Town halls were held across Iowa Friday afternoon, to hold discussions on the new Water, Infrastructure, Soil and Economic Development (WISE) legislation introduced in the Iowa House last week.Kip Murphy of Iowa Water and Land Legacy says the bill has a dozen co-sponsors to fund the Iowa Natural Resources and Recreation Trust Fund:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/TRUST.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……..trust fund funded. ;12Murphy met with local residents in Sgt. Bluff and says while 63 per cent of voters approved the funding mechanism in 2010, the fund has sat empty since then:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/TRUST2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……..thing to do. ;15Murphy says Representative Bobby Kaufmann has drafted the bill paying to fund the cleaning of Iowa’s waterways and improving habitat and recreational opportunities;Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/TRUST3.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…….comparable amount. :17Local supporters hope to rally at the state capitol on April 11th to get more support for the bill.
Both drivers were injured when a semi ran into the back of a dump truck pulling a trailer at the intersection of Highway 75 and County Road C-60 in Hinton just before noon Wednesday.The Iowa State Patrol says the dump truck, driven by 42-year-old Johnathan Degroot, was at the stop light getting ready to pull away for the green light when it was struck from behind and then side-swiped by a semi-tractor trailer.Degroot and the driver of the semi, 32-year-old Ryan Van Gorp, were both injured in the collision and taken to Mercy Medical Center by Hinton Ambulance.The accident remains under investigation.
Premier League Tottenham Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Liverpool Goal Last updated 2 years ago 14:00 10/22/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Premier League Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool Liverpool Mauricio Pochettino’s side will hope to continue momentum gained from their 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in midweek Tottenham turned in one of their finest tactical performances under the management of Mauricio Pochettino against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, and will hope to build on that momentum against Liverpool this weekend.Spurs 6/5 for victorySpurs went toe-to-toe with the European champions, earning a 1-1 draw to preserve their unbeaten record in Europe thus far this season and take them a step closer to qualification for the knockout stages. 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 Reds, too, were in fine fettle, earning a remarkable and record-breaking 7-0 victory over Maribor to set themselves up for their trip to Wembley.SPURS INJURIES Mousa Dembele travelled with the Spurs squad for the Real Madrid clash, but he remains a doubt for the encounter with Liverpool due to an ankle injury.Ben Davies missed the game at the Bernabeu due to illness, and it remains to be seen if he will recover in time to face Jurgen Klopp’s men.Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela are certain to miss the game, though winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou could return to the squad after suffering a concussion.SPURS SUSPENSIONS Neither side has any suspensions to worry about heading into the match.SPURS POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP Danny Rose is in contention for Tottenham, after coming off the bench in the closing stages of the 1-1 draw with Real, and he could come back in at left-back, with Jan Vertonghen restored to a central role.It is, though, more likely that Rose will again begin the game on the bench, as he continues to build up his fitness.Dele Alli is likely to return to the XI after continuing to serve his European suspension in midweek, with Moussa Sissoko rested following a lung-busting performance at the Bernabeu, while Son Heung-Min could also start in place of Fernando Llorente.Harry Winks impressed against Real and is likely to continue in the starting XI, while Kieran Trippier may replace Serge Aurier at right wing-back.LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS Jurgen Klopp will definitely be without key winger Sadio Mane against Spurs, after the Senegal international sustained a hamstring injury on international duty in early October.Mane was initially set to be out for around six weeks, but he has been selected by international manager Aliou Cisse for the World Cup qualifiers against South Africa on November 10 and 14.Adam Lallana, a former charge of Pochettino’s at Southampton, will also miss out, and is not scheduled to return until November due to a thigh problem.Defender Nathaniel Clyne and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan are long-term absentees.OPTA MATCH FACTS After a run of four wins and a draw between 2010 and 2012, Spurs are winless in their last nine Premier League games against Liverpool (W0 D3 L6). Liverpool are unbeaten in their last four away league games against Spurs (W2 D2), conceding just one goal in that time and netting nine themselves. There have been 140 goals scored in Premier League matches between Tottenham and Liverpool, two goals shy of the current record set by both Everton/Man Utd and Chelsea/Tottenham (142). Harry Kane hasn’t scored in either of his Premier League home appearances against Liverpool (173 mins) – the only side he’s faced more often without finding the net at home in the competition is Crystal Palace (three apps, 269 mins). Since making his Premier League debut in September 2013, Christian Eriksen has been directly involved in more goals in the competition than any other midfielder (74 – 34 goals, 40 assists). TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME The match will be shown on Sky Sports Premier League and will kick-off at 16:00 on Sunday. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Chelsea Kante in contention against Manchester United but no risks from Conte Peter Hanson 22:36 11/3/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Chelsea Antonio Conte Premier League Chelsea v Manchester United Manchester United The Chelsea boss will only start the midfielder against Manchester United if he is at 100 per cent N’Golo Kante may return for Chelsea in Sunday’s crunch Premier League clash against Manchester United, but boss Antonio Conte will not take any unnecessary risks.Influential midfielder Kante has not played domestic football since the 1-0 defeat against Manchester City at the end of September after injuring his hamstring on international duty for France.Chelsea have lost twice in the six competitive matches he has missed – including a poor showing in a 3-0 Champions League loss at Roma in midweek. 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 Conte confirmed that he will take a late check on Kante’s fitness, but does not want to bring him back too soon.”He’s progressing well, we have also tomorrow and then I [will take] the best decision for him, for the team, but for sure N’Golo is progressing well and I’m very happy for this,” Conte told a pre-match media briefing.”We know we’re talking about an important player.”Honestly, if I wanted to risk him I could do this against Bournemouth or Roma, instead I waited, I found myself a lot of patience to find best way for N’Golo.”It means if I decide to put him in the game he will be ready, otherwise I repeat I could do this against Bournemouth or Roma.”Antonio Conte reports N’Golo Kante is progressing well and after tomorrow, the decision will be made on his involvement versus Man United.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 3, 2017Conte will go head-to-head with former Blues boss Jose Mourinho, with whom he has been involved in several verbal barbs this term.But the Italian, whose side are four points adrift of United in the table, was in no mood to discuss their personal relationship and disputed that Mourinho would be in the mood for the revenge after the Red Devils were beaten 4-0 at Stamford Bridge last term.”I think it’s not important the relationship between the coaches,” he added. “You have to respect the job of the other coach. “I don’t like if I have to speak about the situation. I have respect for the job, then he’s an opponent, I’m an opponent for him, same after the game. It’s not important, I have respect for his job, he has respect for mine.”I don’t forget that they won 2-0 in the second game at home. I think every coach, every player, every team wants to win, not for revenge but you need to win.”
