Tag Archives: golden

France 0 Spain 1: match report – Pedro scores as Paul Pogba is sent off

France 0 Spain 1: Pedro steals the glory in Paris as ex-United man Pogba sees red

PUBLISHED:

21:51 GMT, 26 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 26 March 2013

Pedro scored the only goal of the game as Spain closed the gap on Group I leaders France.

Spain's returning playmaker, Xavi, created the opening with an outstanding ball to Nacho Monreal. The Arsenal left back found the incoming Pedro, who put the ball past Hugo Lloris.

Raphael Varane had a golden opportunity to equalise when Victor Valdes flapped at a corner, but the Real Madrid wonderkid could not get the ball under control in time to slide the ball into the empty net.

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, who was outrstanding on his second performance for his country, was sent off for two yellow cards in as many minutes with just over 20 minutes to play.

More to follow…

One up: Pedro wheels away in celebration after putting Spain in the lead

One up: Pedro wheels away in celebration after putting Spain in the lead

Just about: Hugo Lloris (left) can't keep out Pedro's second-half effort

Just about: Hugo Lloris (left) can't keep out Pedro's second-half effort

Futile: Hugo Lloris watches as the ball bounces over the line

Futile: Hugo Lloris watches as the ball bounces over the line

MATCH FACTS

France: Lloris, Jallet (Giroud 90), Koscielny, Varane, Evra, Cabaye (Menez 70), Matuidi, Pogba, Valbuena, Ribery, Benzema (Sissoko 82)

Subs Not Used: Mandanda, Fanni, Sakho, Yanga-Mbiwa, Gonalons, Remy, Payet, Clichy, Landreau

Sent off: Pogba (78)

Booked: Cabaye, Matuidi, Pogba

Spain: Valdes, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Monreal, Alonso, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta (Mata 90), Villa (Jesus Navas 61), Pedro (Fabregas 76)

Subs Not Used: Reina, Albiol, Javi Garcia, Azpilicueta, Negredo, Isco, Cazorla, De Gea

Booked: Xavi, Fabregas, Arbeloa

Goal: Pedro 58

Attendance: 80,000

Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

.

Marching orders: Paul Pogba picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes after Pedro opened the scoring

Marching orders: Paul Pogba picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes after Pedro opened the scoring

Marching orders: Paul Pogba picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes after Pedro opened the scoring

.

You're surrounded: Karim Benzema (centre) tries to weave his way past three Spain defenders

You're surrounded: Karim Benzema (centre) tries to weave his way past three Spain defenders

Big chance: Franck Ribery (left) tries to sneak the ball underneath Victor Valdes

Big chance: Franck Ribery (left) tries to sneak the ball underneath Victor Valdes

.

Booked: Xavi remonstrates with the referee as he is given a yellow card

Booked: Xavi remonstrates with the referee as he is given a yellow card

Mature: Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba played in the middle for France

Mature: Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba played in the middle for France

.

Block: Patrice Evra chases down Barcelona striker David Villa

Block: Patrice Evra chases down Barcelona striker David Villa

Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Alex Kiwomya"s late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-final

Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Kiwomya's late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-finals

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

02:06 GMT, 9 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:08 GMT, 9 March 2013

Chelsea's defence of the FA Youth Cup remains alive after they negotiated a tricky quarter-final assignment at Derby County thanks to Alex Kiwomya's late strike.

The Blues were matched all the way by a talented Derby side but eventually prevailed when Kiwomya, nephew of former Arsenal player Chris, found the bottom corner with a sweet drive on 82 minutes.

Extra time looked likely as Derby, who claimed a Premier League scalp in Manchester City in the last round, sniffed another when the excellent Mason Bennett equalised Lewis Baker's 16th minute penalty.

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

But when Kiwomya received a through ball from substitute Charlie Colkett, he spun and fired beyond Rams goalkeeper Ross Etheridge to kill their hopes.

The win means Chelsea will face either Hull City or Liverpool in the last four as they seek to emulate last year's success.

Chelsea took the lead in controversial circumstances just after the quarter-hour – Reece Mitchell burst through the heart of the Derby defence and was clattered by Etheridge inside the box.

The keeper was fortunate not to be sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, referee Chris Sarginson showing mercy with just a yellow card.

