Tag Archives: continental

Darren Barker beats Simone Rotolo to win IBF Inter-Continental middleweight title

Barker makes light work of Rotolo to take middleweight title at Wembley Arena

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

23:10 GMT, 9 March 2013

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UPDATED:

00:15 GMT, 10 March 2013

Darren Barker secured a routine victory over Simone Rotolo and the vacant IBF Intercontinental title after the Italian was forced to withdraw before the start of the fifth round.

The middleweight, fighting for the second time in a matter of months after a cruel run of injuries, needed to make a statement with his domestic rivals also progressing and would have been underwhelmed that the opportunity to do so was taken away.

Barker is one third of a rivalry with world-title contender Matthew Macklin and next month’s WBC challenger Martin Murray and impressed with a relaxed approach at the start but soon after fought more raggedly.

Strong showing: Darren Barker knocks down Simone Rotolo during their IBF Inter-Continental Middleweight bout

Strong showing: Darren Barker knocks down Simone Rotolo during their IBF Inter-Continental Middleweight bout

Fine fettle: Barker took Rotolo to task with a flurry of punches in the first round

Fine fettle: Barker took Rotolo to task with a flurry of punches in the first round

Rotolo was knocked down after a flurry
of punches towards the end of the first round when caught against the
ropes but instead of stopping his opponent there and then, Barker lost
any real polish and instead messily pursued the knockout which
ultimately never came.

Edging each round if not dominating
them as a more polished Barker perhaps would have done, the middleweight
tested his opponent occasionally if not convincingly and was in the
midst of another flurry of punches when Rotolo significantly backed off,
avoiding the fight and shaking his hand in obvious pain until the end
of the round came and the Italian’s corner announced his withdrawal
almost instantly after.

'Macklin and Murray [who fights WBC
champion Sergio Martinez on 27 April]' are looking busy now, so I’d like
a fight with Andy Lee,' he said afterwards.

He told Sky Sports 2: 'I'm ready to push on now. There's the obvious domestic fights
and world title fights – I'm game, I'll fight any of them. It just takes
two of us to get the ball rolling and it could be rematches, trilogies,
whatever.'

Pushing on: Barker is looking ahead to his future which could involve 'rematches' and 'trilogies'

Pushing on: Barker is looking ahead to his future which could involve 'rematches' and 'trilogies'

Nani unhurt after crash with police car

Nani unhurt after Man United star's Bentley collides with unmarked police car

By
Ian Leonard

PUBLISHED:

11:04 GMT, 16 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 16 February 2013

Manchester United winger Nani escaped uninjured after his luxury Bentley was involved in a crash with a police car.

The 26-year-old’s Bentley Continental careered into a central reservation and smashed into bollards after colliding with the unmarked Ford Mondeo, which was responding to a 999 call.

The crash happened around 6.40pm on Friday on Gatley Road, near the junction of Kingsway, in Stockport.

Unhurt: Nani's Bentley Continental collided with an unmarked police car

Unhurt: Nani's Bentley Continental collided with an unmarked police car

The officer who was driving the police car and Nani were unhurt while another officer, who was a passenger in the Mondeo, received minor injuries.

Both vehicles suffered minor damage.

Police have launched an investigation and an officer has been suspended from driving in line with normal procedures.

Witnesses told how Nani, who was dressed in his United training kit, was led away by officers for questioning.

One told the Manchester Evening News: 'I could see the Bentley had gone head-on into the bollards at the traffic lights and the car had been a bit bashed up at the front.

'I wondered who was driving the Bentley and when I had a quick look in the police car Nani was sat there in his training kit.'

'He looked a bit shocked.'

It’s understood The Portuguese star was travelling to his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, at the time of crash.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said: 'At about 6.40pm on Friday, an unmarked police car responding to an emergency call was travelling along Gatley road at the junction with Kingsway, Stockport.

'As the police car entered the junction it collided with a Bentley, Continental.

'The passenger in the police car received minor injuries and only minor damage was caused to both vehicles.

'The police driver has been suspended from driving duties in line with normal procedure.'

Battle: Nani (right) holds off Fulham's Sascha Riether earlier this month

Battle: Nani (right) holds off Fulham's Sascha Riether earlier this month

Crash: Nani's Bentley Continental, like the car above, was involved in the collision (stock image)

Crash: Nani's Bentley Continental, like the car above, was involved in the collision (stock image)

Jonny Evans: Swansea attacking style will suit Manchester United perfectly

Swansea's attacking style will suit Man United perfectly, says Evans

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UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 22 December 2012

Jonny Evans hopes Swansea's continental style will benefit Manchester United on Sunday.

The progressive Welsh outfit developed a reputation for neat passing football, first under Roberto Martinez, then Brendan Rodgers before his departure for Liverpool in the summer.

