse images in December. “So I’m trying to avoid a trial to save the stress to my community, my family … yet look what’s happening. It’s wrong. I was a good doctor, because my treatments worked and those patients that are now speaking out were the same ones that praised and came back over and over. The media convinced them that it was wrong and bad.“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”That line drew an audible gasp in the courtroom, and when she had finished reading out loud Aquilina tossed the letter aside in disgust. When Nassar refused to admit he was guilty in the final minutes before he was sentenced, stammering meekly “I’ve said my plea”, the judge handed down the maximum term – 40 to 175 years. Her 36-minute statement earned a standing ovation from the gallery with judge Rosemarie Aquilina singling out her principal role in bringing a serial child molester to justice.“You built an army of survivors and you are its five-star general,” Aquilina said. “You started the tidal wave, you made all of this happen. You made all of these voices matter. You are the greatest person I have ever had in my courtroom.”Even in his final days outside the prison walls where he will spend the rest of his life, Nassar demonstrated little understanding of the nature of his crimes. He penned a letter to the judge early in the sentencing hearing that accused the judge of grandstanding and claimed he feared for his mental health amid the parade of victim impact statements. And on Wednesday, moments before taking his freedom, the judge used Nassar’s very words to seal his fate. Judge tells Larry Nassar ‘I just signed your death warrant’ – video “I ask, how much is a little girl worth?” said Denhollander. “How much priority should be placed on communicating that the fullest weight of the law will be used to protect another innocent child from the soul-shattering devastation that sexual assault brings? I submit to you that these children are worth everything. Worth every protection the law can offer. Worth the maximum sentence.”She continued: “I was confident that because people at MSU [Michigan State University] and USAG had to be aware of what Larry was doing and had not stopped him, there could surely be no question about the legitimacy of his treatment. This must be medical treatment. The problem must be me … I was wrong.” 1996 1992 Gymnastics Hide Since you’re here…last_img read more

Sophia Dunkley: ready to use Women’s Super League to claim England spot

first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Women’s Super League kicks off … before all six teams are kicked out Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Read more Read more Share on Facebook Women’s cricket interviews The all-rounder recently spent time with the England squad during their series against New Zealand, a reward for her run of form during the domestic season, including scores of 63 not out and 91 for the England Academy in their warm-up games against New Zealand.“I’ve been training with England, running drinks during the matches, seeing what it’s like to be in that environment,” she says. “I’ve loved being a part of it.”A formal call-up into the England side remains elusive but an expanded Super League presents the ideal chance to push her case. This time each of the six regional franchises will contest 10 group-stage games, doubling last year’s fixture list. Sky will also be broadcasting 12 of the matches live, while all of Stars’ home games will be livestreamed via the Surrey website.“I’m really excited,” Dunkley says. “It’s starting earlier this year, going on for longer, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”Since it was launched in 2016 the Super League has sought to provide a higher level of competition for domestic women’s players than county cricket supplies, and Dunkley is clear it has done just that: “Being able to play at bigger stadiums, there’s music, the fans are buzzing; a lot of us hadn’t experienced that before. That’s what gets everyone quite excited.”Dunkley’s route into cricket was not conventional. Growing up as an only child in a single-parent family in north London, her introduction to the sport came via a neighbour. “He was one of my best friends growing up. We used to live in a cul-de-sac so we were able to play outside. We both joined a club together, a boys’ club, and it just stemmed from there.” Topics Share on WhatsAppcenter_img Cricket Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up Support The Guardian When the third edition of the Kia Super League gets under way at Guildford on Sunday, there is one player for whom there will be more than just the trophy at stake.For 20-year-old Sophia Dunkley, who represents Surrey Stars, it is the opportunity she has been waiting for finally to stake her claim on an England place. “It’s about making a name for myself and getting a bit more noticed,” she says. “If I’m able to put in a few good performances, it would help massively.” Share via Email Since you’re here… “I played at Finchley Cricket Club and went through the youth pathways, then I joined Middlesex. My mum knew people that went to Mill Hill school and I managed to get a sports scholarship there, where I played in the first XI with the boys.”Dunkley says she owes a lot to her mum, who will be at Guildford on Sunday to cheer her on. “She’s done so much for me over the