Lewis Baker wasn't so sympathetic, however, finding the bottom corner with a textbook penalty while Mitchell hobbled off.

The Premier League side should have added to their lead as they controlled the first half, and Alex Kiwomya was guilty of missing two golden opportunities within a minute of each other.

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

First, neat interplay between Baker and Jeremie Boga on the edge of the box teed Kiwomya up 12 yards out, but he somehow missed the target.

On Chelsea's next break, the front man was presented with an even easier chance by Baker, but his powerful shot directly in front of goal was blocked by Etheridge.

And there was nearly a sting in the tale when Bennett rose above Alex Davey to head an Andrew Dales cross against the post in the second minute of stoppage time.

It was their best effort of a first half in which they struggled to keep the ball for any length of time.

Jamie Hanson, goalscoring hero in the victories over Ipswich Town and Manchester City in the last two rounds, curled a vicious free-kick over the bar, but other sights of goal had been few and far between.

The hosts were energised by the half-time break and 16-year-old Bennett, the club's youngest first team debutant and goalscorer, and an England Under 17 starlet, began to show his class.

He warmed the hands of Mitchell Beeney with a hit from 30 yards and then scored the equaliser on 55 minutes – although whether he meant it only he knows.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Tearing down the left side after robbing Fankaty Dabo of the ball, Bennett cut inside and surely intended to pick out a teammate in the centre with a low ball. It took a deflection off a Chelsea foot, however, and left Beeney helpless.

With his next touch of the ball, Bennett crossed for Andrew Dales inside the box. The midfielder unleashed a powerful effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.

But when Kiwomya struck it was a decisive blow, Derby unable to respond despite the encouragement of a 4,000-strong crowd.

In fact, Chelsea could have added to their lead in stoppage time when Jeremie Boga's lopping shot struck the top of the crossbar.

With the last kick of the game, Hanson was nearly Derby's hero again but his free-kick on the left clipped the top of the bar.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Darren Wassall, Derby youth team coach, said: 'On the balance of the second half chances and play, then certainly we could have taken it to extra time.

'We said to the lads at half time you've seen how the crowd have got up in the last five minutes of the half and that's without scoring. So if you do score, this 4,000 crowd will be right behind you.

'When we equalised and when Mason went through, we had a real lively 20 minutes after the break. We had hit the bar and had a couple of chances we easily could have scored from. That's when we were in the ascendancy and that's when we should have taken advantage of that situation.

'Chelsea have got unlimited resources and they've got a lot of qualities – they played some great stuff, but so did we. We gave them a real fight. We competed against them for 95 minutes and I'm very proud of all the players.'

Wassall singled out Bennett for special praise: 'He was almost unplayable tonight for 20 minutes early in that second half. He scored the goal and caused havoc. It's all about progression into the first team and we're delighted with his performance tonight.'

Track Cycling World Championship gold for Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker

Olympic hero Trott at full pelt to lead Britain to their first gold of World Championships

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

17:45 GMT, 21 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:58 GMT, 22 February 2013

Great Britain's women brought golden memories of last summer’s Olympic Games flooding back by successfully defending their world team pursuit title.

Laura Trott and Dani King, who won Olympic gold with Joanna Rowsell, teamed up with A-level student Elinor Barker to clinch gold in the Track Cycling world championships in Minsk.

They completed the 3km race in 3min 18.140sec to beat Australia’s Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins by 1.773sec.

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

This is the last time the women’s
team pursuit will feature in its current format. It is set to be
extended to four kilometres and an extra rider added.

Trott said: ‘It seemed to flow nicely
and we changed a few things from qualifying and it came off. If someone
thought they couldn’t cope on the front they came off. It tops it off
for us. To win the race the last time it will be as a 3km is amazing.’

Barker added: ‘I feel really
overwhelmed. I thought I was just riding round the Manchester Velodrome
in a training ride and then we won. I just feel shocked. It is above and
beyond what I’ve dreamed of.’

King said: ‘It means everything.
We’ve worked so hard since the Olympic Games and although Jo Rowsell
will come back, it’s great to have Elinor on the team.’

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Becky James, who is one of
Sportsmail’s Magnificent Seven who we are tracking to the Rio Olympics,
won her second bronze of the championships in the 500m time trial.