Goal 50 ‘We called him dwarf!’ – The story of Messi’s first days at Barcelona Ignasi Oliva Gispert Last updated 1 year ago 20:00 11/16/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(49) Getty Goal 50 Primera División Lionel Messi Barcelona Argentina It is 14 years since the Argentine made his debut against Porto and here, some of his ex-team-mates look back at his early days at the Catalan club Never had Barcelona’s Cadete B team beaten Espanyol’s Cadete A in the first few years of the new millennium. The Blaugrana, obsessed as ever with technique, had not been able to overcome their rivals, who were physically stronger and more experienced.But one day, that changed. “We went to their place and we scored three,” Marc Valiente, a defender with KAS Eupen in Belgium and one of the captains of that team, recalls to Goal . It was 2002 and Barcelona’s raw diamond was a tiny Argentine aged 14. He was the difference in an almost unbeatable team.Barca evs to beat Leganes to nil 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 Hailing from Rosario, he had arrived in Barcelona just two years earlier and turned up in the Infantil B (Infantil is the Under-12 youth category in Spanish youth football) dressing room “without us even hearing him say hello”, another defender, Robert Franch, remembers.In the youth teams at Barcelona, the new arrivals are always asked the same question. “Where do you play?,” Rodolf Borrell asked Messi in front of the whole team in February 2002. Without lifting his look from the floor, Leo replied in a quiet voice. “As a forward,” he muttered, before taking him off to a corner where he sat in silence.”I was amazed by him,” says Roger Gribet, who joined Barcelona the same day as Messi. “I was conscious that my physical development had opened doors at the club. I was 1.70m at the age of 12, but he wasn’t even 1.50m,” he exclaims to Goal, still surprised, 15 years later.Borrell explained to the boys that Messi was a number 10 “who had come from far away” and who was “very special”, says Valiente, who adds: “Back then, there were no players who came from far away to join La Masia”. Messi was an exception, even then, and that was when the players still hadn’t seen him with a ball at his feet.The Infantil B side soon saw him in action and Valiente remembers that, “on the first day, they played him as a partner to Cesc Fabregas in attack”. There was nothing random about that. “Cesc had a gift,” he adds. “He was a master at reading the game, because he was never well positioned in the rondo (a training drill where a larger group of players tries to keep possession of the ball from a smaller group of defending players), but he always managed to steal the ball somehow.”That day, however, the players saw something completely new. “We were always shown to play with one or two touches,” Valiente explains. “From a young age, we had been taught about control and passing, so the ball moves quickly. But suddenly, here’s a guy who can move the ball in four or five touches at the same speed it took us to pass it.”Nevertheless, they still needed to see it in a proper match. And Albert Benaiges, legendary head of football development at Barcelona for more than two decades, recalled in his book, Líbero : “We had to hurry, because if he didn’t play in those two matches, he wouldn’t have been able to play in a national category until he reached the age of 18”.His first match came on March 7, 2001 against Amposta and he scored a goal. However, his career looked under threat a week later when he suffered a broken fibula away to Tortosa. To this day, it remains the only fracture he has ever had. But at such a young age, it set off alarm bells at Barcelona and one thing was clear: Messi would not play for the Infantil B team again.When he recovered from injury, he began to play for the Infantil A side and there was no trace of his injury. And again, he only featured in a handful of games because Borrell and Benaiges quickly promoted him to the Cadete B side (Under-16 youth category) in 2002. It was in that group where he left a real mark.”Up until then, he had gone largely unnoticed in the dressing room where we had been together for so long,” explains Roger Franch, brother of Robert and goalkeeper in the Cadete B team. “We were a very lively group, but he was always in a corner, alone and quiet.”In training, however, things were different. “He often made us angry because it was frustrating to play against him,” Roger adds. “You asked yourself if you were good enough to do this.” And his brother Robert, a defender, reveals to Goal: “After seeing that the guy was three gears ahead of us all physically and mentally, we decided, with the other defenders, that we would give him a couple of hits to see what happened. But it didn’t matter… he was so quick that we weren’t even able to kick him.”Desperate, Robert explains that “you would go for him and when you wanted to bring him down, he had already left you behind and was taking on the next defender”. And he adds: “He was a machine and he always was – in the training, his technique, in recovery and in the matches.” He and the other centre-backs always sought to avoid him in the one-on-one exercises. “Because we knew we wouldn’t even get a sniff of the ball, whatever we did.” Pau Torras, Cadete B goalkeeper, now with Cartagena, could not believe it. “He would come to training without opening his mouth, leave us all speechless and then go home, all in the most natural way,” he told Goal.Robert sums it up. “Sometimes you thought that the only way to stop him was by getting out a gun and firing a shot, but even then you had the feeling that the guy would swerve the bullet with the ball under his control,” he says. That was Messi at the age of 13.Nevertheless, he was still extremely reserved. Until the team went to Venice to play in a tournament and there, Messi broke the ice. “He started to make his first jokes,” Valiente remembers. “He was so shy that he hadn’t spoken to anybody before that.” He then began to hang around with Victor Vazquez, one of the jewels of La Masia and a great partner for the Argentine in the youth teams. They were also class mates.It was in Venice where his team-mates started to call him “enano” (dwarf). “Even though we called him that for a long time, we didn’t start to do so until we had the mutual confidence which came in that trip to Venice,” Roger Giribet, a striker, explains. “Even when he had made his debut for the first team, he came to see us at La Masia and we said to him: ‘enano, how did you get on with the older guys?’ and we cracked up laughing.”Maybe in private he complained about us, but he was always a delight with his team-mates and I think he is still the same,” Giribet adds. “I have the feeling that if we saw each other tomorrow, we would give each other a hug and it would be as if these 15 years had not gone by.”The generation of 1987 graduated to the Cadete A category almost all together in 2002-03 and came to be known as one of the best teams ever seen at La Masia, working with the late Tito Vilanova and also Alex Garcia. However, nothing lasts forever and at the end of the season, Cesc left to join Arsenal, and a year later, Gerard Pique set off for Manchester United.For his part, Messi kept on moving up, jumping from the Juvenil A (Under-19s) side to Barcelona C (which no longer exists) and then to Barca B, all in the space of a year. At 16, he made his debut with the first team and at 17 he was already a fully-fledged member of the senior squad, under the wing of Ronaldinho, the world’s best player at that time.Giribet, now technical secretary at Balaguer, says: “All of us that knew him and played with him were not surprised by the wonderful technical ability he has but by his ability to adapt so quickly to any given situation.”And he adds: “Messi 10 years ago was able to accelerate and get up to speed in a very small space without losing the ball and as the years have gone by, he has readapted his game to carry on being decisive but with other qualities, such as his finishing or that ability to give the final pass, which he has shown more recently.“In every stage of his career, he has been able to determine what his best virtue is and adapted that for the collective, to keep on being the best for more than a decade. Because from the youth teams until now, he has always been the best.” Giribet also believes that Messi, unlike other players, is unaffected by pressure. “He doesn’t know what pressure is,” he explains to Goal. “There are many talented players who don’t make it because they can’t handle the pressure. My legs were trembling when I played against 1,500 people and he plays the same whether he’s in a Champions League final or in his back garden.” Valiente agrees. “Those of us who knew him weren’t surprised to see him in the first team at such a young age, but by the way he adapted to each new stage of his progression,” he says. And Torras adds: “He was always an unstoppable player and there was never a formula to stop him.”Some 15 years on, sides in Spain and most members of Europe’s elite will know all about that. He was unstoppable then, he is unstoppable now, and he has changed the history of Barcelona. The legend continues.
Lionel Messi Messi: Ronaldo and I have no relationship outside football Ronan Murphy Last updated 1 year ago 20:07 11/25/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Barcelona Primera División The Barcelona star does not think he will become friends with his Real Madrid rival once both players retire at the end of their playing careers Lionel Messi has revealed that he does not have a relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo, and only really speaks to his rival at awards ceremonies.Real Madrid star Ronaldo has previously claimed that himself and Messi put their on-field rivalry behind them when they finish playing and become friends, but the Barcelona forward is not confident that their future is bright beyond football.Ronaldo 6/4 to score first v Malaga 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 “I don’t know if we will be [friends],” Messi told Marca. “Friendship is built through spending time together and getting to know each other.”We have no relationship, mainly because we only see each other at awards ceremonies and that’s the only time we speak. Everything is fine, but our lives don’t cross over very often.”After helping Madrid win the Champions League with two goals in the final against Juventus, Ronaldo is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or again this year. It will be the Portugal international’s fifth award, equalling Messi’s record tally.The duo have finished first and second each year since 2008, but Messi believes that their dominance will be broken in the near future as other players challenge them for the crown of the best player in the world.”There are many great players around today who can win the Ballon d’Or,” the 30-year-old said. “In recent years there have just been two, but now players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Luis Suarez can compete for that award.”Messi accepted the European Golden Shoe award on Friday, picking up the trophy for the fourth time, which put him level with Ronaldo. The trophy is awarded annually to the player who finishes as the top domestic scorer in Europe during the previous season.The Argentina international scored 37 times in La Liga last season, which is the lowest winning score since Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo shared the trophy in 2013-14.