Michael Laudrup's arrival has led to subtle changes, but Swansea's core philosophy remains the same.

Swan song: Evans is relishing the battle with the South Wales club

Swan song: Evans is relishing the battle with the South Wales club

Already this term it has brought success against Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle, plus a draw against Chelsea.

Evans has the utmost respect for the work Laudrup is doing in south Wales, but he feels United's vast European experience could work to their advantage.

'We have got a history of being a counter-attacking team, but if you look at Swansea, they play like a European side,' said the Northern Ireland defender.

'They like to keep the ball on the floor and pass it around, which you don't always get an awful lot of in the Premier League.

'That will suit us. We are used to playing against European competition and this will be no different.

'Swansea will have large periods where they have the ball so we have to be patient and keep our formation and our shape. Hopefully we can nick the ball off them and score goals.'

Evans recognises the task will not be straightforward.

In Michu, Swansea have the man currently challenging Robin van Persie for the Premier League's Golden Boot prize and Evans has already seen enough to recognise a stern examination awaits at the Liberty Stadium.

'I have been really impressed,' said Evans. 'We watched a couple of videos on them I have seen them quite a bit on TV. The football they play is very good.

'When they changed their manager, maybe people thought they might change their style. But, although they are a little bit more direct, largely they stuck to it.

Euro style: Evans has the utmost respect for Swansea

Euro style: Evans has the utmost respect for Swansea

Euro style: Evans – with girlfriend Helen has the utmost respect for Swansea

'They are still a side that scores a lot of goals.

'We know it is going to be a tough game but we know how to play against them and it is a game we are looking forward to.'

United managed to keep a couple of clean sheets against Swansea last season.

How Sir Alex Ferguson and his players would like one of those given they have managed only four in all competitions this season, with memories of losing out on the title to Manchester City on goal difference last term still vivid.

And the knowledge United presently head their major rivals by just one, despite boasting a six-point advantage heading into the weekend fixtures, is causing a little bit of concern.

Certainly it justified Ferguson's irritation after last weekend's tussle with Sunderland when the Red Devils cruised into a three-goal lead before easing off, allowing the Black Cats to get themselves one back and create the opportunities for more.

Focused: Sir Alex wants to erase the memory of losing out to City last season

Focused: Sir Alex wants to erase the memory of losing out to City last season

'It is not a worry if you are winning the games, but when you take your foot off the pedal it is very difficult to get it back,' said Ferguson.

'I don't think we can afford to do that. Hopefully that is a reminder to us that we have to kick on all the time.

'The way we were playing we had a good chance to score goals in that game.

'Hopefully we can start adding to our goal difference, which at the moment is similar to City's.'

Rafa Benitez battling jet-lag at Club World Cup, a prize that should be football"s crowning glory, but isn"t – Martin Samuel

Benitez battling jet-lag at a Club World Cup that is still trying to wake up… a prize that should be football's crowning glory, but isn't

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UPDATED:

00:29 GMT, 13 December 2012

Rafael Benitez was up late last night. Bowling. As you do. Well, you do in Japan. Some western visitors have been known to hit the driving range at 3am, as Liverpool did in 1981. Jet-lag does that.

Benitez said, three days into Chelsea's trip, he was still averaging only four hours sleep each night. He could handle it, he insisted, but he worried about his players.

And there, in microcosm, is the conundrum facing the manager of the European contender at the Club World Cup. The prize, to be the world champions of club football, sounds grand; the status of the competition remains pitiful.

Raf night's sleep: Benitez is attempting to lead Chelsea to world title glory

Raf night's sleep: Benitez is attempting to lead Chelsea to world title glory

Chelsea were dispatched to Sunderland by the Premier League the day they were scheduled to leave for Japan — they flew to Tokyo from Newcastle via Helsinki — and the day after they arrive back, presuming an appearance in the final on Sunday, they must head north to play Leeds United in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals.

Nobody is advocating doctoring the fixtures to give Chelsea a break, but the team it is presumed they will face in the final, Corinthians of Brazil, will have been in Japan for two weeks by the time the trophy is at stake.

Corinthians mean it, man. The South Americans mean it. They didn’t play well against Al-Ahly yesterday but this tournament, even when it was a stripped down, one-off match between two continental champions, has always had its greatest cachet beyond Europe.

The most excited members of Chelsea’s travelling party were their Brazilian contingent. David Luiz said he grew up watching club football’s world championship and dreaming of participating.

Meanwhile, back home, the match that will dominate the headlines this week took place between Bradford City and a demotivated Arsenal. The idea that Chelsea’s game with Monterrey of Mexico today might share equal billing is fanciful.