Martyn Irvine became the first
Irishman to win a medal at the championships in 117 years when he won
gold and silver within an hour of each other.

‘I’m not sure it’s hit me yet,’ said Irvine. ‘I just can’t believe I’m standing here with a rainbow jersey.’

Irvine came second in the individual
pursuit, beaten by reigning champion Michael Hepburn, and won gold in
the 15km scratch race.

Gold standard: The girls celebrate with their hard-fought medals

Gold standard: The girls celebrate with their hard-fought medals

In a dramatic finish, Irvine accelerated away with 10 laps to go and managed to hold off his rivals.

He added: ‘I just stuck to what I know, just committed 100 per cent and it paid off.

‘I just stayed near the front, stayed out of trouble. Once I went, it was all or nothing. I didn’t look back. It was full gas.’

Rio Ferdinand must be recalled by England – Neil Ashton

Neil Ashton: Cahill's slip against Brazil shows Hodgson needs Ferdinand at the heart of England's defence

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

00:07 GMT, 7 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:39 GMT, 7 February 2013

High up in the stands at Wembley, the best available central defender in the country left his calling card. Rio Ferdinand is itching to play for England again, tweeting in advance of Brazil’s visit that he was on his way to north-west London.

Ferdinand will never give up hope, and Gary Cahill’s elementary mistake at the start of the second half is the reason why.

This is the scenario unfolding for England’s head coach Roy Hodgson as he continues to hide behind the ‘footballing reasons’ for Ferdinand’s continued exclusion. Cahill is a good defender, but not good enough at the very highest level.

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand

Out in the cold: Rio Ferdinand has not played for England since the draw with Switzerland last June

He was brutally exposed when his failure to complete a pass allowed Fred, on as a substitute, to equalise at the start of the second half.

There will have been reminders from Hodgson at half-time for England to keep their composure after Wayne Rooney’s sweetly taken goal put them in front. Instead the mistake by Cahill is a cause for concern, an alarming moment for a player with a Champions League winner’s medal.

Until that moment he had done well enough, twice snuffing out the threat of Neymar in the first half as the Brazilian worried England’s defence.

At 34, Ferdinand is still good enough to represent his country. Frank Lampard, who scored after coming on in the second half, is the same age. Lampard has been assured that he will be part of Hodgson’s squad if England get through Group H and board the plane to Brazil next summer.

By then he will be nearly 36 and the assumption is that the remaining members of the Golden Generation will call it a day after the World Cup.

Gutted: Gary Cahill is dejected after his mistake allowed Fred to equalise for Brazil against England (below)

Gutted: Gary Cahill is dejected after his mistake allowed Fred to equalise for Brazil against England (below)

Fred scores against England

Lampard has made 17 Barclays Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, but if Hodgson is number crunching then Ferdinand represents full value as well. The Manchester United defender has started 19 games for the club in the Premier League and come on as a substitute in one other.

He is playing, unquestionably, for the best team in the country and his selection, fitness permitting, against Real Madrid next week is automatic.

That is a Champions League tie, a second-round first-leg clash in the Bernabeu where Cristiano Ronaldo and Co will take some beating.

Fergie always turns to Ferdinand in big games, just as he has against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.

In command: Ferdinand has impressed in defence for Manchester United this season

In command: Ferdinand has impressed in defence for Manchester United this season

After his injury just days before the start of the 2010 World Cup, Ferdinand made only a handful of appearances under Fabio Capello the following season.

Hodgson has never picked him in a squad, preferring John Terry at the heart of his defence until he made the surprise decision to retire.

Recalling Ferdinand would provide some mild embarrassment for Hodgson, but ending the defender’s international career on the Tube is way out in front when it comes to wincing.

England have important games next month, particularly when they travel to Montenegro for a vital World Cup qualifier.

Those are the games that really count at international level, true tests for the top players.

Italy's Franco Baresi

Paolo Maldini

Examples: Franco Baresi (left) and Paolo Maldini both continued into their thirties at international level

Some of the great defenders, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi among them, have been to World Cups when they were well past their prime.

Simply because they were 34 at the time didn’t make them bad players and that is something Hodgson should consider carefully when he selects his squad next month.

Beyond that, Hodgson hopes this team will be heading for Brazil and the World Cup finals.
To do well, he will need England’s best players with him.

