Tag Archives: collapse

John McCririck taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival

Racing pundit McCririck taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival

Louise Eccles


18:49 GMT, 12 March 2013



20:40 GMT, 12 March 2013

Television pundit John McCririck has been taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival.

The 72-year-old will spend the night at Cheltenham General Hospital where he will undergo tests but his condition is not said to be serious.

McCririck isn't presenting Channel 4's coverage of the four-day festival for the first time in 30 years after it was revealed in January that he wouldn't be part of the corporation's broadcasting team.

His wife blamed his collapse on the stress of being sacked by Channel 4. McCririck is currently suing the channel for 3m for ageism and loss of earnings.

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

The 72-year-old – who was dropped by
Channel 4 in favour of a new racing team headed by Clare Balding –
called his wife before the last race today to say he felt unwell.

As he walked to meet her, he
apparently took a turn for the worse and had to be treated at the edge
of the parade ring by paramedics. He was then taken to hospital in an

Prior to his collapse, McCririck was
seen sitting in the media centre alone, looking glum. He rose
periodically to smoke a cigar on the balcony outside.

The commentator claims he was axed by
Channel 4 for being too old. In a statement issued in January, he said:
‘After 29 years with Channel 4 Racing, on a rolling annual contract, I
have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation. I am
72. For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public
humiliation, stress and mental anguish, I will be seeking 500,000.

John McCririck

John McCririck's wife

Ill: McCririck complained to his wife about feeling unwell before taking a turn for the worse

‘Ageism is illegal. For tens of
thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society.
This litigation should prove to be a watershed.

‘There’s no upper limit to the amount of damages employment tribunals can award under the Equality Act 2010.

‘I am seeking a further exemplary,
punitive 2.5m, part of which will be donated to charitable
organisations helping to prevent negative prejudice in the workplace.’

Channel 4 denied the allegations and said they would ‘vigorously’ defend the claim.

Maroune Fellaini wanted by Everton

He's the Fella-ini for us! Chelsea target 20m raid for Everton midfielder



14:53 GMT, 17 December 2012

Chelsea are planning a 20million raid for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini when the January transfer window opens.

Fellaini has been one of the Barclays Premier League success stories this season afetr a run of eight goals in 16 appearances for the Toffees this season.

Wanted man: The Everton midfielder is being tracked by Chelsea

Wanted man: The Everton midfielder is being tracked by Chelsea

But he hit the headlines at the weekend after head-butting Stoke's Ryan Shawcross in an off-the-ball incident at the Britannia Stadium.

This has not deterred the Blues who want the Belgium international to shore-up their midfield, according to the Evening Standard.

Head boy: Fellaini has landed himself in hot water over this incident

Head boy: Fellaini has landed himself in hot water over this incident

Fellaini signed a new five-year deal at Goodison Park a year ago, but could be tempted away by an offers from Stamford Bridge.

The 25-year-old joins Radamel Falcao and Theo Walcott on the Roman Abramovich's shopping list to ensure the club's already faltering season doesn't totally collapse.

India v England third Test in Kolkata – England on brink of history

England on the brink of history after sealing victory at Eden Gardens



05:04 GMT, 9 December 2012

The end may not have come as glitteringly as they would have liked, but there was no escaping the scarcely believable truth: having outplayed India at a venue where they had not lost for nearly 14 years, England stand on the brink of one of the most famous series wins in their history.

If you had offered Alastair Cook a 2-1 lead after the disappointment of Ahmedabad, the chances are he would have taken you into the corner and given you a stern talking-to.

India have not lost successive Tests at home since early 2000, when South Africa won in Mumbai and Bangalore. For Cook, in his first series as permanent Test captain, it is heady stuff.

On the brink: England became the first side to beat India at Eden Gardens for over 13 years

On the brink: England became the first side to beat India at Eden Gardens for over 13 years


We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

His second stumping in Test cricket, and the two quick wickets that followed, may have taken just a fraction of the gloss off England’s win, but the captain could be forgiven.

Without his second-innings rearguard in the first Test, his team might not have developed the self-belief necessary to have a crack in the second.

Without his rock-solid century in Mumbai, Kevin Pietersen might not have batted with the licence he did, battering Indian aspiration on a heady Saturday afternoon at the Wankhede.

And without Cook’s 190 here at Eden Gardens, India might not have been ground into the dust, a precursor to their inexplicable post-lunch collapse yesterday.