Dream come true: Luiz is one of the Chelsea stars delighted to be involved in the competition

Dream come true: Luiz is one of the Chelsea stars delighted to be involved in the competition

Dream come true: Luiz is one of the Chelsea stars delighted to be involved in the competition

The presumption is of a walkover, even though Manchester United could only draw 1-1 in 2000 with Mexican champions Necaxa, who came third, beating Real Madrid for that dubious honour.

The surest confirmation that the Club World Cup has arrived will be when the coach of the European entrant is not giving his press conference with matches holding his eyelids open. Benitez concedes that is a way off yet. He knows, however, that he is two wins away from his first trophy as Chelsea manager: and that winning it would make the club world champions. It won’t get his name sung sweetly by the Shed End but it’s a start.

‘In Europe we don’t consider this tournament too much but I think it’s getting better,’ Benitez said. ‘You have more teams in the other continents getting stronger, and that will help. In 2010 with Inter Milan, we beat Mazembe of Congo in the final.

'I was laughing about this with Oscar as Mazembe played Internacional of Porto Alegre, his team, who were much better. It seemed they had to beat Mazembe but they lost. People in this continent, they bring good players and have good teams.

‘The standards of the competitions are different, but the teams that win them are good. Monterrey are a good team, so these matches are tricky. The tempo is the key but if they can match our intensity they will make it difficult and then you never know.

‘When you play a Brazilian team, in my
experience they make it slow and won’t allow you to go quick. They keep
the ball, they pass it. My Brazilian friends tell me that when Spain get
to the World Cup in 2014, the grass will be long, like this.’ Benitez
gestured ankle deep. ‘All these things have to be considered.

Eden in the right direction Hazard enjoys a joke with his team-mates

Eden in the right direction Hazard enjoys a joke with his team-mates

Eden in the right direction Hazard enjoys a joke with his team-mates

‘One day this tournament will be considered differently. There are teams around the world now, in Asia or any big country, they have money and pay big for players.

‘Over time, the others will be much better. I remember having a conversation with a club and they said they wanted to win the league, then the Asian championship and then the Club World Cup. That was their target. Rich owners will spend money and the teams will be better. But they need time. The tempo in England and Spain is different, but in terms of players and technique they are good.’

The perception is that the Club World Cup is a trifle, two matches, a matter of days. Actually it is the biggest slog in club football and not just in terms of the flight.

A Chelsea victory would be the culmination of a two-and-a-half year process that began on August 14, 2010, with a 6-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. That season the club finished second and qualified for the Champions League. The following season, they won the Champions League. And that victory got them the invite that could culminate in a position as world champions.

Of course, at just about any other club, this progression would have been made under one manager. This being Chelsea, the man who finished second, Carlo Ancelotti, was sacked, as was the man who got them out of their Champions League group stage, Andre Villas-Boas, as was the man who won the Champions League final, Roberto Di Matteo.

Chelsea could be the first club to win a World Cup by accident. Benitez would lift the trophy, but he is the fourth manager to play a part in the club’s run through this tournament, which has been far from smooth.

So what awaits them today Victor
Vucetich, Monterrey’s manager is a wily old fox who has five domestic
titles and two CONCACAF Champions League crowns to his name.

Stern test The Monterrey players can cause a huge upset by beating the European champions

Stern test The Monterrey players can cause a huge upset by beating the European champions

Stern test The Monterrey players can cause a huge upset by beating the European champions

His team are nimble but use height in the forward line, and Vucetich appeared heartened that Chelsea are not a traditionally imposing English side. His prediction they will score, however, suggests he shares a worldwide realism about the true nature of this competition.

And there is the problem. There is a great tournament trying to break out here, with a wonderful accolade as its prize. Unfortunately, with the best teams allowed to delay entry until the semi-final stage, and the hosting rights farmed out to parts of the world that do not have football in the blood, FIFA undermine their own competition.

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Net result: FIFA are trialing new goalline technology at the tournament

Euro 2020: Michel Platini insists good for fans

Platini insists Euro 2020 will be good for fans as hopes raised of major role for England

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UPDATED:

13:40 GMT, 7 December 2012

UEFA president Michel Platini has claimed the pan-continental Euro 2020 will be good for fans – and gave a boost to British hopes of hosting some matches at the tournament.

Platini said UEFA had held talks with fans group Football Supporters Europe and convinced it that the 'zany' format of holding games in 13 matches across Europe would benefit the majority of supporters.

The Football Association will bid for Wembley to host the final while Wales and Scotland will also bid for Euro 2020 games.

Big idea: Michel Platini came up with the concept for Euro 2020

Big idea: Michel Platini came up with the concept for Euro 2020

Platini told reporters at a briefing in Nyon: 'We have talked to the fans. They were against it originally but we told them we are going to help them and suddenly they had a much more positive attitude.