Nicole Cooke retires from cycling and attacks drug cheats

When Lance cries on Oprah spare a thought for those who walked away with shattered dreams: Golden girl Cooke slams drug cheats after retiring from cycling

.

Cooke had thought she could put an indifferent four years behind her and mount a defence of her title, but finished only 31st.

The time between Beijing and London
was marked by a spat with Armitstead at the 2011 World Championships,
when Cooke was accused of riding 'for herself', rather than the team.

The duo put that behind them before again being team-mates at last summer's Olympics.

Armitstead was among the first to pay
tribute to Cooke, writing on Twitter: 'Congratulations to Nicole Cooke
on a fantastic career!'

British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: 'There is no doubt that Nicole has been a pioneering force in women's cycling.

'British Cycling owes a huge debt of gratitude to her and wish her all the best.'

COOKE REPORT – A LIFE ON THE ROAD

Team-mate: Elizabeth Armitstead and Nicole Cooke

1983 – Born April 13, Swansea, Wales.

2000 – Wins gold medals in World Championship junior road races in France and Spain.

2001 – Continues that success with further wins in junior race and time-trial in Portugal.Awarded the Bidlake Memorial Prize, given for outstanding performance or contribution to the betterment of cycling.

2002 – Wins gold medal in women’s road race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

2003 – Wins the women’s road race World Cup, the youngest to do so and the first Briton. Named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.

2004 – Becomes the youngest winner of the Giro d’Italia Femminile.

August – Finishes fifth in road race in the Athens Olympics.

2006 – Wins the bronze medal in the road race at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
September – Wins road race World Cup for the second time.

2008 – August – Wins gold medal in road race at the Beijing Olympics, Britain’s first medal of the Games.

September – Becomes first cyclist to win World Championships and Olympics in same year with victory in Varese, Italy.

2009: June – Wins Giro del Trentino, before triumphing in British Championships road race for the ninth time.

2010: June – Beaten into third place as Emma Pooley wins British Championships.

September – Fourth in World Championships road race.

October – Fifth in Commonwealth Games road race.

2011: June – Fourth in British Championships as Lizzie Armitstead wins.

July – Wins Giro D’Italia stage five.

September – Has a well-publicised spat with Armitstead, who was
nominated leader at World Championships but accused Cooke of riding 'for
herself'.

2012: June – Sixth at British Championships road race.

July – Finishes 31st in defence of her Olympic title as Armitstead (above) claims
Britain’s first medal of London 2012, a silver behind Marianne Vos of
Holland.

September – Finishes 60th as Vos wins the world title in Limburg, Holland.

2013: January 14 – Announces retirement.

Mario Balotelli scores twice for Manchester City Under 21s

A day in the life of Mario… handed run-out for City's kids team, turns up laughing and joking, scores two goals, snubs hat-trick by rejecting TWO penalties and is then chauffeur-driven home!

By
Alex Horlock

PUBLISHED:

16:36 GMT, 7 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:14 GMT, 7 January 2013

Mario Balotelli was back in the goals for Manchester City in a surprise performance for the champions' Under 21 outfit – but he turned down the chance to score a hat-trick from the spot, twice.

The controversial striker returned to action for the senior squad on Saturday, when he replaced Edin Dzeko in the 71st minute in City's 3-0 FA Cup win over Watford.

The striker has been out of favour over the past month following a lacklustre showing in City's defeat to bitter rivals in the Manchester derby on December 9.

No 9: Mario Balotelli wore the iconic striker's number instead of 45, which he wears at senior level

No 9: Mario Balotelli wore the iconic striker's number instead of 45, which he wears at senior level

Anybody there Balotelli scored twice in front of a modest crowd at Platt Lane

Anybody there Balotelli scored twice in front of a modest crowd at Platt Lane

A dismal four weeks for the Italian came
to a head when he and manager Roberto Mancini wrestled with one another
in training, and, as revealed in Sportsmail, the City boss is prepared to sell his protege after finally losing patience with him.

But Mancini may have to think twice after a dazzling performance this afternoon.

After coolly jogging on to the pitch, sharing a joke with some of the fans at Platt Lane, the 22-year-old fired City into a 1-0 lead after half-time, having pounced on a defensive error.