years. Paying for coaches and everything else I needed when I was younger. She used to know nothing about cricket but being around it she’s starting to learn some stuff.”Three years ago she was selected for the England Women’s Academy, the group of players below the international squad. Her game has since come on leaps and bounds, culminating in this season’s purple patch: she averaged 51.5 on the Academy’s tour of South Africa in April and this month played a central role in Middlesex’s victory in the County T20 Cup.For a player who has sometimes been unlucky with injury there is a feeling that this is her time to shine after she missed most of the first KSL in 2016 for unusual reasons. “Two weeks before the start I hit my head on a car door; and then in a game later that week I got hit on the head which induced a concussion. I was absolutely gutted,” she recalls.Last year’s tournament, though, brought more opportunities, with Stars reaching Finals Day at Hove, attended by 3,500 spectators – “the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of,” says Dunkley. “I knew I might get quite nervous and work myself up so I just said: ‘I’m going to enjoy it and whatever happens, happens.’” It worked: she top-scored in the semi-final, making 30.Stars were beaten by the eventual winners Western Storm in that match and are now hoping to go one better; Dunkley is confident that their chances are good. “Nat [Sciver] is in good form for England and Sarah [Taylor] is joining us from Lancashire Thunder – our batting is solid.”From a personal perspective she is hoping that in this year’s competition she will get the chance to show what she can do with the ball. Leg-spin – an under-utilised skill in the women’s game – is an art she developed by chance aged 11. “I used to be a seamer and bowl mainly leg-cutters, and I kept flicking my wrist when I released the ball. One of my coaches at Middlesex said: ‘That seems quite natural to you. Why not start bowling leg-spin and see how it goes?’ There aren’t masses of us around so that’s definitely something that can give me an edge.”For Dunkley – who has just finished her second year of a sports science degree at Loughborough University – the aim is an England contract: “I want to go pro,” she says. There is no doubt that, if she does so, the Super League will have played no small part in paving the way. Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Paul Pogba, the perpetual wanderer: what exactly is his problem?

first_img Eni Aluko Facebook comment Again, Pogba had the stage to kill the suggestion he wanted out, to clarify that he was happy in Manchester and say something positive for a change. He chose to go the other way and, in one respect, at least he wasn’t trying to spin everyone a lie. But you had to marvel at his nerve in the next round of interviews, within 24 hours, when he noted: “Rumours are rumours – but it’s not me who is talking.” Not always, perhaps, but in this instance he sounded very much like the man wearing a balaclava, at the scene of a bank robbery, with his pockets filled with banknotes, telling police which direction the crooks had run away.Perhaps he also conveniently forgets that it is only a few months since Pep Guardiola let slip the claim that the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, had tried to persuade Manchester City to bid for Pogba in the January transfer window. Raiola subsequently claimed that was untrue and Mourinho’s verdict was that “one of them is a liar”. He was right, and I am pretty sure that if Guardiola and Raiola agreed to be strapped to a polygraph most of us would make the same guess whose needle would provide the wildest graph. Share on Messenger Read more Twitter Pinterest Share on Twitter In the main entrance to the Cavée Verte academy, among the trophies won by the youth teams of Le Havre, there is a wall lined with photographs of some of the big names who have passed through these doors. There are about 30 of them in total, all wearing the light and navy blue of Les ciel et marine. Or almost all, anyway. The picture of Paul Pogba on this wall of legends is an action shot from a game for France. “He didn’t stay long enough for us to have photos of him in the club shirt,” an employee explains, almost apologetically, in the biography Pogba, written by Luca Caioli and Cyril Collot.That’s often the way with Pogba. US Torcy’s website used to have its own gallery and, for reasons not fully explained, Pogba was apparently left off. This was Pogba’s club, briefly, on the outskirts of Paris, when he was starting to be noticed as a teenager. Then, a few months later, he was gone, upgrading to Le Havre. “We weren’t necessarily surprised,” explains the former president, Jean-Pierre Damont, “but a bit disappointed to have found out after the fact.”Le Havre were so incensed by Pogba’s move to Manchester United they lodged a complaint with Fifa and in 2012, when Pogba ran down his Old Trafford contract to sign for Juventus, it was another sulphurous exit. United were convinced Pogba had agreed the move long in advance. “I don’t think he showed us any respect at all,” Sir Alex Ferguson said. “To be honest, if they carry on that way I’m quite happy that he’s away, from me anyway.” Mino Raiola, who made £41m from Paul Pogba’s move to Manchester United. Photograph: Valéry Hache/AFP/Getty Images Share on LinkedIn