'Certainly it will be easier for the English to go to Wales and Scotland to watch a match instead of having to travel the world.

'We have some decisions to make now – some political, some geographical – for example we cannot have an English fan going to Lisbon, Kazakhstan and Sweden.

'We will have an intelligent solution – not chasing the fans all over Europe.

'The Euros are coming to the fans and taking matches to quite a number of countries.

'We have met with supporters’
associations recently and have reassured them we will do whatever is
possible to make sure fans get the necessary support when they travel.'

Platini
himself came up with the idea of staging the tournament but he said it
had been supported by every European country apart from Turkey, who had
hoped to host the Euros on its own.

Up for it: Wembley is a contender to host the Euro 2020 final

Up for it: Wembley is a contender to host the Euro 2020 final

He added: 'I just bring forward ideas and then national associations have their own meetings and workshops and 52 out of 53 said yes, I don’t decide, the national associations have decided.

'Poland and Ukraine was a great Euro but it was very expensive, almost as expensive as the Olympic Games.

'It is perhaps a bit of a zany idea but it is a good idea.'

Platini added that he wanted the finals and semi-finals to be in one city – and the FA will put London forward as a candidate.

He
said: “I’m in favour the final phase being in one city to give it more
importance, that’s my idea. The executive committee will decide whether
it’s a good or bad idea.

'I
think this would create a very special atmosphere among the supporters
and it will be a week of national teams and it could be a great party.'

Platini said FIFA president Sepp
Blatter had congratulated him on the Euro 2020 idea – and that he is
succeeding where the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi failed.

Champions: Spain will defend their title in France in four years' time

Champions: Spain will defend their title in France in four years' time

Gaddafi had suggested moving the
African Nations Cup around the continent, and Platini said: 'I got
congratulations from the president of FIFA, he said it is a marvellous
idea. He said somebody wanted to do it a few years ago with the African
Nations Cup and it was Gaddafi.'

He also hit back at criticism from FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke pointing out that the world governing body had ratified Japan and Mexico playing in South American competitions.

'FIFA accepts Mexico and Japan taking part in the Copa America and that is much more against the spirit than what we are suggesting,' said Platini.

The UEFA president also insisted he wants to support the Europa League rather than scrap it – an interview he gave to a French newspaper last week led to reports UEFA are considering getting rid of the tournament and having a 64-club Champions League.

He added: 'All I said is that there is a reflection going on to figure out what shape we want – we are discussing it, nothing is decided.

'I never said I am going to stop the Europa League. We have to look at all 53 countries and I believe the Europa League is great and that we need to support it and continue with it. It is a very popular competition.

'I am never going to organise competition for money's sake, only in the interests of football.'

Mario Balotelli poses in camouflage onesie

Hidden in plain sight… Balotelli poses in camouflage onesie with matching car and quad bike

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UPDATED:

10:37 GMT, 3 December 2012

Many of us had suspicions about Mario Balotelli. The temper tantrums were a key sign.

But this onesie proves it – he really is a big baby.

Although the Twitter account the picture first emerged on was called out as a fake by Manchester City, it's definitely Mario we're looking at.

Camo king: Mario Balotelli seems to love camouflage, judging by his car, quad bike and now... his onesie

Camo king: Mario Balotelli seems to love camouflage, judging by his car, quad bike and now… his onesie

The club's official account tweeted: 'All those posing as him are fake. If he joins, we will let you know! #mcfc'.

Balotelli obviously likes the
camouflage style – his Bentley Continental GT and a quad bike are done
up in the same fashion as his comfy-looking onesie.

Although camouflage is designed to keep people hidden and under cover, that is not Balotelli's natural habitat.

He resides at the centre of attention
and is hoping to get the chance to be there on Sunday when City take on
bitter rivals Manchester United.

Why always him Balotelli scored a brace against Manchester United in last season's 6-1 win at Old Trafford

Why always him Balotelli scored a brace against Manchester United in last season's 6-1 win at Old Trafford

The Italian struck twice as City emerged 6-1 winners in the fixture at Old Trafford last season.

Not only did he play extremely well but he also revealed the now famous 'Why always me' t-shirt during the drubbing.

Don't be surprised to see him take his
shirt off to reveal a camouflage vest this time around – if Roberto
Mancini gives him the chance to play.

Amir Khan to fight Carlos Molina

Khan to return against Molina as ex-world champion confirms Hunter appointment

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UPDATED:

10:37 GMT, 29 September 2012

Amir Khan will fight Carlos Molina in December as he bids to get his career back on track following a knockout defeat to Danny Garcia.

The 25-year-old has suffered two consecutive defeats after losing to Lamont Peterson last year although the Washington fighter later failed a drugs test which saw the rematch scrapped.