With Balotelli leading the line, City
cruised past their opposition, and were soon 3-0 up after a second
goal from the striker.

The Italy international was then twice
handed golden opportunities to bag a hat-trick after his coolly despatched brace.

Future stars: The Italian lined up next to Manchester City's youngsters

Future stars: The Italian lined up next to Manchester City's youngsters

Face in the crowd: Marcos Lopes, who scored City's third on Saturday, watched the match

Face in the crowd: Marcos Lopes, who scored City's third on Saturday, watched the match

Looking on: Oldham manager Paul Dickov was at Platt Lane watching two of his former clubs in action

Looking on: Oldham manager Paul Dickov was at Platt Lane watching two of his former clubs in action

City were awarded two penalties at 3-0 up, and Balotelli allowed his younger team-mates to try their hand from the spot.

Despite his perfect record from 12 yards out, having never missed a competitive penalty for club or country,
Balotelli first handed the reins to a young trialist, who missed the mark.

After City were awarded a second penalty, Balotelli allowed young Denis Suarez to have a pop.

The 19-year-old Spaniard stepped up
and killed the game off at 4-0 in front of a modest crowd including the
likes of Paul Dickov, Patrick Vieira and sporting director Txiki
Begiristain.

The selfless Balotelli was then chauffeur-driven from the ground.

Mancini will take solace from the fact that the former Inter Milan attacker is back to scoring ways.

The Italian coach has watched his
compatriot endure a miserable campaign so far, with Balotelli only
managing to score once in the Premier League this season.

With Sergio Aguero injured, Balotelli will be hoping play some part in City's trip to the Emirates this weekend in their bid to topple Arsenal.

However, Mancini stated that Balotelli's career at City was 'finished' after the corresponding fixture last season. The striker picked up two yellow cards and was dismissed as the visitors were beaten 1-0 by a Mikel Arteta strike.

Impressed: City's sporting director Txiki Begiristain was also at the match

Impressed: City's sporting director Txiki Begiristain was also at the match

Job done: The goalscorer left City in style as he climbed into a chauffeur-driven car

Job done: The goalscorer left City in style as he climbed into a chauffeur-driven car

Peering out: Balotelli will be hoping to be included in City's trip to Arsenal this weekend

Peering out: Balotelli will be hoping to be included in City's trip to Arsenal this weekend

2013 golden ticket: The main sporting events of the year

The 2013 golden ticket: Which sporting event are you looking forward to most next year

PUBLISHED:

15:36 GMT, 31 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 31 December 2012

The year 2012 will arguably go down as the greatest 12 months in British sporting history, but the drama does not end there as we roll into 2013. We asked our team of writers which main event they are looking forward to the most over the next 12 months, and here's what they told us…

**Scroll down for a full calendar of all the big sporting events in 2013

Year to remember: The London 2012 Olympic Games lit up a fantastic 12 months for British sport

Year to remember: The London 2012 Olympic Games lit up a fantastic 12 months for British sport

The Masters

April 11 to April 14

Derek Lawrenson

From the wider sporting world, it is hard to beat the magic of the first day of an Ashes Test series, with all its promise of a summer of cricketing splendour.

In golf, even after attending every one since 1985, the lure of the Masters remains. Will Rory claim his first green jacket Will Tiger finally rediscover the scent of the Golden Bear Will an Englishman end the major drought As ever, the event offers a myriad of exciting possibilities.

Three's the charm: Rory McIlroy will be looking to add the Masters to his Major haul in April

Three's the charm: Rory McIlroy will be looking to add the Masters to his Major haul in April

Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler

May/June – no official date yet confirmed

Martin Domin

In what could be a year of rematches for the Cobra, this unification showdown promises to be the highlight. While victory over undisputed super-middleweight king Andre Ward would be the best of his career, Froch’s meeting with his Danish rival is already a Fight of the Year candidate.

Kessler won a unanimous decision when they two clashed in the Super Six tournament in 2010 and recently won the WBA title from Brian Magee, while Froch holds the IBF belt after his stunning demolition of Canadian Lucian Bute. With a 4million pot to be shared by the protagonists, expect fireworks from the first bell… and a tight victory for Nottingham’s finest.