Twitter Tony Pulis, right, oversaw a win over Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal towards the end of last season and West Brom’s fans are divided over whether it was right to sack him. Photograph: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images Facebook Share on Facebook West Brom sack chairman and chief executive in reaction to poor results West Bromwich Albion supporters are arguing among themselves over whether it was a good idea to sack Tony Pulis, two wins in 12 games from the start of the season, and replace him with Alan Pardew, one win in 13 games since.Putting aside for a moment the image that springs to mind of bald men fighting over a comb, this is a genuinely unsolvable dilemma, and one that has just led to the dismissal of John Williams and Martin Goodman, respectively the Albion chairman and chief executive. Operating from the other side of the world, the owner, Guachuan Lai, has just pulled the plug on the pair, not because Albion are seven points from safety at the bottom of the Premier League and looking nailed-on for relegation, as you might expect, but apparently because Williams and Goodman were responsible for the change of manager. Sportblog Reuse this content Share on Messenger blogposts Share on LinkedIn West Bromwich Albion Share on Pinterest Pinterest Topics This is where it gets complicated in the West Midlands, never mind in China. West Brom was not a happy ship when Pulis was in charge this season; the manager was unpopular with supporters and perhaps even with players, and after an initially bright start results were disappointing. The team slipped down the table towards the relegation positions, the pressure on the board to act became unbearable, and Pulis paid the price on 20 November. It did not take long until he was snapped up by Middlesbrough of the Championship, where results have been encouraging, if not spectacular.Boro are in the top half of the table at any rate. West Brom were not quite in the bottom three when he left, and as everyone knows, Pulis has never been relegated in a 25-year career at nine clubs. There is always a first time, of course, and Williams and Goodman could be excused for assessing the pre-Christmas situation and assuming this might be it, though on the other hand the manager they brought in has not exactly brought about an improvement.Pardew is generally seen as experienced and capable, and perhaps more importantly a more emollient presence than a manager who was beginning to annoy some of his players with the rigorousness of his demands in training, though if Albion were supposed to breathe a sigh of relief on Pulis’s departure and earn a few points by playing more relaxed football it failed to happen.There was no bounce with the managerial changeover, not even a short one. Albion, like Manchester City, are thought to need six more wins from their remaining 11 games. While that is the sort of percentage the leaders seem capable of taking in their stride, the task is considerably more daunting for a side with only three wins all season.It is tempting to wonder what difference a rearrangement of suits in the boardroom – the former chief executive Mark Jenkins has been brought back to take over the running of the club – can possibly make to this apparently hopeless situation. When you have just got rid of one of the best firefighters in the business – Pulis probably deserves that billing for his work at Crystal Palace alone – it must be hard to know where to look for another saviour but at this late stage a push for survival can surely only come from pitch level. Share via Email Read more Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Williams has seen this scenario play out before – he was a highly respected chairman and chief executive for more than a decade at Blackburn before the takeover by the Venky’s group – and though there are not necessarily any similarities between the two clubs other than the fact of foreign ownership, the turmoil at Ewood since shows how quickly things can fall apart once Premier League status is lost.Williams and Goodman seem to have been blamed for a bad decision in firing Pulis, or at least for firing Pulis and failing to bring in a high-powered replacement. That is the owner’s prerogative, though if true it is interesting, for the feeling among many supporters is that Pulis should have been removed earlier.What fans are saying now is that all the signs of Albion’s subsequent struggles could be seen in the dismal run at the end of last season, when the team lost nine of their final 12 games and won only once. Yet that single victory was a thumping 3-1 defeat of Arsenal, exactly the sort of performance that made Pulis’s managerial reputation. And one of the two draws brought a hard-earned point in a scoreless encounter at Old Trafford. Most impressively, Albion finished 10th in the Premier League, pretty much what one expects of a Pulis team.Would it really have been sensible for a club of Albion’s stature to remove an experienced manager in such circumstances, or are people simply looking back with hindsight?Opinion remains divided. Some fans feel dull football was a price worth paying for continued membership of the Premier League elite and the occasional ambush of a top-six side. Others argue that while motivation often drops off once one of Pulis’s teams have reached the 40-point survival mark, there was a joylessness in the performances towards the end of last season that hinted at the problems that would surface after the summer break.Either way, the bottom line is that Pulis was not winning enough games, so he had to go. Pardew is not winning enough games either, and the next league fixture at home to Huddersfield this month is beginning to look ominous. How many games Mark Jenkins is going to win remains to be seen, though already there appears to be an acceptance that some of them will be in the Championship.
World Cup 2018 From Abonyi to Zullo: the importance of recording Socceroos statistics Share on LinkedIn Australian media Facebook Television Share on Facebook Reuse this content Share on Twitter Over at SBS Lucy Zelic has inherited the hot seat from Murray and she will anchor the one live free-to-air match as well as the daily wrap show that will go out at 5.30pm AEST. “It will be a very poignant moment when we first go on air without Les,” explains Stuart Randall, executive producer for sport at SBS. “But we’re going to ensure we honour his memory throughout the tournament and we’re going to do a couple of little things to ensure he has a presence throughout our coverage.” Australia Twitter Read more The mellifluous ooh sound Les Murray fashioned when forming the word football is the source of vivid Proustian memories throughout Australia. It transports the world game’s true believers to weekend afternoons watching Murray and Johnny Warren putting the world to rights. For tourists to planet soccer it’s the soundtrack to the World Cup, those quadrennial winters when Murray invited himself into the nation’s front rooms to steward the uninitiated through festivals of futbol. World Cup In other words, it’s still possible to engage with the World Cup without putting your hand in your pocket, but if you want the total immersive experience it’s going to cost a little extra: $14.99 per month to be precise, unless you’re an Optus customer with access through a complementary service, like a postpaid mobile or broadband connection. All the content will be streamed online, accessible via an app or found on TV through interfaces like Chromecast and Apple TV. It is a step into the future, and one not welcomed universally. Australian consumers are accustomed to major sport being accessible for free and without the technological risks associated with streaming services – such as the ones experienced by Optus Sport during the early days of its coverage of the English Premier League. It will take time to establish consumer trust, but executive producer Richard Bayliss is confident it is a mission his team can accomplish.“The technology is now is light years ahead of where it was a year or two ago,” Bayliss tells Guardian Australia. “And there are scores of people whose job it is to make sure everything goes off without a hitch and having seen how hard they’ve been working in the lead-up to the World Cup I don’t think people should be concerned at all.”It remains to be seen if Optus Sport can pull it off. Credibility is on the line with the World Cup representing the highest profile test to date of the nascent platform, and they can expect the slightest malfunction to be pounced on by disgruntled subscribers with any errors magnified by rival media agencies.The on-air production sounds ambitious with Bayliss, Mel McLachlan and Jules Breach anchoring a live broadcast stretching for 11.5 hours through the Australian night. Around the matches there will be supplementary content delivered from the Red Square studio, all with a focus on capturing the real-time experience and responding to unfolding events. For their sake, let’s hope there’s plenty to talk about. Australia sport For fans alternating between offerings, SBS’s package contains one notable advantage – live commentary from Martin Tyler, arguably the most respected English language football commentator. Otherwise the talent on display across productions will feature the usual assortment of former players and coaches, doubtless engaging in varying levels of air-filling analysis and “banter” to which we have become accustomed. SBS has opted not to invest in any supporting entertainment content this year, which means no Jimeoin’s Full Brazilian or Santo Sam & Ed’s World Cup Fever. “Football is about many things,” Murray intoned during his final piece to camera at Brazil 2014. “But most of all it is about joy, a medium by which our lives can become more fun, something which makes us smile through our toils. The World Cup, more than the football, is about having a good time, about having a party, and as parties go, this has been the grandest of them all.” The next party begins with the opening ceremony from Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday 14 June. Australia’s first encounter is against France two days later. Sleep can wait until August. Share on WhatsApp Topics features Share on Messenger The World Cup in Russia will have an unfamiliar feel without Les Murray on Australian screens. Photograph: SBS Read more Pinterest Share on Pinterest For the first time since Mexico 1986 Murray will not be headlining Australia’s World Cup broadcast. He died last year aged 71, three years after announcing on-air that Brazil 2014 would be his last tournament in front of the camera. He leaves behind enormous shoes to fill.The task of maintaining Murray’s World Cup legacy falls not only to his successors at SBS, but Optus Sport, the pay-TV provider that is attempting to pivot from telco to Australia’s home of live football. For Russia 2018 Optus Sport have sub-licensed the World Cup rights from SBS. In a deal that satisfies anti-siphoning regulations, every minute of Russia 2018 will be available to Optus Sport customers while a hand-picked 25 matches plus highlights remain on free-to-air. Those matches include all Australian group games, two quarter-finals, both semis and the final. Sign up to receive the latest Australian sports stories every day Share via Email Jo Fernandes: the Australian woman making World Cup history in Russia