Khan also confirmed Sportsmail's exclusive that he has appointed Virgil Hunter as his new trainer following his split from Freddie Roach.

Blow: Amir Khan lost his world title fight with Danny Garcia

Blow: Amir Khan lost his world title fight with Danny Garcia

Molina, 26, has had 18 fights since turning professional in 2007, winning 17 and drawing one.

He outpointed Marcos Leonardo Jimenez in June to win the vacant WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title but has never gone beyond ten rounds.

The Mexican-American has not stopped an opponent in almost three years which suggests Khan's camp have made a sensible decision in avoiding another hard hitter.

Khan, who will be based in Oakland, north California while under the tutelage of Hunter, is expected to fight in America, rather than in England. His last contest on home soil was against Paul McCloskey in April 2011.

His bout with Molina will take place on December 1 or December 15.

'Molina is a good fighter, who has yet to taste defeat, so I know that he will be very dangerous,' Khan said.

'He's a tricky fighter who possess a lot of natural speed. I always want
to face hungry young fighters and in Molina I'm up against a guy who
has ambitions of world title success.'

'I'm really pleased that Virgil Hunter is to become my new trainer,” Khan added.

'Everyone in boxing knows about his skills and the success he has
enjoyed over the last few years. I'm looking forward to the start of my
training camp and working on some new things with him.

'With Virgil in my corner, I know that I can get back to the very top of the light-welterweight division.'

All change: Khan has joined forces with renowned trainer Virgil Hunter (left)

All change: Khan has joined forces with renowned trainer Virgil Hunter (left)

Hunter was last year voted as the trainer of the year by America's
boxing writers and is responsible for the continued rise of super-middleweight champion Andre Ward

He believes his new partnership can be a fruitful
one.

'Amir is an extremely talented fighter and I'm very happy to become his new trainer,' he said.

'I've seen a lot of him and he has many attributes such as his speed and
heart. There are certain small aspects of his game that I'm intending
to work on in order to help him fulfil his enormous potential.'

Ryder Cup video: Top moments – Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Jack Nicklaus

Darren's tears, Seve's miracle and the Battle of Brookline…. the best of the Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

10:43 GMT, 25 September 2012

Ever since players from continental Europe were added to the British and Irish side in 1979, the Ryder Cup has lived up to its growing reputation as the biggest spectacle in golf.

The Ryder Cup is so hotly contested that even its humble beginning is the subject of debate.

One side has the president of
Inverness Club in Ohio as the first to raise the idea of a match between
professionals from America and Britain. Most historians lean toward
Samuel Ryder, the wealthy English seed merchant, as helping to organize
matches at Wentworth in 1926 at a time when Americans were coming over
for British Open qualifying. As the story goes, Ryder promised a cup to
the winner – even though a cup was never awarded.

The big one: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and US captain Davis Love (left) with the Ryder Cup by the clubhouse at Medinah Country Club

The big one: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and US captain Davis Love (left) with the Ryder Cup by the clubhouse at Medinah Country Club

The Ryder Cup began a year later in
1927, and the fact it was named after the Englishman would have to give
his side a 1-up lead.

The competition has barely let up since. Here, Sportsmail looks at some of the most memorable Ryder Cup matches in history.

THE CONCESSION (1969)

The United States owned the Ryder Cup in this era, winning the previous five matches by at least five points, so not much was expected of Britain & Ireland in 1969 at Royal Birkdale. It turned out to be as close as a match could be – and the tie resulted in a putt that was conceded.

The matches were tied going into the final day, which at the time included two sessions of eight singles matches. It came down to the last match of the day.

Gentlemen: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus at Royal Birkdale in 1969

Gentlemen: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus at Royal Birkdale in 1969

Tony Jacklin and Nicklaus came down the 18th with the Ryder Cup hanging in the balance. Nicklaus faced a five-footer, while Jacklin was just inside three feet. In his first Ryder Cup, Nicklaus made it for four. Jacklin now had to make his to halve the match.

Nicklaus instead picked up his coin and conceded the match, resulting in the first tie in Ryder Cup history – 16-16. The Americans still retained the cup, although captain Sam Snead was miffed that Nicklaus didn't make him putt. 'I don't think you would have missed that putt, but under these circumstances I would never give you the opportunity,' Nicklaus told him.

It is considered the greatest act of sportsmanship in the history of the Ryder Cup.

SEVE'S MIRACLE SHOT (1983)

It was Nicklaus who in 1977 made
the recommendation that all of continental Europe be included in the
Ryder Cup, and in his first year as captain, it almost came back to
haunt him. The opposing captain was Jacklin, and just like the time
Nicklaus and Jacklin first squared off as players in the Ryder Cup, the
matches were tied at 8 going into the Sunday singles.