At this point, you might point out that Pogba, to give him his due, did spend four seasons in Turin. Yet that can be slightly misleading given that, two years in, United were informed he was open to the idea of returning to Manchester.David Moyes, United’s manager at the time, was attracted to him, too. But he also had some questions of Pogba that, to this day, still feel relevant. Why, he wanted to know, had Pogba already played for two of the biggest clubs in the world, aged only 21, and decided to leave both? Would he always have that wanderlust? Pogba always seemed to be discussing his next potential move, or being prominently linked with other clubs, and these were unattractive traits as far as Moyes was concerned. The asking price was steep, at £65m, and Moyes was reluctant to spend so much.His loss, you might think, bearing in mind the traumas Moyes encountered in the job. Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean he was entirely wrong about Pogba when there is so much evidence, two years after José Mourinho did bring him back to Old Trafford, that a player who left United for nothing, then returned for £89m, is doing exactly the same again.What, for example, were we supposed to make of those thinly disguised comments, on international duty with France, when Pogba was asked about the reputed interest from Barcelona and could hardly have been more blatant if he advertised his thoughts from a neon sign round his neck. “My future is currently in Manchester,” he said. “I still have a contract, I’m playing there at the moment, but who knows what will happen in the next few months.”Pogba had already informed a huddle of English journalists, on the very first day of the new Premier League season, that if he expressed his true feelings he would be fined and now, speaking to a television crew from Germany, he nodded in agreement when it was put to him that he and Mourinho sometimes had a fractious relationship. Share on Facebook Raiola’s part in this story should certainly not be under‑appreciated bearing in mind the mind-boggling sum he pocketed for himself – £41m, according to the research of the Der Spiegel journalists Rafael Buschmann and Michael Wulzinger in the book Football Leaks: The Dirty Secrets of Football – from Pogba’s last transfer.That, after all, is how agents make most of their money: flogging players, claiming their percentage and taking advantage of the fact that the elite clubs see this side of the business as a necessary evil. As such, it might suit Raiola to negotiate another big-money transfer and, if that is the case, we should know enough about his methods by now to realise that he usually gets his way.Just consider the story Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another of Raiola’s clients, tells about going to see the Juventus director Luciano Moggi some years ago about renegotiating his contract. “I wanted to do the polite thing, treat him [Moggi] like the big-shot he was. The only thing was, I had Mino with me, and Mino doesn’t exactly bow and scrape. He’s nuts. He just strode into Moggi’s office and sat down in his chair with his feet on the desk, without a care in the world.” When Ibrahimovic explained it might not be appropriate, Raiola told him, expletives removed, to shut up. Moggi walked in. There were some angry words and, within an hour, Raiola had arranged the most lucrative deal in Juve’s history. “I knew this guy could negotiate,” Ibrahimovic said. “He was the master at it.”The most disappointing part in Pogba’s case is that when he returned to England it was as the most expensive player in the league and it is difficult to think of more than a smattering of games when he has fulfilled that reputation. Where is the professional pride to show he was worth such a vast sum of money? Should it not be his priority to put that right, to demonstrate why Mourinho once acclaimed him as the best midfielder in the business, to remove the more listless performances and, more than anything, to start playing in a way befitting of his status, as a World Cup winner and category-A superstar? What, in short, is his problem?If the answer is Mourinho, it might be some time before we learn why. But it has to be sad that a player with Pogba’s gifts does not appear to have his heart in it and his latest offerings remind me of Cristiano Ronaldo’s final season in Manchester, when he, too, made it abundantly clear there were better adventures to be had elsewhere. The difference is that Ronaldo, unlike Pogba, had made sure, before anything else, that if United had their own wall of fame his photograph would be among those hanging proudly on it.Not all of Bennell’s victims will get the chance to be heardThe news that Barry Bennell is facing the possibility of more criminal proceedings has to be a good thing when so many of his victims remain absolutely convinced that the last trial covered only a fraction of the crimes committed by a man described by the judge as the “devil incarnate”.Bennell was convicted in February of raping or molesting 12 boys, as young as eight, from the junior setups of Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra in the late 1970s to early 1990s and if there are further charges, with the police expected to pass a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service in the coming months, it is thought they would involve another