Calm, alert and brave, Gordon Banks was the ideal goalkeeper for any age | Richard Williams

17-02-2019 For a while, as the 60s bled into the 70s, Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81, was accepted as the finest goalkeeper in the worldNot all of the 11 players who won the World Cup for England in 1966 would claim he was the best in his position the country has ever produced. Two or three might have a good shout, but the one over whom there could be no dissent was Gordon Banks.He was, in short, the ideal goalkeeper for any age. Calm but ever alert, organising his defenders, watching his angles, plucking the ball out of the air, anticipating what a forward with the ball at his feet might do next, as brave as a lion in an era when strikers had a licence to intimidate, his qualities were beyond dispute. Continue reading...

Real Madrid 1-2 Girona: Sergio Ramos sent off in shock La Liga defeat

17-02-2019 Real Madrid miss the chance to go second in La Liga as Girona come from behind to record a surprise away win at the Bernabeu.

Paul Farbrace to step down as England assistant coach after Caribbean tour

17-02-2019 • Farbrace to join Warwickshire as their new sporting director• Blow for England at the start of World Cup and Ashes yearThe countdown to England’s World Cup campaign begins at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday. But one of the architects behind their rise to No 1 in the rankings – and status as favourites for the tournament – will not be seeing the project through to the end.Paul Farbrace, England’s assistant coach, announced on Saturday that he had accepted the role of sporting director at Warwickshire and will step down at the end of the Caribbean tour. The upcoming five-match one-day series against West Indies, and the three Twenty20 internationals that follow, will be his last in the set-up. Continue reading...

The Spin | Sheer pace is sheer bliss though fast bowlers often blow hot and cold

17-02-2019 Mark Wood’s Sunday spell in St Lucia was a refreshing reminder of how pace bowling turns a slow game into a fast oneThere are certain words that are crying out to have “sheer” in front of them. Sheer bliss. Sheer lunacy. Sheer pace.In cricket, sheer pace is sheer bliss, as long as it’s on your side. In St Lucia on Sunday evening England, who had been blown away in the first two Tests by a resurgent West Indies attack, finally produced a riposte. Mark Wood came on after 20 overs, when the game is inclined to nod off, and suddenly every delivery carried an electric charge. Bowling to Shai Hope, Wood beat the bat outside off stump with his first ball, and his second, and his third. The fourth was a bouncer, which Hope wisely ducked. The little box on the screen that clocks the bowler’s speed showed 145kph, or 90mph. A stiff breeze was helping, but then Wood, so often kept off the field by a dodgy ankle, deserved a fair wind. Continue reading...

Cougars claw back in a heartwarming tale of rugby league resurrection | Tanya Aldred

17-02-2019 Keighley were in special measures and heading nowhere in November. Now they are back on the sporting mapIn dark times, stories of resurrection have always worked a treat for those trying to flog a religion or sell a little hope. And in a small Yorkshire town once sustained by textiles, resurrection is exactly what a likable offbeat collective is trying to bring.Keighley Rugby League Club, a regular member of the last-chance saloon, was placed in special measures in November for failing to pay the players’ wages. It looked to be in dire trouble, only to be rescued at the 11th hour by a consortium of familiar faces, the men in charge during the glory years of the 1990s, when the waiting list for boundary boards was so long that the club flogged advertising space on the roof. Continue reading...

David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

17-02-2019 Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

Gordon Banks on ‘the greatest save ever made’ – video obituary

17-02-2019 England's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81. Banks played 73 times for England and was a key figure in Sir Alf Ramsey's legendary 1966 side. However it's Banks's twisting save from Brazilian superstar Pelé that he is often best remembered for, a save deemed 'one of the greatest feats of goalkeeping'Gordon Banks, World Cup winner with England in 1966, dies aged 81 Continue reading...

'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

17-02-2019 Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

Phil Foden ‘brilliant’ for Manchester City against Newport, says Pep Guardiola

17-02-2019 • Manager praises 18-year-old’s influence in hard-fought win• ‘He’s a player who is ready – ready to play’Pep Guardiola praised Phil Foden for producing a “brilliant” performance against Newport County after the 18-year-old scored twice to help Manchester City reach the quarter-finals. Leroy Sané and Riyad Mahrez scored the other goals as the Premier League champions won 4-1 to break Newport’s brave resistance. Related: Sané and Foden send City through as dogged Newport are finally downed Continue reading...

Arjen Robben: ‘If you ask what is the worst stadium for me, it’s Liverpool’

17-02-2019 In his tenth and final season at Bayern Munich the Dutchman talks about his extraordinary decade in Bavaria and burning desire to avenge Champions League traumas at Anfield“‘Enjoy it, enjoy it,’ that’s what you say to young players.” Arjen Robben is wrestling with the question of whether, across two decades of dedication to his art, he has managed to practise what he preaches. “But then you ask yourself: ‘Are you also enjoying it?’ Maybe it’s good, also, for yourself to enjoy it.”It comes to be a recurring theme during a lunchtime at Bayern Munich’s training ground that finds Robben in mellow, reflective mood. Outside, the snow is melting and the sky getting brighter but, with every lengthening day, the winter of his career with the German champions creeps in a little more. In June he will draw a line under 10 years’ service and he fully admits the scale of what he has achieved takes some working through. Continue reading...

FA Cup: Neal Maupay misses a fantastic chance for Swansea against Brentford

17-02-2019 Brentford's Neal Maupay misses a glorious opportunity, firing over from close range during Brentford's 4-1 defeat by Swansea in their fifth round FA Cup tie at the Liberty Stadium.