MMA Share via Email At a press conference for UFC’s 25th anniversary in early August, White announced that Nurmagomedov would fight McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. The announcement took place less than a month after the Irishman struck his plea deal, and was capped off with a promotional video that used footage from the bus attack.In fairness, Nurmagomedov-McGregor is a dream fight for UFC fans, and one that many did not expect to happen. McGregor’s brash style and outlandish persona are in stark contrast to Nurmagomedov’s subdued demeanour and intimidating presence, which only adds more depth to an already compelling contest. It is also a fight that is, according to White, expected to break the UFC’s previous pay-per-view record. Share on WhatsApp It should be noted that four of the UFC’s top five most profitable PPV events were headlined by McGregor. In McGregor’s absence over the past two years, the UFC has failed to recreate those figures and has struggled on PPV. The only exception was UFC 207, which featured the return of Ronda Rousey, who has since left for WWE. Given these figures, it is clear why UFC jumped at another McGregor fight.While Nurmagomedov-McGregor is a financial boon for the UFC, it remains a risky venture. The Irishman and his entourage have already caused havoc during the Barclays Center incident. A handful of those men may be present with McGregor this time around, and given that Nurmagomedov also walks around with a sizeable team that has been known to intimidate and confront fighters, the lead-up to the PPV may be explosive.McGregor has also spent the last few weeks stoking religious and ethnic tensions. He posted pictures on social media with captions referencing him “chilling in Jahannam” (the Arabic word for hell) – Nurmagomedov is Muslim. He also posted a picture of one of Nurmagomedov’s training partners, Chechen fighter Zubaira Tukhugov, with the caption: “A true Chechen would never take orders from a Dagestani man.” Nurmagomedov is from Dagestan.Given the loaded statements McGregor has incorporated into his fight promotion, the disdain between the fighters’ teams and their respective fans will be palpable come Saturday night. According to a source close to the event, the UFC is taking steps to ensure the appropriate levels of security are in place for the event. While it remains unclear what this entails, it will likely include increased police presence at the arena, which could potentially limit any clashes between fans. McGregor’s actions that week had a lasting impact. UFC lightweight Michael Chiesa suffered lacerations after the dolly smashed through the window, while fellow UFC fighter Ray Borg suffered an eye injury from shattered glass. Both men were hospitalized and removed from their respective fights. Others, including UFC straw-weight champion Rose Namajunas, were left shaken by the experience. Even UFC president Dana White – who knows the Irishman hauls in big gates and pay per view numbers – appeared disgusted by McGregor’s actions.“Do you want to be in business with Conor McGregor right now?” White said during an impromptu media scrum following the incident. “Do you want to chase this guy around for interviews and buy his fights? Do you? I don’t think anybody is going to want to right now. I think everybody is going to be pretty disgusted with Conor McGregor right now.”The bus incident earned McGregor a significant amount of negative publicity. However, the outrage surrounding the melee died down over the coming months, particularly after McGregor reached a plea agreement in July and pleaded guilty to a single violation of disorderly conduct.For their part, and despite White’s earlier bluster, the UFC opted not to take any action against McGregor. Instead, they have now repurposed the entire incident to help promote arguably the biggest fights in UFC history. Share on Twitter Reuse this content Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Share on Facebook Read more On a chilly Thursday afternoon in April, Conor McGregor stormed into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and proceeded to wreak havoc. The Irishman snuck into the building with the intention of confronting Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was scheduled to compete for the vacant UFC lightweight title that weekend. McGregor, accompanied by an entourage, entered the building’s parking lot and began vandalizing a bus full of fighters before throwing a dolly through one of the windows. Several fighters were hospitalized and removed from their scheduled bouts. The entire scene was captured on video, immortalizing one of the most embarrassing moments in UFC history.McGregor later turned himself in to New York police and was charged with assault and criminal mischief (prosecutors later dropped the two felonies and related charges following a plea deal). Share on Messenger Conor McGregor Read more Potential fights are far from the only security concern facing the UFC 229 main event. During a press conference to promote the fight, McGregor attempted to play mind games with Nurmagomedov by referencing some of the shady characters that have been associated with the UFC champion. One of the controversial figures mentioned was the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who invited Nurmagomedov to host seminars at his fight club in 2016. McGregor has called Kadyrov a “crazy dictator” and those comments were not well received in Chechnya, where Kadyrov rules with an iron fist. One of the fighters who represents Kadyrov’s fight club posted a video warning McGregor that he will “answer for his words” before demanding a public apology. This was followed by an official statement from the Chechen minister for press and information, who questioned McGregor’s mental health before calling him an “outrageous clown” who acts like a “Mexican rooster.”While the intimidation tactics used by Kadyrov and his henchmen have been well-documented over the years, few expected him to target one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet. Though Kadyrov has not personally commented on McGregor or the upcoming UFC 229 event, the statements uttered by the dictator’s mouthpieces should be enough to raise security concerns for the Irishman.The UFC’s decision to place McGregor in this weekend’s main event emphasizes the promotion’s willingness to forfeit punishment for profit. Perhaps more significantly their decision to push ahead with the main event despite the threats directed at McGregor and the rising tension between the Irishman and the Russian’s teams shows UFC is willing to gamble on high-risk situations in order to reap its rewards. features US sports UFC Since you’re here… Paige VanZant: ‘Fighting helped me realise I am a strong, talented woman’ … 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. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. 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. Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest ‘I did a whole lot of crying’: the spectacular fall and rise of Ronda Rousey Support The Guardian Topics
United had topped their qualification group and were second in the Premier League without much hope of overhauling Manchester City, so no one inside Old Trafford could understand why Mourinho’s players gave such a poor account of themselves against feisty but hardly frightening opponents.It should not be too difficult for Solskjær and his players to improve on that forgettable performance, and at this stage of the season there is no reason why United should not try. The difficulty may come later if a decision has to be made between Champions League progress and the league position at home.United are not going for the title and though Solskjær would doubtless love to plonk the European Cup on the Old Trafford sideboard as a calling card – “It’s about time we moved on in this competition” – a more realistic prospect than dreaming of Madrid might be securing a top-four finish. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer features Champions League Read more Topics Pogba drives Manchester United into top four as Fulham fans rail at Ranieri The Champions League resumes on Tuesday, bringing with it the latest instalment of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s bid to rejuvenate Manchester United to such an extent that he will be impossible to overlook at the end of the season.Paris Saint-Germain will arguably present the toughest test of Solskjær’s caretaker period, although United’s league form is better than that of their opponents at the moment. Neymar is out injured and the French side did not look all that imperious when last seen in England at Anfield in September.Thomas Tuchel’s side must have thought they had been handed a route to the quarter-finals when the draw took place in December. Certainly United looked likely to prove the most accommodating English opponent if not quite the weakest link of the last 16, but things have moved on significantly since José Mourinho was sacked a day later. “When the draw was made they were favourites,” Solskjær noted on Friday. “Until we have played PSG you can say we are still the underdogs, but at the moment we feel we can beat anyone.” Share on LinkedIn Marina Hyde Share on Pinterest Manchester United Reuse this content Share on Facebook Read more The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Confirmed United fanatic that he is, Solskjær was watching the Champions League draw on television with his son in Norway when the pairing with PSG was made. “I thought: ‘Wow, what a challenge,’” he said. “Then two or three days later I was in it. Suddenly it’s my challenge, and I can tell you I’ve got goosebumps. It’ll be a fantastic night under the floodlights, the fans will be up for it and it will be a new experience for PSG as well. They’ve been in England but they haven’t been to Old Trafford, have they?”While the debate over whether Solskjær deserves consideration as permanent manager will probably last until summer, what is observably true is that he has rebooted United in a manner that seemed beyond his immediate predecessor, or the two managers before him, come to that.United are now playing with confidence and not a little verve, so the first leg at least is now a daunting proposition for a side not famous for travelling well or proving robust in the latter stages of competitions.One would hesitate to brand PSG as bottlers – they have rather too many players of genuine quality for that – but they can be intimidated and United are in just the sort of mood at present to take up the challenge. “I’m sure PSG will be as wary of Marcus Rashford as we are of Kylian Mbappé,” Solskjær said. “They are both fantastic players who can light up football for the next 10 years.