Cook has lost all three tosses, but made good his dodgy calling twice. Really, it is one of the great examples of leadership-from-the-front, even if he might have set more aggressive fields while England sought to take India’s final two wickets last night.

Man of the match: Cook clocked up his third century of the series

Man of the match: Cook clocked up his third century of the series

But while there is scope for improvement, Cook generally handled his bowlers superbly well in a Test which exposed the cracks in the Indian edifice. The front page of Times of India this morning picked a team for Nagpur that included only five of the men who lost here. It was like England in the 1980s.

England, mercifully, will now look only forward. Through a combination of injury and error, they did not alight on their best attack until this game. Their fans will think it was worth the wait, although the curiosity was that the usual roles were reversed: a spinner, Monty Panesar, was leading wicket-taker in the first innings, while the Jimmy Anderson and Steven Finn – both finding reverse-swing, both outstanding – shared six in the second.

Other pieces fell into place, too. Nick Compton looks increasingly at home, Jonathan Trott made his first score of the series, and even Ian Bell – a peripheral figure until now – insured against a calamity this morning with a run-a-ball 28 not out.

You’ve got to hand it to them. They rightly had their wrists slapped after the first innings in Ahmedabad, when their protestations about improving against spin just sounded like hot air. But they have responded with a resolve that, for much of a traumatic year, appeared beyond them.

This series isn’t over yet: India can still salvage a draw at Nagpur, where the pitch may not be designed to last five days. But they have answered some serious questions. Now for one more.

Fabrice Muamba says he could play football again

I could play again: Muamba says he'll make comeback if doctors give him the all clear



15:14 GMT, 22 November 2012

Fabrice Muamba has not ruled out playing football again so long as he is given the all clear by heart specialists.

The Bolton midfielder was forced to quit the game in August after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton at Tottenham in March.

But now he says there is hope he could kick a ball again if his heart rate returns to normal.

Holding back the tears: Fabrice Muamba says he could play football again

Holding back the tears: Fabrice Muamba says he could play football again

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester Muamba hopes he could play again.

He said: ‘Maybe in two years, if I go for a check-up and my heart rhythm comes back to normality, we’ll see if anyone wants to take me on.

‘I really don’t know [if it will be possible to return]. It all depends on my heart rhythm and how it heals.

‘If it comes back to normality, we’ll see what the specialist says regarding me playing again. But at this present moment, I just have to take it easy and spend time with my family.’

Back on the pitch: Muamba went back to the spot where he suffered a cardiac arrest a White Hart Lane

Back on the pitch: Muamba went back to the spot where he suffered a cardiac arrest a White Hart Lane

Muamba’s heart stopped for 78 minutes following his collapse on March 17, and the world of football united as the DR Congo-born midfielder fought for his life.

He was released from hospital less than a month afterwards, but Muamba was advised to quit the game on medical advice.

Speaking about the incident at White Hart Lane, Muamba said: ‘On the day, I was fine. There was no heart problem, no irregular heartbeat – there was nothing like that at all. I was in the right condition and I was looking forward to playing the game.

‘Just before the incident, I felt kind of dizzy and couldn’t concentrate. My mind went into a different mode and, all of a sudden, I lost control. My heart just stopped and I fell down.

Horror moment: Bolton and Spurs players watch on as Muamba is treated on the pitch

Horror moment: Bolton and Spurs players watch on as Muamba is treated on the pitch

‘I wasn’t aware of anything at all. It wasn’t until I woke up on the Monday or Tuesday that I understood what was going on. I was very shocked because I wasn’t expecting to be in hospital.’

Muamba acknowledges that he is lucky to be alive, it was the passing of Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, who collapsed and died during a match in Italy in April, that truly gave Muamba a fresh perspective on his own recovery.

Will he play Muamba says there is hope he could play again

Will he play Muamba says there is hope he could play again

‘I couldn’t believe that could happen to me, but then when it happened to Morosini in Italy, that’s when I realised how big an issue it was,' added Muamba.

‘He didn’t survive and I survived. I just have to be grateful for the life that I’ve got now.’

Despite his career ending prematurely, Muamba is able to reflect on his achievements in the game, including representing England at various youth levels, winning promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham City in 2007 and playing more than 150 times in the top flight.

‘I’ve lived most people’s dream by playing football,” continued the former Arsenal youngster.

‘I’ve played in the Premier League and the Championship. I’ve played for the national team from Under-16 to Under-21, I played at the Under-21 Championship twice and I played in the FA Cup semi-final.

‘I’m grateful for it all. I can hold my hand up and say I tried my best.’