Sports quiz of the week: a birthday present, a record and a whiskey cup

17-02-2019 Who wants a miracle? Who needs a drink? Who ran the world?What did Susannah Gill achieve in 24 hours, 19 minutes and nine seconds?She rowed from Botany Bay to Belfast She cycled from Asia to AfricaShe ran seven marathons across seven continents in seven daysShe swam from England to FranceNeymar celebrated his 27th birthday this week. In his speech at his party, what did the PSG forward say he wanted as a present?For his teammates “to stop losing without me” To move back to Spain A new metatarsal To become “the Tom Brady of soccer”Where is the Centenary Quaich being contested this weekend?DublinEdinburghLondon Chicago53% of households in New Orleans watched the Super Bowl last year. Why did that figure fall to 26% this year?People listened to the radio instead as Barack Obama was doing guest commentary Fans boycotted because a dubious refereeing decision ruled out their team Donald Trump was in the city so people were out protesting The main broadcast company mistakenly sold rights to New Zealand rather than New OrleansIn which of these leagues has one of the teams not lost yet this season?Bundesliga La Liga Ligue 1 Premier League Serie AAnd which league has a team who have not drawn a game yet this season?BundesligaLa Liga Ligue 1Premier League Serie A What world record did golfer James Nitties equal this week at the Vic Open in Australia?He went 18 straight tournaments without dropping a shot He hit nine birdies in a row He missed the cut at a tournament for the 21st time in a row He lost 10 balls on one roundWhy did Newport County goalkeeper Joe Day sprint off the pitch at the final whistle after his team had beaten Middlesbrough in the FA Cup?To brush his hair and "look smart" for the post-match interviewsHe was “absolutely busting for a number two”He is a Middlesbrough fan and “felt a bit teary”To see his partner, who was in labourDulwich Hamlet signed Simon Bloch Jørgensen this week. What makes Jørgensen stand out?He plays as a goalkeeper but refuses to wear gloves He is the tallest professional footballer playing in EnglandHe wears glasses while playing He insists on wearing a shirt with no branding or sponsorship PSG play Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Which of these footballers has not played for both teams?Gabriel Heinze Ángel Di María Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ray Wilkins Laurent Blanc David Beckham It’s the Madrid derby this weekend, which pits Diego Simeone against Santiago Solari, the sixth different Real Madrid manager he has faced while in charge of Atlético. Who did Simeone face in his first Madrid derby as a manager?Rafa BenítezFabio Capello José MourinhoCarlo AncelottiWhich of the last-16 ties features two clubs that have won the competition three times in a row?Manchester United v PSGAtlético Madrid v JuventusLiverpool v Bayern MunichAjax v Real Madrid 11 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend12 and above.You've done very, very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend1 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun2 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun3 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun4 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK5 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK6 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK7 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend8 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend9 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend0 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun10 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend Continue reading...

Kusal Perera heroics lead Sri Lanka to remarkable Test win in South Africa

17-02-2019 • South Africa 235 & 259; Sri Lanka 191 & 304-9• Tourists put on 78 for final wicket in dramatic finaleKusal Perera produced a swashbuckling innings for the ages to almost single-handedly lift Sri Lanka to a remarkable one-wicket win over South Africa in a nail-biting conclusion to the first Test.The tourists were close to defeat in Durban when they subsided to 226 for nine in pursuit of 304, but Perera held his nerve with an astonishing 153 not out to get them over the line. Continue reading...

Is Tottenham's run of 30 league games without a draw a record? | The Knowledge

17-02-2019 Plus: Old Trafford’s mysterious semi-final snub, back-to-back penalty misses and unused subs. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Tottenham have currently played 30 consecutive Premier League games without drawing one,” notes Wouter van Dael. “What is the longest ever such league run?”The short answer is that Spurs are Premier League record-breakers, Wouter, but only just. “Bolton previously held this title with a run of 28 games between March and December 2011,” writes James Clarke. “But in the wider context of English league history, Spurs have a long way to go yet. Twenty-nine clubs have had longer streaks without a draw at some point – and seven have gone more than 40 consecutive league games without a stalemate: Birmingham (43 games), Walsall (44), Leicester (44), Bradford Park Avenue (44), Stoke (46), Sunderland (46) and Aston Villa (51). Although it is probably worth noting that Sunderland’s is the most recent of these, coming comparatively recently in 1908-09. The slightly interesting quirk here is that five of these seven draw-less clubs are midlands teams.Season 2017-1830 Apr Spurs 2-0 Watford5 May West Brom 1-0 Spurs9 May Spurs 1-0 Newcastle13 May Spurs 5-4 Leicester Continue reading...

Laura Muir in record GB squad for European Indoor Championships in Glasgow

17-02-2019 British Athletics name a record-equalling 48 athletes for the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March.

Stars implode to hand Renegades their first Big Bash title

17-02-2019 Melbourne Renegades 145/5 (20) defeat Melbourne Stars 132/7 (20)Relive the action as it happened - over-by-overThe Melbourne Renegades are BBL champions for the first time, with the Melbourne Stars suffering a stunning collapse of 7-19 with a maiden title in sight. Related: Big Bash League final: Stars capitulate to hand Renegades title Continue reading...

Kilmarnock 0-1 Celtic: Scott Brown scores then is sent off

17-02-2019 Scott Brown's last-minute goal gives Celtic all three points as both sides finish with 10-men in a fascinating contest at Rugby Park.