Ivan Rakitic: ‘We saw Football’s Coming Home and thought: yeah, but you still have to play us’

The Barcelona and Croatia midfielder talks about playing England at the World Cup with a virus, how to stay calm when taking penalties and post-tournament exhaustionIvan Rakitic packed his bag, kissed his family goodbye and said see you on the 15th. It was early June and he was not planning to be back until mid-July, four days after his daughter’s birthday. His wife, Raquel Mauri, told him he had better explain, so he made a promise: “I told her: ‘Don’t worry, when it’s over we’ll have a big party,’” he grins. “And I kept my word.” The day Althea turned five, he was still in Moscow. That night he called, wished her happy birthday and said sorry: daddy wasn’t coming home just yet. He had a World Cup final to play. Related: Croatia stun Spain to set up Nations League decider against England Continue reading...

16-11-2018

Bold and brave Root century puts England back in the driving seat

England’s risky sweeping strategy pays off in second TestEngland 290 & 324-9; Sri Lanka 336. England lead by 278 runsA brave and brilliant century by Joe Root has given England the chance of a famous victory in a compelling Test match in Kandy. The England captain’s innings was brave not because he was ever in any physical danger – no pace bowler propelled a ball at him until the 55th over – but because the conception of this knock and the approach of the entire England lineup was so unusually bold and risky.They swept and they scurried and they swept again. Their first seven batsmen were all out sweeping, which can easily prompt old-timers to rail against the modern way. Thus they risked severe censure from the wise men in the boxes if their strategy failed abysmally. It did not. They have scored 324 for nine on what is regarded as a Bunsen burner, seldom seen in England (except at Ciderabad). Continue reading...

16-11-2018

Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

16-11-2018

Thousands of Leicester City fans march to honour Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – video

Thousands of Leicester City fans marched on Saturday to honour former owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others, who were killed when their helicopter crashed following Leicester's previous home match against West Ham. Fans gathered in Jubilee Square and marched towards the team's King Power Stadium  ahead of their match with Burnley waving Leicester City and Thai flags, with others holding up banners. Continue reading...

16-11-2018

Slavisa Jokanovic deserved more time to transform Fulham’s fortunes | Eni Aluko

All too often the very manager who brought success is the one who makes way at the first bump in the roadThe fact we had entered November and not seen a single manager sacked in the Premier League made for a refreshing change. All too often, dismissals are made in a panic and without the long-term good of the club in question taken into proper consideration. This season it appeared a sense of calm and rational thinking had taken over. All managers seem to have been given time.That was until Wednesday, however, when Fulham sacked Slavisa Jokanovic and immediately announced Claudio Ranieri as his successor. Unfortunately, normal service has been resumed. Continue reading...

16-11-2018

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

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

16-11-2018

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

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

16-11-2018

Sports quiz of the week: Wayne Rooney, All Blacks and a generous fan

Who has 125 caps? Who coughed up? Who is being ripped off?Callum Wilson scored on his England debut on Thursday night, meaning he has one cap and one goal. Which of these players has the same international record?Carlton Palmer Rickie Lambert Francis JeffersMark Hateley Wayne Rooney finished his England career with 120 caps. Who is the only player with more?David Beckham Steven Gerrard Peter ShiltonBobby Moore Who will provide the voice of the Green Goblin in the French language version of the new Spider-Man film?Olivier GiroudThierry HenryMathieu BastareaudTyson FuryThe two best rugby teams in the world – New Zealand and Ireland – meet in Dublin on Saturday night. Ireland have only ever beaten the All Blacks once. Where? FranceAustraliaEnglandUSA Why did the FA suspend referee David McNamara for 21 days?He called a ball boy a “little dweeb” when he wouldn’t give back the ballHe laughed in the face of a player who missed a sitterHe lost his whistle so was forced to shout “STOP” to get the attention of the playersHe forgot to bring a coin for the toss so asked the two captains to play rock, paper, scissors insteadNew Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri has managed some of Europe's biggest clubs in his career – including Napoli, Fiorentina, Valencia, Atlético Madrid, Juventus, Roma, Inter, Valencia, Monaco and Chelsea – but he has only ever managed one national team. Which one? ItalyAustraliaGreeceSwitzerlandHow did Coalville Town supporter Damien Trown help the club this week?He ran on to the pitch wearing a full kit without the referee noticing and scored from a cornerHe went to their ground with his lawnmower after the manager had complained about the pitchHe ran on to the field and rugby tackled a streaker – his mumHe gave his replica shirt back to the club as they didn't have one big enough for their new signingThe Golden State Warriors have offered fans a new ticket that costs $100 a month. What is the only drawback for fans?They won’t have a seat or view of the basketball court They are in the singing section and have to pass an audition They have to pick up litter for 15 minutes after matchesThey have to live within a mile of the stadium to qualify for the ticket Which of these football teams has not lost a game in 2018? Borussia Dortmund Paris Saint-Germain The US women's teamEngland women's team Complete this sequence: Moscow, Samara, Kazan, New Jersey, Maryland, Riyadh, Jeddah, London …New YorkMilton KeynesColchesterBerlin1 and above.Oh dear, oh dear2 and above.Oh dear, oh dear3 and above.You'd done OK there. Something to build on for next week4 and above.You'd done OK there. Something to build on for next week5 and above.You'd done well there. A decent score and something to build on for next week6 and above.You'd done well there. A decent score and something to build on for next week7 and above.You're among the elite with that score8 and above.You are excelling in life9 and above.You're among the elite with that score0 and above.Oh dear10 and above.What a score. One to print out and keep. Or at least screengrab Continue reading...

16-11-2018

VAR in the Premier League: How Charlie Austin MIGHT react

BBC Sport imagines how Southampton striker Charlie Austin might react to the news that VAR will be used in the Premier League from next season.

16-11-2018

England 3-0 USA: player ratings from the friendly at Wembley

Debutant Callum Wilson scored and shone, while Wayne Rooney’s farewell was a fitting reminder of his qualityJordan Pickford Saved well from Pulisic to deny USA an unlikely opening goal. Subbed at half-time. 6 Continue reading...

16-11-2018

Schmidt’s Ireland sense All Blacks scalp as world’s best brace for collision

Ireland are unbeaten at home in 10 games as they prepare for what is potentially the year’s most compelling 80 minutesIt is not every day that Ireland are a good bet to beat the All Blacks. Not just any old bunch of silver ferns, either, but a team unbeaten in Tests on European soil since 2012 and still the world’s No 1 side. New Zealand are knocked from their rankings perch about as often as Steve Hansen fancies doing Strictly Come Dancing.Ireland, though, are increasingly sure-footed on the game’s biggest stages. At home they have not lost in their last 10 Tests, dating back to New Zealand’s contentious 21-9 victory two years ago. Under Joe Schmidt they now march to a different tune to previous Irish squads. The 40-29 victory over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016 will always be celebrated but their ambitions remain far from satisfied. Continue reading...

16-11-2018