Fabrice Muamba: I have come to terms with the fact that I will never play professional football again

I have come to terms with the fact that I will never kick a ball again, admits Muamba


14:09 GMT, 3 November 2012



14:11 GMT, 3 November 2012

Fabrice Muamba says he has come to terms with the fact that he will never play professional football again.

Muamba earned plaudits from leading figures within the game for his determination to return to action following an on-pitch cardiac arrest in Bolton's FA Cup tie at Tottenham in March.

The 24-year-old had a pacemaker fitted to help ease the pressure on his heart, but he retired in August upon doctors' advice.

Reality: Fabrice Muamba

Harsh reality: Fabrice Muamba

Muamba admits quitting the game was hard, but the former Bolton man, who has gained huge notoriety since his collapse, concedes he has accepted the fact that he will never kick a ball in anger again.

'I've already adjusted myself to the idea that I'm never going to be able to kick a ball again but life brings different challenges,' Muamba told the BBC's Football Focus.

'When I first came to the country football was the only thing I ever knew.

'I'm sure I'm not the only professional who won't be playing football for a very long time who has to adjust in their life after football.

'You just have be able to make sure you enjoy the game but you also have to able to accept the fact your time is up and move forward to a different direction.'

Muamba, who is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but represented England's Under 21 side 33 times, spent a month in London's Chest Hospital after being rushed there immediately after collapsing on the turf off the ball at Spurs' north London home.

The pacemaker, and the treatment he received at the hospital, have enabled him to make a good recovery.

'I still have a bit of damage on my left ventricle but I'm getting better every single day,' Muamba said.

'The pacemaker now and again kicks in just to make sure the heart rate for me is normal and hopefully it gets better every single day.'

International honours: Muamba won 33 England Under 21 caps

International honours: Muamba won 33 England Under 21 caps

Since he retired Muamba has flown across the world in his attempt to publicise heart problems in young men.

He has also got married and has written an autobiography, which is out next week.

His collapse caused an outpouring of sympathy from leading figures within the game and he is grateful for all the support he has received since that day in March.

'I'm just grateful for all the professional people that have come up against me have supported me,' Muamba said.

'It just shows when football gets together you can produce this sort of response.'

Demba Ba contract: Newcastle want him to sign new deal without clause

Clause for concern: Newcastle want rid of Ba's contract buy-out in new deal



23:09 GMT, 2 November 2012

Newcastle United want to secure a new contract for striker Demba Ba and the first priority is to get rid of his 7.5million release clause.

The Senegal international has been linked with numerous Barclays Premier League rivals, including tomorrow’s opponents Liverpool, since the details of his current deal were revealed a year ago.

Contract issue: Demba Ba has a release fee clause in his current deal

Contract issue: Demba Ba has a release fee clause in his current deal

No club came forward in the summer with a firm offer for the 27-year-old, who has scored 30 goals in 55 English league games for West Ham United and Newcastle, but that could change with the January transfer window looming.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew signed the striker after he scored seven goals in five months at Upton Park and West Ham were relegated.

Pardew moved quickly despite concerns over a failed medical which led to the collapse of a move to Stoke City before West Ham signed Ba from Hoffenheim for 6m.

Nigel Adkins takes blame as Southampton go out of League Cup

It's all my fault: Adkins takes blame as struggling Saints crash out of cup to Leeds



00:25 GMT, 31 October 2012

Nigel Adkins shouldered the blame for his Southampton side's Capital One Cup exit at Leeds, accepting the majority of the 11 different faces he fielded did not take their chance to shine.

Goals from Michael Tonge and El-Hadji Diouf and a Luciano Becchio penalty helped the Championship side to their second successive top-flight scalp, with their 3-0 victory earning them a first quarter-final berth since 1996.

Neil Warnock's men had the run of the park against a below-par Saints side, with Adkins' much-changed side unable to find sanctuary from their dismal Premier League form.

Finding it tough: Nigel Adkins took all the blame for Southampton crashing out

Finding it tough: Nigel Adkins took all the blame for Southampton crashing out

But having lost to Tottenham just over 48 hours ago, Adkins was of the opinion that he could not have put his first-team players through another tough workout and accepted the responsibility for tonight's collapse.

'We didn't perform anywhere near what's expected of a Southampton Football Club team,' he said.

'Forty-eight hours ago we had a high-intensity game and I made the relevant changes. I take full responsibility. We wanted to play tomorrow, but the powers that be wanted it to be tonight.

'But we gave the players who have not been in the team to the chance to show what they could do, and they did not take it.'