“Even without Neymar PSG have some great players, but now I have had 11 games to prepare for them I think I know what my players are capable of. This tie will bring out the best in them.” Solskjær clearly knows how a Manchester United manager should sound.As long as his players give it a go he cannot really lose against a side as lavishly funded as the French champions. Again, Mourinho managed to set the bar low in this regard, for one of the direst moments of his two and a half years in Manchester was the meek last-16 exit this time last year against Sevilla. Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Anyone deeming such an achievement underwhelming should bear in mind that Mourinho was not on course to deliver it, hence his dismissal, and that United reaching the top four would most likely mean Arsenal and Chelsea and both their new managers missing out. For United, under a caretaker manager, that ought to be enough. Share on Messenger Share on Twitter José Mourinho dancing on ice – at last, he’s served up something watchable The Observer
Pinterest Mauricio Pochettino says he feared ‘massive emotional toll’ of losing to City Read more Read more Share on LinkedIn Tottenham Hotspur Share on Messenger Topics Share on WhatsApp My team lost, but Man City v Spurs was better theatre than Shakespeare Manchester City Share on Facebook Nothing has been achieved yet, and as Pochettino conceded himself, Ajax will prove stern opponents in the two-leg semi-final on 30 April and 8 May. “They beat Real Madrid and Juventus and so are more favourite than us,” he said.But, equally, there is no escaping the sense that, post-Manchester, this is a changed club, one able to stand a little taller, boast a little louder and, having at last moved into their home, well and truly able to move on from the bad vibes of late winter and early spring.Pochettino even allowed himself to indulge in talk of it being Tottenham’s destiny to win the Champions League, and if that sounds a little far fetched it was in keeping with the wondrous, slightly bewildered mood of the day after the night few at the club will ever forget. Fernando Llorente celebrates scoring the decisive away goal for Tottenham. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Champions League No new players arriving in the summer or in January and a stadium move that became so protracted it threatened to engulf everyone at the club in a fog of doom and gloom.And if that was not enough, Harry Kane’s ankle has kept giving way, striking again in the first leg against City and threatening to prove decisive in the second. But Tottenham fought and found a way, as has been the case throughout the season, and it is this show of character Pochettino appeared almost compelled to speak about on Thursday.“To be in the position we are now is because we had the belief, the faith and trust in our quality,” he said. “No one believed in November we would be in this position in April. But we had the belief and that is the most important thing.“This is a massive example for us – how important it is never to give up, to always have faith and believe in yourself, your teammates, the club, the fans. All our decisions we take are to help the club and this amazing history we are writing today will be a massive example for us in the future.” Facebook Simon Hattenstone UK Sport It was a gloriously warm afternoon in Enfield. The sun was out and the air was still, and it made for a particularly pleasant walk to Tottenham’s training ground. Past the Pied Bull pub on Bull’s Cross, on to Whitewebbs Lane, left into Hotspur Way and, finally, into a shimmering, gleaming complex where, shortly after 1pm, Mauricio Pochettino tried to make sense of the madness that had taken place the night before. Share on Pinterest European club football Share via Email Mauricio Pochettino Share on Twitter features Few can remember seeing the 47-year-old as animated as he was at the Etihad Stadium amid the celebrations that followed one of the most dramatic football nights in living memory. Manchester City 4 Tottenham 3 – a contest that veered this way and that and ultimately turned on two VAR decisions, one so late it felt like the final twist of a pulsating movie. Keyser Söze’s vanishing limp, Raheem Sterling’s offside goal. We’ll be talking about both for years to come.And there at the end, cavorting in front of the away supporters alongside players and staff, was Pochettino. Wide-eyed and delirious, a man possessed by euphoria. One could only wonder how he would be in the cold light of the day and having got practically no sleep following Tottenham’s late flight back to London.As it turned out he looked pretty good. Clean shaven and invigorated having overseen a reasonably light training session involving those members of his squad still able to walk after the monumental exertions of Wednesday. He skipped on to the podium of Spurs’ press auditorium, took his seat and waited for questions. There was, of course, only one topic on everyone’s mind – that game. The game.“An amazing and crazy and unbelievable night,” is how Pochettino described it having conceded that, despite the freshness of his appearance he, like his players, felt “tired”.None of them had really slept and even now, what they had achieved in Manchester – a triumph against the odds and a place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition for the first time in 57 years – had them feeling like “we are still in a dream”.Yet there also came an insistence that all involved were “strong and with energy” and ready to go again, which they need to be given it is City at the Etihad Stadium again on Saturday, this time in the Premier League and as part of Tottenham’s efforts to nail down a top-four place. You know, just in case they do not win the Champions League.That Spurs can still be spoken of in those terms at this stage of the season is remarkable, and not just because it busts the keyboard warriors’ theory of this being a squad full of bottlers overseen by a fraud of a manager.The bigger picture also comes into play, specifically the circumstances Pochettino and his players have overcome in order to find themselves at this most captivating of junctions. Twitter Reuse this content
Share on LinkedIn Read more Topics Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook The Observer England hooker Jamie George, centre, throws the ball in training alongside fellow hooker Jack Singleton, left. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images Support The Guardian England’s players were left “hoping and praying” for their families and friends after the emergency lockdown in Tokyo as Super Typhoon Hagibis beat a destructive path across Japan’s capital. The squad have decamped 700 miles south to Miyazaki and out of harm’s way from what was forecast to be the most violent typhoon since 1958.On Thursday, Eddie Jones and the England logistics team took advantage of the cancellation of their match against France – that was supposed to be played in nearby Yokohama on Saturday – by flying here, where they were based for eight days before the start of the tournament, just hours after learning the Pool C decider had been called off. Rugby World Cup Share via Email “It’s one of the many benefits of having Eddie as our coach,” said George. “He told us that there was the potential for this to happen. It came to us as a massive shock to the system, but the most impressive thing for me was how our logistics team handled it all, within a few hours we already had a plan in place.“I know people who have flown here just for the weekend. We’re gutted for those guys. Trust me, we’d much rather be playing as well but as difficult as it is it’s very difficult circumstances. But it’s hugely disappointing for those guys.” The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Rugby World Cup 2019 news Facebook Pinterest England rugby union team “My dad has just arrived and my aunties and cousins also came. My auntie has been here for the whole time and my dad has come over for the [France] game and I think he will stay for the Australia game. It is just trying to make sure they are safe and follow what they are told.“You’re focused on rugby but you know it’s not the be all and end all. You worry for people’s safety in typhoons and you hope nothing serious does happen. But unfortunately there’s already been someone [die]. You just pray and hope that it doesn’t happen too much.“In terms of rugby you want to focus on that as much as you can but you realise it’s all about safety, which is probably why they’ve made that call and we’re not playing.”England were not told the match was officially off until Thursday morning but the hooker Jamie George revealed Jones, who earlier this week retold how he was once nearly seriously hurt during a typhoon, had prepared his players for the disruption caused. Jones coached Japan for four years and has spent many more coaching at club level here. That left a number of the squad saying hurried goodbyes to their loved ones, who had travelled to Tokyo in advance of the France fixture. Vunipola, who was denied the chance to make what would have been a welcome first start of the World Cup, also revealed his father and former Tonga international, Fe’ao, was among his family members stranded in the capital.Winds of more than 120mph hit the Kanto region and torrential rain left 12,000 homes without power. By mid-afternoon there were reports of a first fatality and Tokyo was hit by an earthquake at around 6pm local time. The extreme weather was expected to settle overnight.“It’s been chaos, in terms of logistics,” said Vunipola. “We have families and friends there. That was probably the hardest thing to deal with; realising that the game wouldn’t be on and trying to make plans for them.“Japan is pretty used to typhoons and they have regulations to deal with it, so it’s just a case of them doing as they’re told and us hoping and praying that they’re safe. We are very lucky to be here and I just hope everyone is safe. Twitter … 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. Rugby union Share on Pinterest Since you’re here… Japan ready to think big after hard years keeping up with Eddie Jones Reuse this content