The first singles match produced what
many consider to be the greatest shot ever hit in the Ryder Cup. Seve
Ballesteros played his first two shots so poorly on the par-five 18th at
PGA National that he was in the bunker, near a lip, and still had 245
yards to clear the water. Amazingly, he pulled out a three-wood and hit it
so flush that it narrowly cleared the lip and came just short of the
green, allowing him to halve the match. 'The greatest shot I ever saw,'
Nicklaus said, high praise coming from him.

The United States still won, 14-13, but it
was a sign that Europe finally was on equal footing with the Americans.
Two years later, Europe would win for the first time in 28 years.

Genius: Seve Ballesteros plays out of a bunker during the 1983 Ryder Cup

Genius: Seve Ballesteros plays out of a bunker during the 1983 Ryder Cup

THE SPANISH ARMADA (1987)

Europe had finally ended a losing streak that had lasted 13 matches dating to 1957 when it won at The Belfry in 1985. But it still had never won the Ryder Cup on American soil, and this looked to be a daunting task. The European team was in the midst of internal turmoil, and it faced a U.S. squad with Nicklaus as the captain, playing on the Muirfield Village course that Nicklaus built.

And it was no contest.

The European players and administrators cleared the air over drinks on the eve of the Ryder Cup, and they took it to the Americans like never before, particularly when needed. Fourteen of the 28 matches went to the final hole. Europe won seven of them and halved four others.

A newcomer to the European team was a young Spaniard named Jose Maria Olazabal, and thus began the fabled 'Spanish Armada'. They won three of their four matches as Europe built a 10-5 lead, and the Americans never caught up. The height of their frustration came from 'Gentle' Ben Crenshaw, who snapped his putter after six holes of his singles match with Eamonn Darcy and had to use a one-iron or the blade of his sand wedge to putt the rest of the round. Darcy won, 1 up.

The lasting image is the European team celebrating from the balcony of the clubhouse that Nicklaus had built. It was an overthrow in so many ways.

New order: Jose Maria Olazabal (left) and Seve Ballesteros

Armada: Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal hug on the 18th green at Muirfield Village

Great friends: Jose Maria Olazabal (left) and Seve Ballesteros at Muirfield Village

THE WAR ON THE SHORE (1991)

This was the first Ryder Cup when one could argue the Americans really cared.

They had lost the Ryder Cup before, but not three successive times. The bad memory of these matches at Kiawah Island is that they lost the spirit under which they were meant to be played, starting with the moniker this Ryder Cup was given – The War on the Shore.

It came down to the final hole of the final match between Bernhard Langer and Hale Irwin. The Americans led 14-13. The match was all square. If Langer won the hole, the Ryder Cup would end in a tie and Europe would keep the cup. Irwin's approach hit a spectator, he chipped weakly and made bogey. Langer's 45-foot birdie attempt went some 6 feet past the hole. He settled in over his par putt, and leaned his head back and yelled when it narrowly missed. It was gut-wrenching.

VIDEO: It all came down to the last hole…

THE BATTLE OF BROOKLINE (1999)

The 1999 Ryder Cup began with a flap
over whether the American players should have any stake in the millions
of dollars the PGA of America made off the event. None of them looked to
be worth a dime against Europe.

Europe captain Mark James didn't
bother playing three players until Sunday singles, and seven of his
players never sat out. It appeared to work just fine with a 10-6 lead
after two days. Before heading off to the team room, US captain Ben Crenshaw wagged his
finger at the camera and said 'I'm a big believer in fate. I have a
good feeling about this'. And with that, he walked out of the room.

Crenshaw loaded the front of his
singles lineup, and the Americans won the first seven matches, none of
them even reaching the 18th hole. Players whipped up the crowd into a
flag-waving frenzy, and the emotions spilled over the top at the end.
Justin Leonard rallied from four down against Jose Maria Olazabal, and they
were all square playing the 17th hole. A halve would be enough to
complete the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history.

Leonard's 45-foot birdie putt rammed
into the back of the cup, and his teammates (and wives) stormed across
the green – even though Olazabal still had a 25-foot birdie putt to
halve the hole. When order was restored, Olazabal missed and the
Americans had won the cup.

VIDEO: Team America loses it on the 17th green

MONTY'S BIG MOMENT (2004)

Astutely captained by Sam Torrance, Europe clinched victory by 15 points to 12 at The Belfry in 2002, with Colin Montgomerie inspiring the home side with a haul of 4-1/2 points out of a possible five.

But it was two years later when Montgomerie, who has never won a major championship despite a string of near misses during an otherwise brilliant career, finally won his moment of glory.

Captain Langer led the Europeans to a crushing triumph by 18-9 at Oakland Hills in 2004, matching the competition's biggest winning margin set by the Americans 23 years earlier.