The players Adkins refers to are the likes of veteran goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, defender Jos Hooiveld, midfielder Richard Chaplow and forward Guly Do Prado.

In the goals: El Hadji Diouf celebrates his goal during as Leeds knocked out Southampton

In the goals: El Hadji Diouf celebrates his goal during as Leeds knocked out Southampton

None of them were able to have an impact on the game, though, with only debutant substitute Lloyd Isgrove emerging with any real credit.

'It will be good experience for the young players,' Adkins added. 'We have tried to blood them in the past and utilised them in the cup competitions but tonight, on the whole, we haven't performed.

'I have to take full responsibility. When you look at it, though, we played 48 hours ago, we use the second day as a recovery day and I didn't want to risk injury as we have a few as it is. But, when someone puts on the shirt for Southampton Football Club, you expect them to perform at the highest level.'

Happy man: Neil Warnock was pleased to see his side through against Southampton

Happy man: Neil Warnock was pleased to see his side through against Southampton

Away from Tuesday's game, Adkins refused to elaborate on the situation with Poland goalkeeper Artur Boruc, with the club investigating allegations he threw a bottle at his own supporters during the Spurs game.

'There will be a full investigation. I don't know what the accusations are exactly, but we'll have an investigation and take it from there,' was all he would say.

For his part, Warnock had nothing to be concerned about, on or off the field.

The veteran tactician is trying to make daughter Amy's wish to see him manage at Wembley come true and, with his side now one of three non-Premier League teams left at the last-eight stage, thoughts are starting to turn towards a possible trip to the capital.

'Amy came tonight, she just had a word in my ear about it,' Warnock said.

'I thought that right from the off we were at it. I wanted us to enjoy it because if all the games are like our draw with Charlton last week, I would be better off fishing.

'We played some good football tonight. In the second half, when it was 1-0, I said to my assistant Ronnie Jepson that extra-time would kill us, because you thought Southampton would always have that chance.

'But we didn't sit back and we should have scored more goals.'

Having managed QPR as Premier League newcomers a year ago, Warnock was well aware of the selection quandary Adkins found himself in.

He did not believe a weakened opposition had been the reason for his side's success, though.

'I have been in Nigel's position,' he added. 'When you're in the Premier League, your position is far greater financially. But we can only beat the side we play against.'

Portugal v Northern Ireland live

LIVE: Portugal v Northern Ireland – follow the World Cup qualifier from Brussels as it happens



20:59 GMT, 16 October 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the World Cup qualifiers as the Home Nations and the Republic of Ireland continue their bid to reach Brazil 2014. Earlier in the night, England's match at Poland was postponed following heavy rain at the National Stadium in Warsaw. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

World Cup 2014 qualifiers

Belgium 2-0 Scotland FT

Croatia 2-0 Wales FT

Faroe Islands 1-4 Republic of Ireland FT

Poland P-P England

Portugal 0-1 Northern Ireland

Click here for all the live scores from Europe's World Cup qualifiers

21.56: We are back underway in Portugal where the hosts have sent on Ruben Amorim for Miguel Lopes.

21.51: And if you really need cheering up get this, even the Germans are capable of caving in spectacularly.

Leading 4-0 at home to Sweden in Berlin, the hosts suffered a second-half collapse to draw 4-4 – even conceding an injury time equaliser.

21.46: To try and lift the spirits we will keep going here and focus on Northern Ireland's Group F match in Portugal.

They have taken a shock 1-0 lead in Porto, and if they hold on would it really reignite their qualifying hopes.

21.41: That result leaves Scotland bottom of Group A with two points after four games – eight adrift of leaders Belgium and Croatia.

Sadly it looks like the Scots' World Cup dream is over once again but at a desperately early stage.

21.38: Full-time: Belgium 2-0 Scotland

21.36: We are into three minutes injury time in Brussels, but the sting really has gone from this game since Kompany's strike.

21.33: It's the Chelsea midfielder that strikes it, but his effort comfortably clears the crossbar.

21.31: As Benteke goes off to a huge cheer from the hosts to be replaced by Ilombe Mboyo, Belgium win a free-kick 25 yards out. Hazard stands over.

21.28: Blimey, this is a painfully slow death for Scotland. The Belgium fans are chanting ole for every pass now and the Scots can hardly get possession. There ares five minutes left.

21.25: Final change for Scotland as Matthew Phillips replaces James Morrison. Nacer Chadli is booked following a foul on Shaun Maloney.