The Cobra: Carl Froch is set to take on Mikkel Kessler at the beginning of the summer

The Cobra: Carl Froch is set to take on Mikkel Kessler at the beginning of the summer

British and Irish Lions tour of Australia

June 1 to July 6

Chris Foy

No need to look beyond my own sport here, as any Lions tour is a wonderful, unique event, generating even greater public interest and debate than a World Cup.

This year’s edition sees a return to Australia, where the Lions last visited in 2001, culminating in an agonising 2-1 Test series defeat. This time, if injuries don’t brutally undermine his plans, head coach Warren Gatland should have a staggering array of British and Irish rugby talent at his disposal.

There is a very real prospect of a first series success since 1997 and with the fabled ‘red army’ expected to number 40,000 for the crusade Down Under, it will be an enthralling, colourful sporting highlight of the year.

Drought: The Lions were last victorious in a series back in 1997 against South Africa

Drought: The Lions were last victorious in a series back in 1997 against South Africa

Chris Cutmore

Nothing else in sport can match the intensity, brutality and white-knuckle tension of British and Irish Lions tours. Four years ago in South Africa they were heroic in defeat. But, as Jim Telfer famously once said, to win for the Lions is the ultimate. Australia await in June – can Warren Gatland inspire a first series victory since 1997 This is your Everest, boys.

Lee Clayton

My golden ticket would be The British
and Irish Lions tour, as a punter. I’ve always wanted to take my dad,
who is a massive rugby fan. The atmosphere and the social side of the
trip would be magnificent, as well as the sporting excellence.

The boss: Warren Gatland takes the 2013 touring party to Australia in June

The boss: Warren Gatland takes the 2013 touring party to Australia in June

The Champions League Final, back at Wembley, should be another wonderful sporting occasion, as should Carl Froch defending his world title at the 02 Arena in London (see Jeff Powell’s latest boxing column). Froch is a warrior fighter. And I might have more chance of making that than getting Down Under… this time. But the saving starts here for the next tour.

I am lucky enough to be going to the first day of the Oval Test against Australia on August 21. So here’s to dry weather and lots of English dominance.

Who said it was all quiet in London post-Olympics in 2013

Happy memories: England clinched the 2009 Ashes series at the Oval

Happy memories: England clinched the 2009 Ashes series at the Oval

Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Jeff Powell

Hopefully, prayerfully and if it actually happens almost unbelievably… Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao.

Never mind that the PacMan was knocked out by mini-Terminator Juan Manuel Marquez, this is still the No 1 pound-for-pounder which all boxing and much of the outside world wants to see. And with both men edging into decline – Mayweather’s legs were less spry against Miguel Cotto and it is not inconceivable he too could hit the deck soon – if the $200 million mega-bucks fight doesn’t happen this year it probably never will.

Will they, won't they The boxing world is still waiting for Mayweather (pictured) to take on Pacquiao

Will they, won't they The boxing world is still waiting for Mayweather (pictured) to take on Pacquiao

Wimbledon

June 24 to July 7

Mike Dickson

Normally, in the event of England hosting Australia in the Ashes, the golden ticket would be for the Lord’s Test match, or any other for that matter. But between June and January 2014 England will play their old foe at least 26 times in all forms of cricket, including ten Tests, which somewhat devalues the currency.

Therefore in a non-international football tournament summer the golden ticket has to be the men’s singles final at Wimbledon, preferably between Andy Murray and a fully fit and restored Rafael Nadal.

Old rivals: Murray and Nadal (right) have played out some epic matches in the past

Old rivals: Murray and Nadal (right) have played out some epic matches in the past

Laurie Whitwell

Sunday, July 7. The day when a British man reigns triumphant at Wimbledon to end a 77-year wait for a singles champion.

That singular man is Andy Murray, who has coped with prolonged national expectation and four Grand Slam final defeats to emerge this country's finest tennis player since Fred Perry. He did the improbable by winning the US Open to banish one enduring statistic of Perry's and on Centre Court on men's finals day 2013 he will get rid of another.

A ticket to see Murray ascend the heights set by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would be 24 carat.

Historic moment: Murray sinks to the ground as he beats Novak Djokovic in the US Open final

Historic moment: Murray sinks to the ground as he beats Novak Djokovic in the US Open final

Sam Cunningham

Andy Murray did two things last year that suggest he is finally capable of ending a 77-year wait for a male British Wimbledon champion – he won a Grand Slam and won a major competition on Centre Court.