Montgomerie, for so long Europe's talisman, had never had the chance to win the trophy with single shot but Lady Luck left the Scot with a tricky five-footer to seal victory over David Toms on the 18th green.

Monty made no mistake and secured the Cup for Europe.

VIDEO: Montgomerie seals the Ryder Cup

DARREN'S TEARS (2006)

Darren Clarke had lost his wife, Heather, to cancer just months before but the Northern Irishman battled through his fragile emotions to join Europe's team at the first ever Ryder Cup held on Irish soil, at the K Club in 2006.

The roar that greeted Clarke's appearance on the first tee on the opening day of the competition was both ear-shattering and spine-tingling. Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco, who were Clarke and Lee Westwood's opponent that day, joined the applause.

Not a dry eye in the house: Darren Clarke (left) celebrates with Europe captain Ian Woosnam after beating Zach Johnson in the singles at the K Club

Not a dry eye in the house: Darren Clarke (left) celebrates with Europe captain Ian Woosnam after beating Zach Johnson in the singles at the K Club

And it inspired the Ulsterman to birdie the first hole on the way to a huge win, and Clarke went on to claim a point in all three of his matches in the tournament as Europe triumphed 18 to 9 points, equalling their record winning margin of 2 years earlier

When he beat Zach Johnson in the singles on Sunday, Clarke raised his arms and with tears running down his cheeks, looked to the sky in tribute to his late wife.

G-MAC LORD'S IT AT THE MANOR (2010)

Rain threatened to turn the big event into a washout, and the schedule was ripped apart after a huge deluge on Friday prevented play, forcing the first four-day Ryder Cup in history.

But when the singles eventually came round, Magic Monday was well worth the wait.

Europe had taken a three-point lead into the singles but the US mounted a storming comeback and levelled the contest at 13-13 with just one match to play, between Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan.

McDowell birdied the 16th hole to go dormie two and when Mahan duffed his chip under extreme pressure to the 17th green the writing was on the wall.

The recently-crowned US Open champion held his nerve and secured the win, sparking wild scenes of celebration among the thousands of European fans lining the green.

In amongst them was Colin Montgomerie, the captain, securing his status as one of the greatest figures in Ryder Cup history.

VIDEO: It all came down to this…

Carl Frampton wants win over Steve Molitor

I can cut it at the top! Frampton wants win over Molitor to earn chance at world title shot

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 20 September 2012

Carl Frampton believes victory over Canadian Steve Molitor on Saturday will put him in line for a world title shot.

The 25-year-old returns to Belfast to face the former two-time world champion in what both men have billed as a make-or-break fight.

And Frampton, who defends his Commonwealth and IBF Inter-Continental super bantamweight titles, plans to make a statement of intent.

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Ready to step up: Carl Frampton is hoping to earn a world title shot

Ready to step up: Carl Frampton is hoping to earn a world title shot

'He’s been where I want to get to but he’s had his time at the top, now it’s my turn,' he said. 'Beating a world class fighter like Steve Molitor puts me high in the rankings and in the running for a world title shot.

'This is a massive fight for me, I know that I am leaping up the levels to face Molitor but I believe I have more than enough to cope with him and this is the right time for me to prove I can cut it at the top.

'You want big names on your slate and he is definitely a big name. It’s going to be a lot better beating a guy like him than it was beating Prosper Ankrah.

Fighting fit: Frampton believes he is ready to step up a level

Fighting fit: Frampton believes he is ready to step up a level

Fighting fit: Frampton believes he is ready to step up a level

'It’s going to make people stand up and take notice. This is a 50-50 fight. People forget I’ve only had 15 fights.'

Meanwhile, Molitor, 32, admitted he will consider hanging up his gloves if he tastes defeat for a third time in his career.

'If I want to be a three-time world champion then I have to beat this kid,' he said. 'I have been out of the ring enjoying my life for ten months or so and on Saturday night you will see a new hungry Steve Molitor.

'If I cannot beat Carl then I will have to think about hanging them up as I will be saying that I cannot compete at world level now and as a two-time world champ I am used to that.'

Nice motto: Frampton his hoping is strict training regime will carry him through his fight on Saturday

Nice motto: Frampton his hoping is strict training regime will carry him through his fight on Saturday

VIDEO: Carl Frampton – Betfair's Judgment Day

Chris Foy: Where there"s a Bill there"s a way to sort out TV row

Where there's a Bill there's a way to sort out TV row

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UPDATED:

22:16 GMT, 20 September 2012

Bill Beaumont has an encouraging track
record when it comes to settling cross-border disputes arising from TV
rights deals, and the RFU chairman is ready to put himself forward as a
mediator in the current European conflict.

Following a meeting of European Rugby
Cup stakeholders in Dublin on Tuesday, the rival factions involved in a
power struggle over the continental club game are still a long way from
finding common ground.