21.22: Well here is a potential shock on the cards for you. Niall McGinn has fired Northern Ireland 1-0 ahead at Portugal after 30 minutes of action at Porto's Estadio do Dragao – yes Cristiano Ronaldo is playing for the hosts.

21.19: Kenny Miller has been thrown on by Craig Levein for Steven Fletcher with just 15 minutes left in Brussels. Scotland look no closer to pulling a goal back.

21.16: GOAL! BELGIUM 2-0 Scotland

Scotland's hopes of reaching the World Cup are surely over now. Vincent Kompany shows tidy footwork on the edge of the box before blasting into the top corner – not bad from the Manchester City centre-back.

21.13: GOAL! BELGIUM 1-0 Scotland

Seventy minutes of spirited defending comes to an end as Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, heads home a cross at the back post.

21.09: That doesn't quite end our involvement here as we will turn our attention to Scotland's Group A match in Belgium where it's currently 0-0. Stay tuned folks.

21.05: Roy Hodgson spoke to ITV over whether the roof should have been used:

'That's something which I can't answer. You will have to speak to the Polish authorities.

'I am rather hoping they will get it closed now and start to get some work on the pitch the water is lying on the surface and will need a lot of attention if we are going to play.'

21.00: And it's already been rescheduled. The match is set to take place tomorrow at 4pm (BST).

20.57: Poland v England: Match officially postponed due to rain

Singing in the rain: A Poland fan invades the pitch in Warsaw

Singing in the rain: A Poland fan invades the pitch in Warsaw

20.55: Full time in Croatia where the hosts have recorded a 2-0 win over Wales to top Group A.

20.52: We are back underway in Belgium, where the hosts have sent Eden Hazard on for Mousa Dembele, while Scotland have replaced Kris Commons with Jamie Mackie. It's 0-0 in Brussles.

20.50: It's all over in the Faroe Islands and the Republic of Ireland have won 4-1 to get their campaign to reach Brazil 2014 back on course.

20.48: It's a fourth goal for the Republic of Ireland as Darren O'Dea has put the icing on the cake at the Faroe Islands with just two minutes left.

20.45: Sadly it is, and nothing has changed as the ball still fails to bounce. This game isn't going to go ahead but the big question is when will it

20.42: Another pitch inspection coming up – I do hope it's not a referee throwing a ball around again.

20.38: There is action on the pitch in Poland but it's only two home fans performing Jurgen Klinsmann slides on the pitch – much to the delight and ironic cheers of those still in the ground.

Across Europe, there is alarming news for Manchester City fans as David Silva has been taken off injured after just 13 minutes in Spain's clash against France. His side lead 1-0 in Madrid through a Sergio Ramos strike.

20.35: Republic of Ireland fans can breathe a sigh of relief again as a Pol Justinussen own goal has restored their two-goal lead at the Faroe Islands.

20.32: It's half-time in Brussels and credit must go to the Scots who have held out Belgium to go into the break at 0-0.

The visitors really need a win but not conceding is a good way to start.

Deadly duo: Croatia's Mario Mandzukic (left) and Eduardo put Croatia 2-0 ahead against Wales

Deadly duo: Croatia's Mario Mandzukic (left) and Eduardo put Croatia 2-0 ahead against Wales

20.29: Contrasting scenes between the England and Poland players. Roy's boys are all set to board the team coach out of the ground in their tracksuits, while the Polish team are still in their match kit.

Another twist has emerged in that the Poles do not fancy playing the match tomorrow.

20.26: Just when the Irish looked home and dry (excuse the pun). The Faroe Islands have pulled a goal back through Arnbjorn Hansen with 22 minutes left.

20.22: From Sportsmail's Matt Lawton:

Second pitch inspection due at 8.45pm UK time. If it's a no, and it has to be, plan is to play tomorrow.

20.19: Poor marking from a corner allows former Arsenal strike Eduardo to tap home and double Croatia's lead over Wales to 2-0. There is 30 minutes left in that game.

20.16: Ian is referring to the France v Ukraine match of course. The only problem is it is still raining in Warsaw and the pitch still looks absolutely drenched.

20.15: From Sportsmail's Ian Ladyman:

I was at Donetsk game in Euros. Pitch looked just like this. As soon as rain stopped it drained in minutes. #dontgiveuphope

20.13: Republic of Ireland have finally woken up now as Jonathan Walters has doubled their lead at the Faroe Islands.

No bounce: Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi throws the match ball as part of his pitch inspection in Warsaw

No bounce: Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi throws the match ball as part of his pitch inspection in Warsaw

20.11: The message from FIFA is that they still want this game to try and go ahead in the next hour.