There wasn't much in 2012 that Britain didn't achieve in sport, but having a winner at Wimbledon was one of them. Every time the nerves kick in Murray can look at the Olympic gold medal in his locker to remind him of beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who beat Murray in last year's Wimbledon final, in front of a packed crowd at SW19.

If he goes all the way it will produce another two weeks of sport that will capture the nation's attention and would be likely to bump him up two places to win Sports Personality of the Year. I can't wait to watch it.

Sealed with a kiss: Murray will be hoping to add another Grand Slam to his trophy cabinet at Wimbledon

Sealed with a kiss: Murray will be hoping to add another Grand Slam to his trophy cabinet at Wimbledon

The Ashes in England

July 10 to August 25

Neil Moxley

I'm most looking forward to beating Australia. It helps if it is a mainstream sport. Therefore, victories in the Ashes and for the British Lions would be my idea of sporting heaven.

To be honest, any sporting victory over Australia is to be celebrated. Tiddlywinks, running for the bus, sheep-shearing. All of it would bring a smile to my face. Why am I like this I'm no xenophobe. But I just know how much they hate losing and how hard they try whenever they face any team from these shores, especially England.

And, having grown up in a cricketing era where we were routinely humiliated by the likes of Steve Waugh, (my cricketing hero) Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, we haven't yet inflicted the sort of pain upon them to nullify that inflicted upon us by the thrashings of the late 80s and 90s.

Arch rivals: England and Australia have some titanic clashed lined up this year

Arch rivals: England and Australia have some titanic clashes lined up this year

World Athletics Championships in Moscow

August 10 to 18

Laura Williamson

There is no excuse for a post-Olympics lull in track and field with the World Championships just eight months away and it promises to be an exciting competition from a British perspective.

Jessica Ennis wants her world heptathlon title back after silver in 2011, Mo Farah will eye another long-distance double and Greg Rutherford is out to prove his Olympic long jump gold was not a one-off. Then, of course, there’s Usain Bolt, who has already targeted breaking his own world records in 2013…

Main event: Usain Bolt will be looking to add World Championship gold to his Olympic crown

Main event: Usain Bolt will be looking to add World Championship gold to his Olympic crown

Other key dates in 2013:

FA Cup final, Wembley, May 11

Champions League final, Wembley, May 25

Tour de France, June 29 – July 21

The Open, Muirfield, July 18 – 21

Rugby League World Cup, October 26 – November 30

The Ashes in Australia

November 21 to January 7, 2014

Ian Ladyman

My plane ticket for the Adelaide Ashes Test in November is already booked so I am growing steadily excited about that. The last one in 2010 was remarkable and anything approaching that would be more than acceptable for me.

With England and Australia meeting in back-to-back series this year, the cricket authorities should be wary of overkill but we will see how that pans out.

There is also a Rugby League World Cup to look forward to this year – with the final at Old Trafford – while the conclusion to the Barclays Premier League will not be dull.

The Ashes home and away

Barmy army: England's travelling support are sure to be in full voice in Australia

Barmy army: England's travelling support are sure to be in full voice in Australia

January to June

July - December

Usain Bolt Christmas message to fans on Twitter

Season's greetings from the sprint king! Bolt takes to Twitter to wish fans Merry Christmas

|

UPDATED:

18:45 GMT, 23 December 2012

Sprinter Usain Bolt took to Twitter to wish his millions of fans around the world a Merry Christmas.

2012 has been a year to remember for the 26-year-old Jamaican after he starred at the London Olympic Games by claiming the 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles.

Bolt became the only man to have retained both individual sprint golds and helped his team become the first to run under 37 seconds in the relay.

After winning the 200m title, he said: ‘I'm a living legend. I was fast, but I was not fit enough.’

Merry Christmas: Usain Bolt uses his famous pose to wish fans all the best for the season

Merry Christmas: Usain Bolt uses his famous pose to wish fans all the best for the season

Sprint king: Usain Bolt proved his dominance at the Olympic Games by winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay

Sprint king: Usain Bolt proved his dominance at the Olympic Games by winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay

Flying across the line: Bolt wins the 100m at the Olympics

Flying across the line: Bolt wins the 100m at the Olympics

His sixth Games gold made him the most decorated Olympic sprinter of all-time.