nine complainants. Those charges would focus on what are deemed the most serious allegations, involving rape, rather than offences of indecent assault.Equally, where does that leave the many others who have come forward to report a man who has already served three prison sentences for offences involving another 16 boys?As of January, 97 people had reported Bennell to the police on the back of Andy Woodward’s interview in the Guardian, in November 2016, about his own ordeal in Crewe’s youth system. Two others had reported Bennell in 2015 – one dying while he waited for the case to come to court – and I was reliably informed in the latter stages of the trial that the publicity had brought others forward, taking the total number above 100.Yet what does it say for the legal process in England that the courts seem to have no way of dealing with the sheer numbers of people who are involved?When Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, was sentenced to 175 years in January, the court in Michigan heard testimony from 156 of his victims. In Bennell’s case, only a fifth of the complainants, at most, might ever get the chance to face him in court. The other 80 or so cases will be NFA’d – no further action – and it is difficult even to imagine how difficult that will be for the relevant people, or the psychological harm it could cause.The issue is with the courts, rather than the police, and the only encouraging news is that Gary Cliffe, one of the players Bennell abused in City’s system, intends to raise the matter, hoping to start a debate about mass reporting, when he meets Helen Newlove, the victims’ commissioner, later this month. As Cliffe says: “All the survivors were asked to come forward and report what happened. They did, in their numbers. And now, for so many to hear nothing will be done about it, is appalling.”A hundred good reasons not to take a punt on WatfordThere is no doubt Watford have had a wonderful start to the season, winning their opening four games to join Liverpool and Chelsea as the only teams in the Premier League to boast an immaculate record before the international break. Yet let’s not get too giddy just yet. “Are Watford the next Leicester?” trumpeted the press release from one bookmaker, announcing it had slashed the odds on Javi Gracia’s team winning the league. Tempted? Watford’s odds have come down from 1,000-1 to 500-1 and, if you are not familiar with betting, that means if you were to put £100 on them you would, well, lose £100.center_img Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Paul Pogba Read more Why is David de Gea exceptional for United and indifferent for Spain? The Observer Manchester United Share via Email Charming one day, insecure the next: the José Mourinho I knew at Chelsea Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Topics Jonathan Wilson Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Squabbles over money before Sala is even buried expose game’s hard face

first_imgIf nothing else, at least there is a body now. Emiliano Sala’s family can grieve properly. A funeral can take place and, tragic as it is, it has to be better this way rather than finding out it was not him in the wreckage of that plane at the bottom of the English channel. At least Sala has been recovered and, as Neil Warnock has said, the family can hopefully find some peace rather than the alternative of him being lost at sea, possibly for ever.Not the pilot, though. The family of David Ibbotson may never have that comfort. The search has stopped now and how can anyone even begin to comprehend the kind of shattering grief and stress they must have endured before, during and after the identification process? It was only going to be one of the two. For the friends and family of Sala, the arrangements can be made to repatriate him to Argentina. As for the second person on that Piper PA-46 Malibu, flying from Nantes to Cardiff, nothing so far. Awfully, there is no guarantee that is ever going to change. Share on Twitter Emiliano Sala: Cardiff City boss leads tributes after body identified Share via Email Play Video 1:15 Share on LinkedIn Those images will stay in the memory: something pure, untainted and so much more fitting than the subplot of two clubs squabbling over money. Nantes, who did not even wait for Sala’s body to be identified before firing off their invoice. And Cardiff, deciding it would be a good idea to corroborate the details with L’Équipe, of all the publications.Cardiff are “shocked”, apparently, and perhaps that is genuine. But why publicise it? Why say anything when it was obvious it would create a terrible stink? Unless, of course, it is a tactic on Cardiff’s part and, without wishing to sound too cynical, there is actually more to this than meets the eye. Because somehow I don’t imagine the initial leak, to the football desk of BBC Wales, originated from France.Unfortunately, it is difficult not to be cynical after watching this story unfold, with all the various agents wanting their cut (five at the last count, plus others hovering on the edges), the particularly impressive efforts of one of these middle men, the reliably noxious Willie McKay, to remind us of Joe Kinnear’s tribute to that particular world (“dogs, worms, vermin”), the standoff between the two clubs and what the latest disclosures tell us about the transfer market in modern-day