I love their optimism but it's still raining and the pitch is just as wet now as it was 45 minutes ago. I don't know how they are going to make this playable.

20.08: Finally a breakthrough for the Republic of Ireland, as Marc Wilson has scored a minute after the break to put the visitors 1-0 up at the Faroe Islands.

20.05: Good to see the PA announcer inside the ground has a sense of humour. U2's 'Beautiful Day' is being played over the speakers.

We are back underway in Croatia where Wales trail 1-0.

20.03: From Sportsmail's Matt Barlow:

The ref's thrown the ball nine times into puddles. That was the 9pm inspection. Still raining.

20.01: And here is that pitch inspection. The crowd are cheering every time the referee chucks the ball and it fails to bounce. Roy Hodgson can only look on and laugh – it's that farcical.

19.58: ITV have spoken to a press officer at the ground and they have confirmed there will be a final pitch inspection at 8pm.

There is still an option for the game to be delayed an hour but I really cannot see that happening. Other alternatives could be the game being played tomorrow.

19.53: Your full line-ups from Scotland's fixture in Belgium:

Belgium v Scotland
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Kompany, Vertonghen, De Bruyne, Witsel, Chadli, Mertens, Dembele, Benteke. Subs: Mignolet, Hazard, Ciman, M'Boyo, Van Buyten, Mirallas, Defour, Lombaerts, Vossen, Simons, Guillaume Gillet, Jean-Francois Gillet.

Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Berra, Caldwell, Fox, Maloney, Morrison, Darren Fletcher, McArthur, Commons, Steven Fletcher. Subs: Gilks, Mulgrew, Cowie, Adam, Miller, Mackie, Martin, Phillips, Webster, Marshall.

Referee: Mauricio Morales (Mexico)

More than spitting: England keeper Joe Hart tests the conditions at Warsaw's National Stadium

More than spitting: England keeper Joe Hart tests the conditions at Warsaw's National Stadium

19.50: And it's half-time in Croatia too where Mario Mandzukic's strike is the difference between the hosts and Wales. A fluke goal but Croatia have been dominant.

19.47: We are underway in Belgium though, as they have just kicked off against Scotland.

Meanwhile it's more bad news for the Republic of Ireland as it's half-time in the Faroe Islands and they are still being held 0-0.

19.44: Roy Hodgson has told ITV he doesn't think the game will go ahead. There isn't exactly much rush to get this game ready by the hosts. There isn't a groundsman and a pitchfork in sight.

19.40: Dare Roy Hodgson pull a Steve McClaren and put up an umbrella – not a chance!

I still can't believe that a roof closed throughout Euro 2012 has stayed open all day. Apparently the roof now cannot be closed because the rain is too heavy. Unbelievable.

19.36: To put this into perspective, when the ball is thrown in the air it simply doesn't even bounce after hitting the turf.

There will be an announcement at 8pm over whether this game will go ahead. For now it looks like they will close the roof. Stable doors and bolting horses come to mind.

19.33: Back to Warsaw though and the reason the game is in doubt is because torrential rain has made the pitch more like a paddy field.

The referee has declared the pitch unplayable but there is no official confirmation yet over whether this game is going ahead.

19.30: Bad news for Wales. They have gone 1-0 down to Croatia following an opportunistic strike from Mario Mandzukic.

19.25: Sportsmail's Matt Barlow:

A new 400m stadium with a closing roof and the game in warsaw appears in doubt.

Water pass: England boss Roy Hodgson tests the very wet conditions in Warsaw

Water pass: England boss Roy Hodgson tests the very wet conditions in Warsaw

19.20: There has been an early blow for England in Warsaw.

For the second time in 20 years the band that follows the team has been…well…banned.

They were of course shut out recently at Donestk for a Euro 2012 match but they have now been snubbed in Warsaw too.

It is believed stadium authorities took tonight's decision because the Polish FA have refused to sanction a Polish band, and would be open to accusations of double standards if they allowed their English counterparts in.

Band leader John Hemmingham said: 'It is very frustrating. We have travelled tens of thousands of miles following England are were looking forward to banging the drum for the Three Lions once more. It is massively disappointing to get such a bum note.'

19.15: Scotland make one change from the side who lost to Wales for tonight's World Cup qualifier against Belgium.

Wigan midfielder James McArthur is drafted into the starting line-up in place of Scott Brown.

The Hoops skipper was forced to withdraw from the squad with an ongoing hip problem that forced him out of Friday's clash in Cardiff at half-time.