Share on Messenger Rugby union Frenchman Jérôme Garcès to referee Rugby World Cup final England reiterated they are relishing the physical battle against the Springboks with John Mitchell describing Saturday’s final as a showdown between the two most powerful sides in the world and Billy Vunipola telling South Africa to “bring it on”.Erasmus is not due to officially name his team until Thursday but while he has sprung a considerable surprise by being so open so soon, he was adamant he was not engaging in mind games with his opposite number, Eddie Jones.Asked if he was bluffing, he said: “No, I am not. Kolbe will come into the 23 otherwise it will probably be exactly the same. We will only have 160 minutes training this week and we have a six-day turnaround. There is not a lot you can change in that time, just one or two moves maybe.“I have coached against Eddie’s England four times and we have never had discussions via the media. I am expecting another normal buildup to a Test match, although he might surprise us.“On the field, I expect a very well coached, fit England team with a great tactical plan. The physicality they brought to New Zealand was the next level and it had been a long time since I had seen an England team turn up with that much physicality. They will be brimming with confidence.” Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Cheslin Kolbe (right) holding his daughter Kayla, celebrates with teammates despite him missing the semi-final victory over Wales at Yokohama match because of an injury. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian Read more Support The Guardian England had the gauntlet laid down on Tuesday before the World Cup final when South Africa made the surprise decision to reveal their tactical intentions and selection plans two days early.Rassie Erasmus said he plans to pick the same 23-man squad apart from recalling Cheslin Kolbe and strongly hinted the only change to his starting XV would be the return of the fit-again wing. The coach insisted South Africa would be sticking to their guns despite criticism for their ultra-physical, route one approach. Jones does not name his team until Thursday and does not have the same luxury as Erasmus with Kyle Sinckler’s fitness being monitored and Jonny May and Owen Farrell recovering from dead legs sustained against the All Blacks. Sinckler was given his own individual training programme and was largely restricted to boxing and handling exercises but Mitchell is optimistic all three will be available for selection. The latest indications were that Jones was leaning towards resisting returning to a midfield of Farrell, Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade, despite the physical threat posed by South Africa’s Damian de Allende and instead sticking with George Ford at fly-half.Erasmus accepted the criticism for his side’s attritional approach but insisted the Springboks will not change their ways. After their dogged semi-final win over Wales the second-row Lood de Jager said: “The only way we know is fighting fire with fire.”On Tuesday Vunipola responded: “They have already come out and said they want to fight fire with fire and I guess we return it by saying: ‘Bring it on’. It is a final and [their power] is one of those things you have to front up to and one of their biggest assets and something we have been working on. Like Eddie has mentioned they have many different threats and one is their forward pack.”To illustrate the abrasive threat posed by South Africa, Mitchell recalled an encounter with the Springboks from his playing days in 1994. South Africa were touring New Zealand and played a Waikato side featuring Mitchell. The Springboks won 38-17 and Mitchell said: “I got belted and we got belted as well. It was a guy called Adri Geldenhuys. He had octopus arms I think. He got me a beauty. Then the final whistle went and there was [Springbok] Mark Andrews and myself laughing. It was the game in those days.”Courtney Lawes is similarly expecting an arm-wrestle but believes keeping calm will be key for England. “Are they one of the best in terms of physicality? Yes certainly. It’s a big challenge and it’s something we’re going to have to front up to. Rugby World Cup 2019 … 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. Read more Topics Rugby World Cup South Africa rugby team Share on WhatsApp Since you’re here… Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Twitter “They are tough guys, they’re brought up tough and they play tough. So do we. So we’re looking forward to it. We don’t need to do anything special to go out there to win a game, if we all do our jobs we’ve got the quality in the team to beat anyone.” news Ben Curry is excited to watch his twin, Tom, in the World Cup final Pinterest Share on Pinterest Reuse this content
Manchester United Martial and Alexis will be frightening combination for Man Utd Kris Voakes Man Utd Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 00:55 1/21/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(13) Getty composite Manchester United Premier League Anthony Martial A. Sánchez Burnley v Manchester United Burnley Anthony Martial netted the winner at Burnley on Saturday and on current form he and Alexis Sanchez will complement each other superbly It was one of those afternoons when the football felt like the sideshow. Manchester United’s imminent purchase of Alexis Sanchez was the main event and the trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley appeared to be of secondary importance.In the end, it was a piece of magic in the final third which gave United a well-earned 1-0 victory, Romelu Lukaku working hard down the right to buy himself time and space before finding Anthony Martial with a cross-field pass which the Frenchman fired home with aplomb.United might not have had a shot on target in the 53 minutes which preceded their winning goal but they had been clinical when they truly needed to be. Yet beyond that single moment the match was the perfect advert for their decision to usurp neighbours Manchester City by entering the race to sign Sanchez. 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 With Juan Mata anonymous throughout and Jesse Lingard busy but mostly ineffective, the Chilean’s involvement was just what United appeared to be missing for the majority of the game. Their attacks lacked the sort of spark Sanchez can add, seemingly relying on individual moments that none of those in the starting XI were showing themselves to be capable of supplying.It was left to Lukaku to draw James Tarkowski out of the centre of the area and tee up Martial for the game’s outstanding moment, and the former Monaco man didn’t disappoint. Martial delivered a timely feint before firing superbly off the underside of the bar at the near post, completely out-foxing Nick Pope in the Clarets’ goal.This was Martial’s third goal in successive starts, the first time he has achieved such a feat under Jose Mourinho. That stat is reflective of the general upturn in form which has seen him favoured over Marcus Rashford over the past couple of months, and while some initially identified the Frenchman as the potential loser in the Sanchez deal their combined involvement going forward is now a mouth-watering prospect.Mata should be the clear favourite for demotion to the bench given his lack of stand-out showings since his two-goal salvo at Leicester City before Christmas. Whereas Lingard and Martial have come into their own over recent weeks, the Spaniard’s performances haven’t been of a similar standard.And the upgrade could make all the difference to this United side. Having Sanchez and Martial in the same attacking midfield line threatens to be one hell of a weapon for Mourinho’s armoury.The consensus was unanimous around Old Trafford when it was admitted by Mourinho and his staff that Sanchez was a target. “United need him more than City” seemed to be the message, and events in Burnley only serve to back that up.But as Martial continues to make the difference for now, United fans can only imagine what their side might be capable of once he has Sanchez teeing him up. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Manchester City Guardiola: All teams are judged by titles Nicholas McGee 07:22 1/24/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Geoff Caddick Manchester City Guardiola Bristol City v Manchester City Bristol City League Cup With his side earning plaudits for their free-scoring performances, the Man City boss knows the final judgement will come from winning trophies Pep Guardiola knows his Manchester City side will be judged on trophies rather than the fantastic performances they have produced this season, as they closed in on the first silverware of a possible quadruple.Guardiola’s men claimed a 3-2 win at Bristol City in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie with the Championship club, securing a 5-3 aggregate victory.Leroy Sane’s deflected opener and a Sergio Aguero strike four minutes into the second half effectively put the tie to bed, though Marlon Pack and Aden Flint levelled matters on the night before Kevin De Bruyne celebrated his new contract with a late winner. 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 After a trophy-less first season, a maiden honour in England is in sight for Guardiola, who collected 21 over his stints at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, with Chelsea or Arsenal awaiting in the final on February 25.And Guardiola accepts trophies are the only thing that will decide how this City side are judged, regardless of the scintillating style of play that has seen them surge 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League.”We are so happy to be there [in the final]. For everybody involved. It was an amazing game. These kind of games never end until the end,” Guardiola, for whom the game marked his 500th in management, told Sky Sports .”It [Bristol City’s comeback] is a good lesson for Cardiff [in the FA Cup fourth round] and for the Champions League – play until the 90 minutes.”We saw what happened after 0-2. We knew if we scored two goals it would be easier.11 – Pep Guardiola has now won 11 of his 18 semi-final ties, winning 10 of those finals, including each of the last six. Glory. pic.twitter.com/EwvWsVuhS0 — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 23, 2018 “Maybe we should have scored three or four goals. In the end, there were one or two minutes left and it was 2-2 – anything can happen.”We won a lot of games over six or seven months. That belongs to us and nobody can take away what we have done, but all teams are judged by the titles they win.”Chelsea and Arsenal are strong teams. Anything can happen.”City are back in action on Sunday with an FA Cup clash against Cariff City.