football. None of it being attractive whatsoever.Maybe I am in the minority here, but I am also not entirely sure we needed to hear the voicemail message from Sala, mid-air, admitting he was “really scared” and saying he thought the plane was breaking apart. Or, indeed, the updates on rolling 24-7 news channels of the operation, stage by stage, to recover his body from the seabed, 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey. Pinterest Share on Facebook ‘A loss to everyone in football’: Neil Warnock leads tributes to Emiliano Sala – video Yellow flowers are displayed in front of the portrait of Emiliano Sala at the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes. Photograph: Loïc Venance/AFP/Getty Images Then I look again at McKay’s role in this story and wonder what possessed him, other than some warped attempt at self-justification, to forward to L’Équipe the sales pitch he emailed to Sala on 6 January. “Emiliano, my name is Willie McKay,” it began. “We are not interested in your personal belongings, finances, holidays, babysitting, it’s not our business.” The only objective, McKay explained very matter-of-factly, was to make money. Sala was his latest pawn and McKay happily admitted he had planted misinformation in the media about Everton and West Ham wanting the 28-year-old striker, trying to whip up interest. “We do not say ‘we are like a father to a son to our players’. No, if you had not been a footballer these people would not be interested in you. No sentiment, we’re just doing business.” Perhaps, in hindsight, Kinnear was being too kind.For those not familiar with the name, it is fair to say McKay has been a notorious figure in football for some time. So notorious, indeed, this column can reveal there was a time when Newcastle United, early in the Mike Ashley era, had a policy not to deal with McKay because, in the words of the then chief executive, Derek Llambias, they did not want to engage with “an animal like that”.Does McKay feel even a flicker of embarrassment that Didier Drogba has trashed one of the lines that was fed to Sala, namely that the former Chelsea player was among the agent’s previous clients? Why did McKay want to publicise this sordid example of his working practices and, on a similar theme, what compelled him to release the text messages from Sala about arranging the flight? Usually I might try to defend the agent industry but in McKay’s case it is particularly difficult. He conforms to the stereotype of every person who sees it as a spivs’ marketplace.Most of all, I have found myself wondering about the pretty unsatisfactory set of circumstances, away from the public shows of grief, that have distorted the headlines during the last week and put the clubs at odds with one another. Sure, there was always the potential that it might get a bit complicated further down the line, especially when Bordeaux are due 50% via a sell-on clause and there are so many agents with their fingers in the pie. But this quickly? I mean, did it really have to be this way?The explanation from France is that it is an expensive business running a football club in Ligue 1 and, well, of course they want what is owed, especially when they have designs for a swish new stadium. Nantes are not skint but they are not well off either and their financial position under the ownership of Waldemar Kita is not helped, it appears, by his habit of throwing good money after bad. In these circumstances, perhaps you might have thought the two clubs at the centre of this tragedy would be united in their grief. Was it so unreasonable to think, at the very least, that they could have refrained from falling out over money before Sala’s body had even been brought to the surface? Or that this wasn’t the time to remind everyone what a hard-faced industry football can be sometimes? The sport, as Gareth Southgate once said, that so many of us love when, in reality, there is much to dislike. The sport where, at a certain level, money blurs what is right and wrong far too often.If you hadn’t heard already, the written demand for Sala’s £15m transfer fee arrived in Cardiff City’s post on Tuesday, including an apparent threat of legal action from Nantes if the money continued to be withheld. Nantes had made it clear in an email the previous Thursday that they had waited long enough. The first bits of wreckage had not even washed up on the shores of Normandy by that stage.Yet the message was clear: Nantes wanted the first £5m instalment wiring through as quickly as possible. Cardiff have been warned they face a possible transfer ban from Fifa if they do not cough up the money. And it is grim, to say the least, to see this being played out in public.It feels particularly galling when both clubs deserve enormous praise for the touching and sincere way they have handled the tributes. Cardiff’s grief has been raw and genuine and Warnock, in particular, has shown there are different layers to his personality. Away from the caricature, Cardiff’s manager is not always “slamming” or “blasting”. There is a soft-focus Warnock and we have seen that side to him, more than ever before, since Sala’s plane went down on 21 January.Nantes, too. Maybe you saw the television pictures of that beautifully choreographed tribute when Les Canaris played Saint-Étienne at the Stade de la Beaujoire, when the game was paused in the ninth minute (signifying Sala’s shirt number), the fans held up thousands of yellow and green cards to create a mosaic of his name and the moment, when play restarted, that the coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, took his seat again and could not hold back his emotion any longer.Halilhodzic’s association with Nantes goes back to 1981, as a player, when he used to wear that No 9 shirt himself. Now 66, he let it all out, weeping into his fist. Facebook Cardiff City Reuse this content commentcenter_img Read more Topics Emiliano Sala Share on Pinterest Twitter Share on WhatsApp The compensation package, for starters, when Miguel Cardoso was sacked as coach in October, four months after being hired. Before that, it was Claudio Ranieri being paid off. Halilhodzic is the 14th manager since Kita, a Polish-French businessman, took over 11 years ago and £15m is a considerable amount for a club that have never spent even half that on a player and are currently 15th, having finished ninth, seventh, 14th, 14th and 13th in the previous five seasons.Nantes have a point: the bottom line here is the transfer was signed off on 19 January and ordinarily the first instalment would have been paid within a week. It goes without saying they ought to have shown more tact rather than, as it stands, opening themselves to allegations of crassness, at best, and a lack of sensitivity that contrasts sharply with the way they have handled everything else. Read more Nantes have retired their No 9 shirt and, like Cardiff, offered to pay for Sala’s body to be flown to Argentina. There would be, and is, so much to admire were it not for the fact that the bickering behind the scenes, however it is dressed up, doesn’t look good at all.Ultimately, though, it was not Nantes who placed this story in the media. Kita, usually regarded as something of a rent-a-quote within the French media, has not uttered a word on the subject and appears to have been caught out by the decision of Mehmet Dalman, Cardiff’s chairman, to confirm to L’Équipe that, yes, the story running on BBC Wales was true. As soon as Dalman spoke on the record, it was carte blanche for every other media outlet to jump on the same story. And it is difficult to think he and Cardiff would not have known that.So, what next? Some common sense, hopefully, but who can be sure where this story will lead when there is so much money involved and Cardiff’s insurance is limited apparently to £16m even though the overall cost, factoring in wages and agents’ fees, will be considerably higher?Of the two clubs, it is Cardiff who can stop this from escalating even further, but it is not particularly encouraging that all the information from south Wales is that, before paying a single penny, they want to find out exactly what happened via the official investigation. Why? An investigation could take a year, minimum. Whatever comes out, nothing is going to change the fact that the last two days of Sala’s life were spent as a Cardiff player.This is the biggest worry here: that Cardiff are going to allow this to become a saga with the potential to run and run. For the most part, Dalman and his colleagues have handled an incredibly difficult situation with great dignity. Now they need to realise it has not helped anybody to go public and that it would be better for everyone, starting with the families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson, if the club did the decent thing and nipped this in the bud. Football is still capable of doing the decent thing, isn’t it? Sportblog Nantes Play Video Nantes demand first slice of £15m Emiliano Sala fee from Cardiff 1:10 Share on Messenger Emiliano Sala ‘will leave an eternal memory’ says emotional Nantes coach – videolast_img read more

Giro d’Italia: Pello Bilbao breaks clear on final climb to win stage seven

first_imgShare on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Hide Share on Twitter Results from Stage 7: Vasto to L’Aquila, 185 km. 1. Pello Bilbao (ESP) Astana Pro Team 4:06:27 2. Tony Gallopin (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +5 3. Davide Formolo (ITA) BORA – hansgrohe ” 4. Lucas Hamilton (AUS) Mitchelton – Scott +9 5. Mattia Cattaneo (ITA) Androni Giocattoli – ” Sidermec 6. José Joaquín Rojas (ESP) Movistar Team +30 7. Sebastián Henao (COL) Team INEOS +48 8. Antonio Pedrero (ESP) Movistar Team +1:01 9. Valentin Madouas (FRA) Groupama – FDJ +1:07 10. Andrea Vendrame (ITA) Androni Giocattoli – ” Sidermec 11. Tosh Van der Sande (BEL) Lotto – Soudal ” 12. Enrico Battaglin (ITA) Team Katusha – Alpecin ” 13. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) Androni Giocattoli – ” Sidermec 14. Rafal Majka (POL) BORA – hansgrohe ” 15. Jan Bakelants (BEL) Team Sunweb ” 16. Miguel Ángel López (COL) Astana Pro Team ” 17. Antonio Nibali (ITA) Bahrain – Merida ” 18. Simon Yates (GBR) Mitchelton – Scott ” 19. Bob Jungels (LUX) Deceuninck – Quick-Step ” 20. Primo* Roglic (SLO) Team Jumbo – Visma ” Overall leaders 1. Valerio Conti (ITA) UAE Team Emirates 29:29:34 2. José Joaquín Rojas (ESP) Movistar Team +1:32 3. Giovanni Carboni (ITA) Bardiani – CSF +1:41 4. Nans Peters (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +2:09 5. Valentin Madouas (FRA) Groupama – FDJ +2:17 6. Amaro Antunes (POR) CCC Team +2:45 7. Fausto Masnada (ITA) Androni Giocattoli – +3:14 Sidermec 8. Pieter Serry (BEL) Deceuninck – Quick-Step +3:25 9. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar Team +3:27 10. Sam Oomen (NED) Team Sunweb +4:57 11. Pello Bilbao (ESP) Astana Pro Team +5:23 12. Primo* Roglic (SLO) Team Jumbo – Visma +5:24 13. Davide Formolo (ITA) BORA – hansgrohe ” 14. Tony Gallopin (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +5:34 15. Simon Yates (GBR) Mitchelton – Scott +5:59 16. Antonio Nibali (ITA) Bahrain – Merida +6:03 17. Miguel Ángel López (COL) Astana Pro Team +6:08 18. Rafal Majka (POL) BORA – hansgrohe +6:13 19. Mattia Cattaneo (ITA) Androni Giocattoli – +6:16 Sidermec 20. Bauke Mollema (NED) Trek – Segafredo +6:19  Cycling news Since you’re here… Spain’s Pello Bilbao claimed the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday, an undulating 185km ride from Vasto to L’Aquila.The Astana rider attacked from a small group of breakaway riders 1.5km from the finish in the final punchy climb, holding off France’s Tony Gallopin and Italian Davide Formolo, who were second and third respectively, five seconds behind.Italian Valerio Conti finished in the main pack, 1m7s off the pace, to retain the overall leader’s pink jersey, as the overall favourites had an uneventful day in the peloton.“It was a really important day for me today. It took a long time to get my first victory in a three-week race,” said Bilbao.“This was only possible with a big team like Astana. Thank you to all of the team.”Slovenian Primoz Roglic, one of the favourites who had led the race earlier this week, lost one of his domestiques for the mountain stages when Laurens De Plus of Belgium abandoned after being sick for a few days.Saturday’s eighth stage is a 235km ride from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro, in advance of a key time-trial on Sunday. Topics Share on WhatsApp Share via Emailcenter_img Quick guide Giro d’Italia: Stage seven results and GC standings Thank you for your feedback. Show Share on Messenger Giro d’Italia Reuse this content Was this helpful? Share on Facebook Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.last_img read more

Tearful Andy Murray wins first singles title since returning from injury

first_imgStan Wawrinka Since you’re here… Andy Murray arrived in China four weeks ago with the humble hope of winning one or two matches per week, gradually building his match fitness while aspiring to feel a little more like himself by the end of it all.On Sunday afternoon, after a frantic month on the road across two continents, he left Antwerp with so much more after defeating Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to win the European Open, his first title since February 2017. The tears flowed as he sat in his courtside chair and took in his achievement. “It means a lot,” he said. “[The] last few years have been extremely difficult. Me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems in the last couple of years. Amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that.“I think it was a great match. Stan was playing unbelievable – hitting winners from all over the court. I just managed to hang in a bit at the end of the second set and the third set was extremely close again. Amazing. I didn’t expect to be in this position at all so I’m very happy.”There has never been a hint of doubt about Murray’s fighting qualities but this four-week run had been a testament to his mentality. A few months ago, after Murray began his singles return in Cincinnati, he looked back at his performances and shook his head. It has been striking to see his improvement as he has gradually won more matches against top players. His movement and serve continue to strengthen.None of that prepared him for the level at which Wawrinka played in this final. He was on a mission from the beginning, serving brilliantly and playing crushing shots indiscriminately off both wings. Murray moved well and constantly to put the Swiss into difficult positions, but each time excellence was required of Wawrinka he came up with something near perfection. Early in the second set he broke with a return game that defied belief. Murray watched four violent winners steam past him. He could do nothing but curse. Coco Gauff: ‘My generation has just decided it is time to speak up’ Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn As in every other moment of his career, he reacted with grit. When Wawrinka was leading 6-3, 3-1 and two break points up his level finally dropped. Murray won seven points in a row thanks to his defence, forays to the net and every last shot in his arsenal. In the tight, breathless games deep into the second set it was Murray’s defence that won the battle.The pressure rose throughout the third set and neither player held serve. Wawrinka fired winners to break twice but Murray’s consistency and defence pegged him back each time and he took control to lead 4-3. When Wawrinka prowled at 4-4 on Murray’s serve, the former world No 1 dug out two more holds, screaming into his fist before breaking for the title.This is the final flourish of a comeback that has defied belief. Nine months ago he was waved out of the Australian Open as his tearful family watched on. Days later he underwent hip resurfacing surgery and just a couple months ago he was still learning how it felt to move freely and chase after balls without sharp, debilitating pain. … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Facebook Twitter Share via Email Read more Support The Guardian Reuse this content Facebook Pinterest Tennis Topics Fleeting nature of tennis greatness makes legacy building tough Share on Messenger news Wawrinka provided perspective of the size of his success. He departed their fateful 2017 Roland Garros semi-final with his knee screaming for mercy and was forced to undergo two operations that August. The Swiss has only recently returned to the top 20 and Antwerp marked his second final since surgery. Only seven tournaments back from injury, Murray has won a 46th career title.He will now head home to prepare for the birth of a third child. “This is one of the biggest wins I’ve had, after everything,” Murray said. “I’m really proud of the win and I’ve enjoyed my time here.