The Scots head into the game in Brussels second bottom of Group A and know they needed a first victory of the campaign to keep their slim hopes alive.

19.10: England head coach Roy Hodgson hands 99th caps to skipper Steven Gerrard and defender Ashley Cole for the World Cup qualifier with Poland in Warsaw.

Gerrard returns after missing the 5-0 home win over San Marino through suspension while Cole comes back into the side after resting his ongoing ankle problem.

Hodgson makes a total of six changes with Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Jermain Defoe also back in the starting line-up.

Defenders Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill and Leighton Baines, midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, striker Danny Welbeck plus the injured Theo Walcott make way.

19.05: Back to the World Cup 2014 qualifiers – two games are already underway.

Republic of Ireland are trying to bounce back from their 6-1 defeat to Germany as they travel to Faroe Islands, while Wales will be looking to build on their 2-1 win over Scotland with their tricky trip to Croatia.

Job done: England Under 21s celebrate Connor Wickham's injury time goal

Job done: England Under 21s celebrate Connor Wickham's injury time goal

19.00: Serbian fans of course are not on good terms with UEFA following their disgraceful antics to have a Euro 2012 qualifier in Italy abandoned – I'm not holding my breath for any serious punishments though.

18.59: From Sportsmail's Dominic King:

Let's see how serious UEFA take this. Never seen anything like that before. Actions of neanderthals. Riot police around ground did nothing.

18.56: Awful scenes in Serbia. The good news is the England Under 21s scored in injury time through Connor Wickham to seal a 2-0 aggregate victory and a place at Euro 2013.

But the scenes that followed saw England players and coaches attacked by Serbians, with Danny Rose sent off for retaliation.

The full-back seemed to gesture that he was racially abused – but either way you haven't heard the last of this game and sadly it won't be because of the football.

18.51: And a quick update on the England Under 21s before we get cracking. We are in second half injury time in Serbia where Stuart Pearce's side are drawing 0-0.

Should it stay that way, they will advance to the Euro 2013 finals after winning the first leg 1-0 at Carrow Road on Friday.

18.48: England starting XI:

Hart, Johnson, Cole, Gerrard, Jagielka, Lescott, Milner, Carrick, Defoe, Rooney, Cleverley.

18.45: Was I the only one left a little subdued after England's 5-0 win over San Marino on Friday It certainly felt strange to be left feeling shortchanged after seeing the Three Lions record a five-goal victory.

It's a much tougher test for Roy Hodgson's side tonight though as they travel to Poland for the second time this year. No sunshine and major tournaments this time though – just a tricky night in Warsaw and hopefully three valuable points to take back across the Channel. Team news coming up.

Looking for more: England's Wayne Rooney (right) will hope to add to his brace scored against San Marino on Friday when he lines up against Poland

Looking for more: England's Wayne Rooney (right) will hope to add to his brace scored against San Marino on Friday when he lines up against Poland

Andre Villas-Boas tells Spurs to attack Manchester United at Old Trafford

Ambitious AVB plans to storm Old Trafford by telling Spurs to attack Manchester United



18:03 GMT, 27 September 2012

Andre Villas-Boas will encourage his team to attack Manchester United on Saturday despite the Tottenham manager's harrowing experience at Old Trafford with Chelsea last term.

Villas-Boas suffered his first loss in English football at Old Trafford when his Chelsea side went down 3-1 to Sir Alex Ferguson's men.

Chelsea blew a number of chances in the first half and they paid the price by going down 3-0 at half-time before Fernando Torres missed an open goal after the break.

Preparations: Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas (centre) takes training on Thursday

Preparations: Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas (centre) takes training on Thursday

Eye on the ball: Jermain Defoe in training

Eye on the ball: Jermain Defoe in training

Such a collapse could discourage a
manager from instructing his team to go on the offensive there again,
but Villas-Boas is in a confident mood having won over a large part of
the Spurs support by recording three wins in four matches.

'That is the way I like my teams to play,' Villas-Boas said. 'We
obviously know that it is extremely difficult there, but that doesn't
mean that you might not be given a chance when you play that (attacking)

'In the end it's
about taking your opportunities. Had (Chelsea) scored then maybe the
result would have been different, so to try to get a result against
United will be excellent for us.'

Capital One Cup victory in Carlisle may not end up being Villas-Boas'
biggest accomplishment during his time at White Hart Lane, but it did
ensure Spurs maintained the momentum that they have gathered in the last
two weeks.