Track record: Bill Beaumont

Track record: Bill Beaumont

With Premiership Rugby wielding a deal with BT Vision on behalf of the English clubs and ERC armed with a competing Sky contract, delegates will reconvene in Rome next month, to resume talks.

Beaumont stepped into a similar row involving England and their European counterparts in 1999 and famously managed to resolve the issue over a beer or two with the-then Six Nations chairman, Allan Hosie, at the Drum and Monkey pub in Glasgow.

He is keen to have a similarly positive impact this time, albeit perhaps in more formal settings. 'As chairman of the RFU, I would like to think with the contacts that I have got and the relationships I have built up amongst our neighbours, I will try and use my best endeavours,' said the former Grand Slam-winning England captain.

'That is what the RFU wants. We are keen to resolve this situation. We don't want to be at loggerheads with our neighbours all the time or the clubs.

'We are due to meet with the club owners next Wednesday. It will be interesting to chat to them.

'There is a long way to go. I have seen these things come and go in the past, and I sincerely hope that over the next few months, people sit down and discuss it around a room, rather than in the media.

'We have got to try to reach an amicable settlement which suits all parties. I would like to think that can happen. I am not just saying that glibly.

'Looking at it with my RFU hat on, the more potential international players we have playing at the top level in Europe is better for everybody. I am sure there will be a fair bit more re-positioning over the next month or two.

'I would like to think the six countries would still be involved in the European Cup.

'It is now a premier competition. To win the Heineken Cup as Leicester and Wasps have done means a hell of a lot for English rugby.'

Barkley banks dream move

Bath star Olly Barkley

Former England fly-half-cum centre Olly Barkley (right) will leave Bath next month to join wealthy French club Racing Metro.

The Parisians made their move for the 30-year-old after injuries to their leading No 10s ahead of a Heineken Cup pool campaign against Saracens, Munster and Edinburgh.

Barkley has made more than 200 appearances for Bath and spent all but one season of his career at The Rec – returning in haste after an ill-fated move to Gloucester.

The chance to try his hand in the lucrative Top 14 league came out of the blue and proved too tempting to resist.

'I will be forever a Bath boy but this, for me, was simply the opportunity of a lifetime and one I just couldn't ignore,' he said.

Gary Gold, Bath's head coach, added: 'Barks is a great bloke and a top player. Every now and then an offer lands on the table that a bloke just can't refuse.

'We are sorry to see him go, but he goes with our blessing.'

Bath have signed hooker Brett Sharman – who left Northampton soon after an investigation into a controversial tweet about Mo Farah – as cover for the injured Rob Webber.

Mills happy with toothless victories

London Welsh captain Jonathan Mills lost two teeth during his side's shock Aviva Premiership win over Exeter last Sunday.

That's what comes of an accidental collision with the hard head of team-mate Alfie To'oala.

Low point: London Welsh take on Exeter in front of a sea of empty blue seats

Low point: London Welsh take on Exeter in front of a sea of empty blue seats

Unperturbed by the dental discomfort, Mills insists he is ready to keep sacrificing teeth if the Exiles keep getting results, saying: 'I don't mind giving one for every win we get this season.'

Officials at Welsh would no doubt give a few teeth for a bigger home crowd, as just 3,150 people watched their victory at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford.

This low attendance is part of an alarming trend, with big gaps at grounds around the country this season. Wasps, London Irish and Exeter have also drawn home crowds of less than 6,000 so far and showpiece matches at Twickenham and Wembley have merely served to partially disguise the problem.

With a home World Cup on the horizon, the authorities must hope this is not a sign of declining interest.

Ticket prices may be a factor in some cases, but it costs 18 to watch London Welsh's next home game, against Gloucester – hardly a prohibitive figure.

The last word

There's always some sort of drama over team kits, isn't there No matter what sport it is, the uniform worn by players attracts so much negative comment. Too expensive, too often updated (fair point), too bright, too tight, and so on.

Even Team GB's Olympics outfits were derided as too blue, before the misgivings vanished as those wearing them brought home endless gold.

Now the RFU have unveiled England's new kits and all the fuss is over the change one, described as 'regal purple'.

Essentially, it's what Arsenal wore a few years back, with a few gripper sections so players can lift each other and a Red Rose, of course. This hasn't gone down well, nor has the fact that it will be worn against Australia on November 17, when England are at home and there's no colour clash.

It is said that the traditionalists will be up in arms.

Really If so, the traditionalists need to get out more. It's not too garish and no other country wears this exact colour, so what's the problem

Save the indignation for when England start behaving like Arsenal; any act of foul play followed by Stuart Lancaster insisting – a la Arsene Wenger – that he didn't see it…