Liverpool Liverpool Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Huddersfield Melissa Reddy Liverpool FC Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 17:36 1/30/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Liverpool Premier League Huddersfield Town v Liverpool Huddersfield Town Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at John Smith’s Stadium on Tuesday evening Jurgen Klopp has instructed Liverpool to “get immediately back on the winning track” when they travel to Huddersfield Town following two consecutive defeats in which they turned in abysmal performances.A 1-0 league loss at Swansea City was compounded by a 3-2 FA Cup exit courtesy of West Browmich Albion at Anfield on Saturday, doing a disservice to their 18-match unbeaten run which preceded the nightmarish week.Huddersfield, meanwhile, could lose their opening four league matches of a calendar year for the first time since 1988. 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 LIVERPOOL INJURIES “We have again a few knocks, different things, but nothing decided so far in this moment,” Klopp said when assessing his options at Melwood on Monday.“It looks like all the players who were available for the last game are available again, but not 100 per cent.”Adam Lallana and Ragnar Klavan have not recovered from muscle issues and will remain on the sidelines.SUSPENSIONS Neither side have any suspension concerns for this fixture.LIVERPOOL POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UPLoris Karius should return between the sticks, with Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson resuming their roles at full-back. Jordan Henderson, who made his comeback off the bench against West Brom, should be in contention to start on Tuesday. Klopp could choose to refresh his forward options with Danny Ings or Dominic Solanke if required.HUDDERSFIELD TEAM NEWS Klopp will be determined to see Liverpool show a strong reaction as he comes up against his best friend, David Wagner. But the Huddersfield manager is looking to profit from the opportunity to further weaken the Reds. “They have lost two games in a row. They look vulnerable at the minute,” he said. “Does it mean we will be successful? No. Does it mean we have a chance? Absolutely.“We have in every game, especially here at the John Smith’s Stadium, and if there’s a chance we will be there to grab it with both hands.”If Huddersfield are to frustrate Liverpool in the first 45, the visitors should remain patient – no side has scored fewer second half goals in the league this season than the Terriers (7), who have also conceded more after the interval than any other side (30).Midfielder Danny Williams was substituted with a dead leg in the FA Cup draw against Birmingham and will require a late check.Terence Kongolo should be available after shaking off a niggle.TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME Kick off is at 8pm BST (1pm CT) and the match will be televised live in the UK on BT Sport.BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS In their last game against Swansea, Liverpool recorded an xG figure of 2.52 – it’s the largest expected goals figure for a team who didn’t score in a Premier League game this season.The Reds have scored at least twice in each of their last six Premier League away games – just one short of their record in the competition of seven between February and May 2014. Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in nine goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances against newly promoted teams (seven goals, two assists). The Brazilian has netted three goals in three games against promoted sides this season. The Reds are yet to lose back-to- back Premier League games under Jurgen Klopp, last doing so in September 2015 when Brendan Rodgers was in charge. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
Transfers Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Man Utd ready €200 Isco bid Goal Last updated 1 year ago 21:23 2/24/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(4) Getty Images Transfers Primera División Premier League Bundesliga Serie A Ligue 1 Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond Man Utd ready €200 Isco bidManchester United are ready to lodge a €200 million bid for Real Madrid playmaker Isco when the summer transfer window opens, reports Don Balon.The Spain international has struggled to hold down a regular starting berth throughout his time at Santiago Bernabeu.Jose Mourinho is prepared to offer him a key role at Old Trafford, with personal terms worth £17.6m-a-season set to be tabled. 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 Scholes understands De Gea desireManchester United legend Paul Scholes has told Goal it will be tough for the club to hold on to David de Gea if Real Madrid make a summer move for the star goalkeeper.The Spain international has long been linked with a return to his roots in the Spanish capital, and another approach could be made in 2018.Find out what Scholes has had to say on a possible deal here.New Liverpool deal for Mane?Jurgen Klopp says it is “no secret” that Liverpool want to keep Sadio Mane at the club amid suggestions he is going to be offered a new deal.With the Reds having reluctantly parted with Philippe Coutinho during the January transfer window, the hope is that the services of other star names can be retained.Read the full story on Goal.Rafinha against Barca returnBarcelona midfielder Rafinha hopes his loan spell at Inter is converted into a permanent transfer.Rafinha joined Inter in the January transfer window, with there a clause in his deal which can see a €38 million deal pushed through in the summer.Check out what the Brazilian has had to say on his future here.Lewy’s agent makes Madrid contactRobert Lewandowski’s new agent has already made contact with Real Madrid, according to Polish outlet Przeglad Sportowy .The Bayern Munich striker changed his agent this week to Pini Zahavi, who helped Neymar move to Paris Saint-Germain this past summer. And Zahavi has already reached out to the Blancos, who are reportedly willing to offer Bayern around €150 million for the Polish star. Chelsea ready bumper Hazard dealChelsea will look to get a new deal for Eden Hazard tied up by offering him £288,000-a-week, reports Don Balon.The Blues are eager to get fresh terms in place with the Belgium international forward and quash talk of a possible big-money move to Real Madrid.City & Utd set for fresh transfer battleManchester rivals City and United are ready to lock transfer horns once again in pursuit of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, claims the Daily Record .The two fierce foes battled it out for Alexis Sanchez during the winter window, and have both been linked with Shakhtar Donetsk star Fred.They will now join the hunt for Milinkovic-Savic over the summer, with the Serbia international rated at around £80 million.Conte keen on LascellesChelsea are considering a summer bid for Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles, according to the Evening Standard .The 24-year-old centre-half has impressed in the Premier League for the Magpies and the Blues see him as an ideal addition who would also help to bolster their home-grown quota.Liverpool get Alisson warningLiverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been told only a ‘super offer’ will lure Alisson away from Roma, reports Calciomercato .The Brazilian goalkeeper is expected to spark a scramble for his signature when the window re-opens, but it could take as much as €100 million to secure his services.Martial contract talks stall as Spurs lurkTalks over a new contract for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial have stalled, according to RMC Sport. The 22-year-old’s deal runs until June 2019 and despite a strong season, his future is in doubt after United signed Alexis Sanchez in January. Tottenham and Inter are monitoring Martial’s situation closely, hoping to make a move if the France international doesn’t sign a new deal. Barcelona drop interest in Fekir Barcelona are no longer interested in signing Lyon’s Nabil Fekir, reports Sport . The Catalans like the France international, who has been linked with Arsenal, but have decided they have enough attacking players and do not need to purchase another expensive option.Barcelona have also decided they aren’t interested in Fekir’s team-mate Houssem Aouar, whom the La Liga leaders feel isn’t ready to be a contributor at the highest level yet. City and United to battle for KroosManchester United and Manchester City will battle to sign Toni Kroos this summer, according to El Confidencial. The Real Madrid midfielder is ready for a new challenge after spending four seasons in Spain and at 28, feels now is the time to try his luck in the Premier League.Man City manager Pep Guardiola coached Kroos for one season at Bayern Munich and just like with Alexis Sanchez, appears set to go head-to-head with Jose Mourinho for another player’s signature. PSG in for DonnarummaParis Saint-Germain are ready to make a move for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, reports AS . The Ligue 1 side have not been convinced by either Kevin Trapp or Alphonse Areola, and are willing to make a big-money bid for the Italy international. Juventus close in on Darmian moveJuventus are nearing an agreement to sign Manchester United full-back Mateo Darmian in the summer, reports Corriere dello Sport. The Serie A champions have been monitoring the 28-year-old for some time, and the Italy international appears ready to move on from the Old Trafford side after three seasons. Man Utd renew Seri interestManchester United are stepping up their efforts to land Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, according to the Mirror . Paul Pogba’s future has been thrown into doubt with his recent dip in form, and Jose Mourinho could activate Seri’s £35 million release clause in the summer.Arsenal step up Rugani interestArsenal will make a move for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani in the summer transfer window, according to Rai Sport, via Football Italia. The 23-year-old has been a target for the Gunners for several years, and has thus far been unable to become a regular starter for Juventus. Napoli are also in the mix for the Italy international, whose contract runs until June 2021.Umtiti seriously considering United moveBarcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti is seriously considering a move to Manchester United, according to Don Balon. The 24-year-old is seeking an improved contract with the La Liga side after establishing himself as an integral part of the team. Umtiti is demanding £135,000-a-week and with Barca only prepared to pay £100,000-a-week, the France international is turning his attention toward a possible move to Old Trafford. Guardiola to sign new deal worth £20m per yearManchester City manager Pep Guardiola is set to sign a new contract worth £20 million per season, according to the Daily Mail. Guardiola is in the second of a three-year contract with City and his team’s huge success this season has convinced City Football Group to offer the Spaniard a raise and an extension. The new deal will be worth around an extra £3m per year and will keep him at the Etihad until the summer of 2021.Milan open to selling Arsenal target SilvaMilan are willing to sell disappointing striker Andre Silva this summer, according to Calciomercato.com. Silva arrived from Porto just last summer in a €38 million deal, but is still yet to score his first Serie A goal. The 22-year-old has been a longtime target of Arsenal, and the Gunners could land their man with Silva’s agent Jorge Mendes willing to offer his client’s services to Premier League clubs in the summer.Torres ready to move to ChinaAtletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres could be moving to Chinese club Dalian Yifang sooner rather than later, reports Marca . Torres and manager Diego Simeone are thought to have had a recent falling out, and the 33-year-old could be set for a quick move to Asia with the Chinese Super League transfer window closing at the end of the month. Inter scouting Marseille starInter are scouting Marseille midfielder Frank-Andre Zambo Anguissa ahead of a possible move, according to Calciomercato.com The 22-year-old has also been attracting interest from the Premier League, with West Ham and Newcastle both on the trail of the £8.8m-rated Cameroonian.Milan, Juve and Liverpool to battle for CeballosJuventus, Liverpool and Milan are set to battle for Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos this summer, reports Calciomercato.com The 21-year-old only signed for the Blancos last summer, but has found playing time hard to come by and was visibly upset Wednesday when Zinedine Zidane put him in for only the final 29 seconds against Leganes.Madrid paid €16.5 million for Ceballos last summer, but would reportedly be unwilling to sell for anything less than €30m.