From being booed off against Norwich and West Brom, Spurs have picked up wins against Reading and QPR while they were very unlucky not to beat Lazio in the Europa League last week.

There is still plenty of work to be done with the squad, but Villas-Boas is so confident about his team's improvement that he has his sights set on nearing the top of the Barclays Premier League table by winning at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989.

Thumbs up: Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon looks positive during the warm-up at Spurs Lodge

Thumbs up: Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon looks positive during the warm-up at Spurs Lodge

'It would make us very proud to go there and get a win that would shorten the distance to the top,' Villas-Boas said.

'That would hopefully help us profit in some way from the clash between Arsenal and Chelsea.

'We can't run away from our responsibilities. The statistics are there.

'We hope to break them one day and hopefully it will be on Saturday.'

game against npower League One opposition gave Villas-Boas the
opportunity to blood some of the youngsters that were often overlooked
by his predecessor.

Andros Townsend, 21, was the most impressive of the new crop on show at Brunton Park. The
winger, who was on loan at Leeds and Birmingham last season, ran half
the length of the pitch before scoring his third goal for the club.

who has brought Townsend off the bench three times this season, was
delighted with the England Under 21 player's performance in Cumbria.

the last couple of games that he has played he has made quite the
difference in terms of his contribution to the team,' Villas-Boas said.

he is competing against the best players in the world with Gareth Bale,
Aaron Lennon and Clint Dempsey so it's difficult, but if a player so
young like this triumphs over players of this dimension then the future
is his.'

Ryan Mason and Adam Smith also started the game at Carlisle, and Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen was impressed with what he saw.

'The guys who played are real quality players, very skilful and with a good mentality,” said Vertonghen, who signed from Ajax in the summer.

'I think that Ajax, for young players, is one of the best clubs in the world at which to develop, so I know good young players and we have them here at Tottenham.

'What I have seen here makes me think that all these players can eventually play for the first team.'

World Twenty20 2012: Stuart Broad dismisses England struggles against spin

Crisis What crisis Broad dismisses spin struggles as England collapse



18:05 GMT, 23 September 2012

Familiar problems: Broad heads back to the pavilion

Familiar problems: Broad heads back to the pavilion

Captain Stuart Broad insisted England's batsmen are not vulnerable against spin despite Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla guiding India to a thumping 90-run ICC World Twenty20 victory at the Premadasa Stadium.

After India had set Broad's side a challenging 171 for victory, several of England's top order seemed all at sea as they were bowled out for 80 – their lowest total in this format.

The match was essentially a dead rubber, with both teams having qualified for the Super Eights stage by virtue of their respective victories against Afghanistan, but alarm bells may be ringing after their defeat.

Veteran Harbhajan took four for 12 while leg-spinner Chawla finished with two for 13 to again raise the issue of England struggling to play the turning ball.

Broad refuted that notion, though, saying: 'I've seen the guys play spin extremely well, certainly in training, we've been learning in Sri Lanka and we've developed well.

'We've had a really bad day today but it doesn't affect our destiny. We still get on a bus tomorrow to Kandy and play in the Super Eights.'

The Nottinghamshire all-rounder did concede, however, that England's overall performance was well below par.

'It was all-round really,' he said.

In a spin: Harbhajan (above) and Chawla (below) tore through England

In a spin: Harbhajan (above) and Chawla (below) tore through England

In a spin: Harbhajan (above) and Chawla (below) tore through England

'We were pretty happy with 170. We made a few mistakes in the field and we probably didn't hit our straps as well as we could have done but we didn't get it right with the bat at all.

'India got it very right – I thought they bowled very nicely.

'We played across the line a bit too much whereas against Afghanistan we struck the ball so straight and very cleanly.'

Tim Bresnan was included at the expense of Samit Patel for Sunday's encounter, but with England losing six of their 10 wickets to spin, there was a case to be made they should have included a second slow bowler to support Swann, who conceded just 17 runs from his four overs.

Broad added: 'We wanted to have a look at that balance of side.

Back to the drawing board: England must regroup quickly ahead of the Super Eights

Back to the drawing board: England must regroup quickly ahead of the Super Eights

'We'll reassess for Thursday's game.'

The 26-year-old acknowledged England have been producing inconsistent performances of late, but does not think their humbling defeat will affect his players too much.

'We've had two pretty average performances in the two and a half weeks we've been together but we've also had some very good performances so we need to focus on them,' he said.

'I don't think the guys' confidence will take too much of a knock from this. It doesn't change where we go.

'We still need to play well on Thursday and I think we can do that.'