“I’ll have three kids under four years old. I need to get on the road so we don’t get out of control. I’m excited for the third kid. My wife’s been a huge support for getting me back on the court and making me fight to keep playing.” Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Andy Murray Read morelast_img read more

England proud to have Phil Neville as manager, says Ellen White

first_imgShare on Messenger Asked what Neville tweaked, she said: “He initially told me to stay in the 18-yard box, which I was quite resistant to because I like to run about a bit and get involved, but essentially staying in the width of the goal is where you’re going to score goals.“It took a while for me to change my game a little and really understand what he meant by that. Being in the right place at the right time and the timing. At the World Cup I was surrounded by very talented players putting the crosses in, so it’s having the balance of the talented players but also being in the right place at the right time.”She welcomes the criticism the team have faced since the World Cup. “We want to be recognised, we want that level of attention, we want to be up there, kind of like the men, if you will. But with that comes criticism, so we just need to take it with a pinch of salt and not get too involved and not get too bogged down in it.”Watching the team struggle from the sofa has been tough. “Sitting at home watching the games has been quite frustrating but I’m really pleased to be back in the fold.”Now, having returned for Manchester City, White has been switched from a non-playing squad member to being in Neville’s plans, and a Wembley appearance would be emotional.“It’s an incredible thing to know we’re playing at Wembley and to make it even more special we’re playing against Germany,” she said. “I’m super patriotic in terms of being very English and the rivalry between England and Germany is massive and those games are so exciting.“It’s a celebration at the same time, to thank the fans for supporting us at the World Cup, and hopefully the progression of women’s football to grow and to get bigger and bigger.“I’ll probably be crying if I’m walking out, to be honest, because it’s such an amazing occasion. You can’t help but be swept up in that emotion. Even at the World Cup it was emotional before walking out for games. It’s an amazing achievement to be part of a World Cup, to be walking out with people supporting you, and it’s going to be an amazing occasion with lots of family and friends there as well. If you’re not nervous I don’t know how you do it.” Share on Pinterest “It’s tough. We’re basically trying to get right for [Euro] 2021, so there’s going to be a lot of changes, different things, different systems, different personnel, and there may not be great performances in that. But ultimately it’s all for one goal and that is to be peaking and performing for 2021.”White has not played for England since the World Cup because of a knee injury. “It’s been challenging watching but I’ve been speaking to a lot of the girls and I understand from the whole group what we want to achieve,” she said.The 30-year-old, who has 88 caps, credits Neville with developing her game, despite initial scepticism. “Awful, he’s horrible,” she said with a big grin. “No, he’s a really lovely guy. He understands what it’s like to be a professional footballer, he understands what it’s like to play for an international team and I think that’s been great for us.“The communication has been there and he kind of tweaked bits of my game that I was a little bit resistant to start with, but I think it’s really helped and I think it showed at the World Cup – being in the right place at the right time and that type of thing – so he’s been a great addition to England and we’re proud that he’s our manager.” Read more Share via Email Share on Facebook Phil Neville challenges younger players to raise their game for England Share on LinkedIn England’s six-goal World Cup striker Ellen White has said the team are fully behind Phil Neville and are “proud” to have him as their manager despite their poor run of form since the summer tournament.“We know what we want to achieve, we know what we need to do to achieve that,” White said in the buildup to England’s game against Germany at a sold-out Wembley on Saturday. news Suzanne Wrack center_img Women’s football England women’s football team Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Topics Phil Neville Read more Reuse this content Manchester City Women Phil Neville says he can handle the criticism – but he can’tlast_img read more