Germany 0 Mexico 1: Lozano stuns woeful reigning champions Guy Atkinson Last updated 1 year ago 00:57 6/18/18 Getty Images Hirving Lozano scored the only goal of the game as Mexico secured a thoroughly deserved win over a desperately poor Germany. Germany’s defence of their World Cup title started with a whimper as they suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Mexico in Moscow on Sunday.Joachim Low’s side came into the tournament on a run of poor form, winning just one of their six friendlies since qualifying for Russia 2018 with a 100 per cent record.Those recent struggles were evident from the outset against a vibrant Mexico, who scarcely gave their more illustrious opponents a chance to settle during a pulsating opening. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move Their positive approach was rewarded with the only goal of the game after 35 minutes when Hirving Lozano finished off a flowing counter-attacking move with a crisp drive.Joshua Kimmich and Timo Werner both came close in the second period, but Mexico were able to hold on for a famous victory with something approaching relative comfort. Low must quickly lift his team for their next Group F game against Sweden on Saturday, while Mexico know a win against South Korea on the same day would give them a wonderful chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.Wow! #MEX stun the #WorldCup champions in Moscow! #GERMEX 0-1 pic.twitter.com/XOtAWcKD8U— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 17, 2018Manuel Neuer was handed a first competitive start since September and would surely have been called into action inside the first minute had Jerome Boateng not superbly blocked Lozano’s close-range effort.Werner then fired a warning shot across the face of Guillermo Ochoa’s goal during a breathless opening few minutes.Any thoughts that Mexico would be overawed by Germany’s assortment of superstars continued to be dispelled during a high-octane first half-hour, Hector Moreno heading straight at Neuer from their clearest opening.Germany looked shell-shocked by Mexico’s verve and vigour, eventually falling behind 10 minutes before the break.Javier Hernandez’s superb one-two with Andres Guardado allowed him to spin away from Mats Hummels just inside the Germany half and feed Lozano down the left.The PSV forward then cut inside the wafer-thin resistance offered by the back-tracking Mesut Ozil to crash a shot inside Neuer’s right post.Primer partido en @FIFAWorldCup, primer .@HirvingLozano70. #NadaNosDetiene | #Rusia2018 | #GERMEX pic.twitter.com/5fXbYQhK58— Selección Nacional (@miseleccionmx) June 17, 2018That deserved lead was nearly extinguished just two minutes later, however, when Toni Kroos’ dipping free-kick arrowed towards the top corner. Ochoa did wonderfully well to deny the midfielder, getting the faintest of touches to push the ball against the crossbar.Yet any thoughts that Low’s star-studded team would come out for the second half rejuvenated failed to materialise.Mexico were able to keep them at bay until Kimmich’s ambitious overhead kick and Werner’s instinctive close-range effort both flashed narrowly over in quick succession midway through the half.After squandering a number of golden opportunities in the closing stages, with Miguel Layun particularly wasteful, Mexico were fortunate to see Julian Brandt’s half-volleyed effort clip the post in a frantic finish to proceedings. Key Opta Facts:- Germany have lost their opening match at a World Cup for only the second time, also doing so in 1982 against Algeria (they went on to reach the final that year).- This is the third consecutive World Cup in which the reigning champion has failed to win their opening match – Italy drew 1-1 with Paraguay in 2010, while Spain lost 5-1 against the Netherlands in 2014.- Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup fixture since 2006 (Portugal v England, 29 shots in a 0-0 draw).- Mexico have lost just two of their last 18 World Cup group games (W9 D7).- Germany named their oldest starting XI for a World Cup match (27 years, 310 days) since the 2002 final against Brazil (28 years, 166 days). read more
Female coaches from around Australia took part in a Women’s Leadership Elite Coach Workshop last weekend in Brisbane. Each state and territory in Australia was represented at the workshop, which was made possible following Touch Football Australia (TFA) receiving a Women’s Leadership Grant from the Australian Sports Commission. The weekend included a full day Leadership workshop with Athlete Assessment’s Bo Hanson, as well as five Touch Football specific modules from the new Elite Coach Course presented by Australian Women’s Open coach Peter Bell and former Australian Women’s Open coach, Kerry Norman. Australian Women’s 27’s World Cup representative and 2015 ACT Women’s T League Assistant Coach, Melinda Ingram said she enjoyed the opportunity, learning with like-minded women with similar goals.“I really enjoyed being involved in the pilot program – especially because it was a women’s leadership course. I felt like I was in a safe environment where there was no judgement and everybody’s skills and knowledge were valued,” Ingram said.“I learnt that leadership can take many forms, whether it is coaching, being a role model and mentor for other players, or just leading by example. I have no doubt that as a result of this course we will start to see more women in elite coaching roles.”“The course has given me the confidence to complete my accreditation and get involved in more coaching.”TFA Hall of Fame member and Queensland Women’s 20’s coach, Renee Murphy also found the Workshop beneficial. “It was an excellent learning environment. I do think having all women there is a more relaxed environment for the less experienced to be more vocal and interactive. I also enjoyed how we could identify with an actual team and see direct results over time with the Aussie Women’s team when Pete was presenting.“I’m more confident in my technical opinions on the game. I have also made and reconnected with fellow coaches and mentors.” Related LinksElite Coach Workshop
Facebook: www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter: www.twitter.com/touchfootyausInstagram: www.instagram.com/touchfootballaustraliaYouTube: www.youtube.com/touchfootballausSnapchat â€“ search for â€˜TFAofficialâ€™ We caught up with Australian Mixed Open coach, Micheal Lovett this week in the lead up to the 2016 Trans Tasman Series. Join us as we hear about the teamâ€™s preparation and what they are looking forward to for the series. How were your two camps earlier this month?They were very compressed because obviously doing them back-to-back on both weekends created some challenges around fatigue and potential injuries and players being able to stay focussed for extended periods of time so that was a bit of a challenge for us. The quality was at a lot higher level from where we normally start out our first camps in previous campaigns, we havenâ€™t had to rehash everything because Iâ€™ve got eight players left from World Cup, so the download of information to new players was probably hard for them but the uptake overall was probably better than what weâ€™ve had in the past. How good is it to have eight of those players back again this year?Itâ€™s massive, our spine is still really strong, weâ€™ve quality ball players in Dean Springfield and Trent Touma and Iâ€™ve got some exciting young players like Adam Pryde and Ciaran Toner. How much are you looking forward to next week?Iâ€™m looking forward to a bit of redemption actually because last time we were on New Zealand soil my side didnâ€™t play the way that I expect a side coached by myself would. Our selections werenâ€™t quite right last time, we werenâ€™t prepared to get in the trenches and have a go. It was a big wake up call for us, which was quite good because if we didnâ€™t have that wake-up call we probably donâ€™t win World Cup so sometimes you learn a lot from your losses which I think we did. Who are you looking forward to seeing out on the field and who has impressed you so far?Iâ€™m really looking forward to running a couple of things, Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing how our new girl wingers go. Weâ€™ve been quite lucky to get someone like Simon Lang back too, he unfortunately missed out on World Cup, but heâ€™s a smart young player who is very passionate about the game. Cameron Nicholls was recently announced as captain, how much are you looking forward to seeing him in that captaincy role?I think Camo is going to offer a few different things in the captaincy role for us, we have a different model when it comes to leadership in our team. Camo will lead by actions, by doing his role and then doing off field promotional stuff, whereas Trent Touma is the spiritual leader of our team. Thatâ€™s why we are set up a little bit differently to the other teams, in that on the field Trent is the director and go-to person and Cameron will learn to find his own leadership style and the players will warm to that because they know that the way the team is modelled, weâ€™ve got a captain but weâ€™ve got different people in the group that do different leadership activities. With Cameron, the biggest thing for him is if he does what he did at World Cup heâ€™ll lead from the front and lead with actions rather than a lot of words. Do you know much about the NZ team youâ€™ll be playing against?Thereâ€™s four or five players coming back, like Mackenzie Haugh, Wiremu (Takerei), a couple of girls coming back like Tina Ashworth who plays for Sydney Rebels, sheâ€™s a very savvy female link player. Theyâ€™ve started to adopt similar to what we are doing, theyâ€™ve drafted a lot of players from their Youth program. On home soil you canâ€™t take them lightly and if they do what they did last time they gave us a few late surprises. They are a very savvy nation, no matter who they put on the park theyâ€™ll learn very quickly from the first and the second test match. What involvement will you have with Japan seeing as the Mixed teams wonâ€™t be playing Tests against them? What Japan have done, like what weâ€™ve done with Elite Eight, weâ€™ve got our best players playing Menâ€™s and Womenâ€™s, and Mixed is a development ground. They did have a few really classy players in their Mixed team at World Cup but I believe they are playing Menâ€™s and Womenâ€™s now, and weâ€™ve got four of our boys playing in the second Test match against Japan. My men are Tonyâ€™s (Trad) players as well so thatâ€™s a true reflection of how our program runs. Most of them have been around that Menâ€™s program for a period of time now as squad members, so itâ€™s a bit of a reward for their service. They are still world class players those guys, they are in the top echelon of players in Australia. Weâ€™ll be keeping you up-to-date with all of the latest news, information and results from the 2016 Trans Tasman series on our website and social media channels, so you wonâ€™t miss any of the action: Be sure to use the hashtags #transtasman2016, #oneteam and #teamaustralia across all of our social media platforms and send in your messages of support for the teams on our social media channels.Related LinksMicheal Lovett interview