And Bolt posted a message on his
Twitter account with a picture of him celebrating in London with three
Christmas baubles replaced by his gold medals.

Last week, he added another gong to his collection as he was named the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.

On receiving the award he said: 'It was a great Olympics, a great year and I worked really hard.'

Golden moment: Bolt celebrates after being presented with his 100m gold

Golden moment: Bolt celebrates after being presented with his 100m gold

Trading places: Bolt celebrates with Great Britain's Mo Farah

Trading places: Bolt celebrates with Great Britain's Mo Farah

Watch a re-run of the Olympic 100m final below

Daniel Sturridge handed 1.5m goodbye from Chelsea before joining Liverpool

EXCLUSIVE: Sturridge handed a 1.5m goodbye from Chelsea as star closes in on Liverpool deal

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 23 December 2012

Chelsea are putting together a 1.5million golden goodbye for Daniel Sturridge to make sure that he joins Liverpool.

The clubs have agreed a 12million
fee for the striker, who underwent a medical on Sunday and who is
expected to sign a three-and-a-half year deal in the next 24 hours.

Heading north: Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge looks set to complete a move to Liverpool next month

Heading north: Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge looks set to complete a move to Liverpool next month

However, it needed the addition of a
cash sweetener to facilitate the move after Sturridge indicated that he
would be happy to stay at Stamford bridge and fight for his place until
his contract expires in 18 months.

The on-off transfer hit a snag last
week over the payment of agent fees and Chelsea were keen to avoid any
more hitches as they seek to off-load Sturridge and his 60,000-a-week
wages.

On the move Sturridge scored in the League Cup win over Man United this season

On the move Sturridge scored in the League Cup win over Man United this season

They also do not want to risk losing the player for nothing in the summer of 2014.

Sturridge came close to joining
Liverpool on August 31 but the switch collapsed when he refused to sign
on loan, insisting he only wanted to move on a permanent deal.

Olympic experience: Sturridge was involved for Team GB this summer

Olympic experience: Sturridge was involved for Team GB this summer

Sportsmail exclusively revealed in October how Chelsea would redouble their efforts to sell Sturridge when the transfer window re-opens.

And barring an unexpected U-turn, Sturridge will become a Liverpool player this week.

LTA chief Roger Draper under attack for "outrageous" 640k salary

Fury at Draper's 640k as LTA chief comes under fire over 'outrageous' salary

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 19 December 2012

The 640,000 salary package of Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper has been branded 'outrageous' by the chair of Parliament's All Party Tennis Group.

Labour's Baroness Billingham has attacked his pay, especially the decision to award a 201,000 bonus, revealed in Sports Agenda, when grassroots participation in the sport has actually fallen in the past four years.

Earlier this week Sport England effectively put the LTA on probation for a year over future funding awards, and described their plan to improve numbers playing the game as 'simply not strong enough'.

Net gains: Draper has come under fire after receiving 640,000 for one year

Net gains: Draper has come under fire after receiving 640,000 for one year

That prompted Baroness Billingham to say: 'This is the second straight year that they have criticised the LTA and in light of that it is outrageous that he is paid more than four times more than the Prime Minister. It's not right to get a large bonus in that situation.

'Think of all the children in primary schools who could be getting to know tennis if that sort of money was available. I stand by what I said in the Lord's, which is that the LTA are useless.'

Official participation figures are down from 487,500 to 441,500 since 2008 despite huge profits pumped in from Wimbledon.

Laura Robson

Andy Murray

Golden moment: Laura Robson and Andy Murray have enjoyed successful years

The LTA, who declined to respond to her specific comments, pointed out that many sports are struggling with recreational numbers and that in the past year tennis has seen an improvement in that area.

There has also been high-profile success through Andy Murray, Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Jonny Marray.

No 2: But Baker is ranked over 240 places below Murray

No 2: But Baker is ranked over 240 places below Murray

Yet British men's No 2 Jamie Baker is ranked 246 and the Baroness is not alone in wondering whether the LTA's annual 15.3 million staffing costs and 17 million spent on participation could have been better utilised.

So far the LTA's main board has taken a very benign view of their chief executive, who has been in charge since 2006. But that could change next year when a new independent chairman, David Gregson, takes up his post.