Tag Archives: mandela

Sunderland are to host "Nelson Mandela Day" when Manchester United visit

Sunderland to host 'Nelson Mandela Day' when United come to visit

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

19:54 GMT, 28 February 2013

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UPDATED:

20:33 GMT, 28 February 2013

Sunderland have become the first English football team to set up a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Sunderland, who this season started a new sponsorship deal with Invest In Africa, will support a number of fundraising initiatives on behalf of the Foundation.

The March 30 fixture against Manchester United has been designated ‘Nelson Mandela Day’ at the Stadium of Light.

International: At the start of the season Sunderland announced they were to be sponsored by Invest In Africa

International: At the start of the season Sunderland announced they were to be sponsored by Invest In Africa

Vice chairman, David Miliband, said: 'There is no more iconic figure in the world today than Nelson Mandela.

'His values of equality, justice and reconciliation are the inspiration to millions and this partnership is a wonderful symbol for Sunderland in Africa and a huge honour for our football club.

'As a club which prides itself on its commitment to charitable work, to the community as a whole through our own Foundation of Light, and to the pursuit of excellence in all we do, we see tremendous potential in working with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.'

Key: The match may be crucial in Sunderland's fight against the drop

Key: The match may be crucial in Sunderland's fight against the drop

Africa Cup of Nations: Cape Verde 2 Angola 1 – Match Report

Cape Verde 2 Angola 1: Underdogs come from behind to cause an upset as Blue Sharks make quarter-finals

PUBLISHED:

19:37 GMT, 27 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:37 GMT, 27 January 2013

Massive underdogs Cape Verde Islands scored two late goals to snatch a dramatic 2-1 win over Angola and qualify for the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday.

A header from Gege after 82 minutes and a strike from substitute Heldon in the first minute of stoppage time gave the islanders the most unlikely of wins and put them into the last eight after South Africa drew 2-2 with Morocco in the other Group A match in Durban.

Angola had taken the lead when Nando deflected the ball into his own net after 33 minutes, but even though Angola were winning for much of the match, they looked like being eliminated while Morocco were beating South Africa.

Pure delight: Cape Verde's Heldon celebrates his goal

Pure delight: Cape Verde's Heldon celebrates his goal

Late goals in both games changed everything in the final minutes as Cape Verde clinched their place in the last eight to take second place in the group behind South Africa. Morocco finished third and Angola fourth.

The showdown in Port Elizabeth was the first time the two former Portuguese African colonies had met in the tournament and many of the players from both sides have links past and present at club level.

But despite the 'derby' aspect of the match, it got off to a ponderous start with lots of scrappy play from both sides.

Shock: Cape Verde's defender Fernando Varela celebrates after scoring against Angola

Shock: Cape Verde's defender Fernando Varela celebrates after scoring against Angola

Back in the game: Angola get back on level terms

Back in the game: Angola get back on level terms

The end could hardly have been more different, ending in high drama as Cape Verde came from behind to win.

Angola coach Gustavo Ferrin made five changes to the side that lost 2-0 to South Africa in their previous match in a bid to give them a fighting chance of squeezing into the last eight.

Cape Verde's coach Luis Antunes

Angola's soccer coach Gustavo Ferrin

Contrasting emotions: Cape Verde's coach Antunes flies the flag as Angola's coach Gustavo Ferrin looks angry

One of those changes, midfielder Djilma Campos helped set up their opening goal when he provided the cross for Mateus. Under pressure as Mateus went for goal, the ball took its deflection off Nando and went into the back of his own net.

But Cape Verde never stopped coming forward and equalised when Gege headed home after 82 minutes. The winner came when Lama made a dreadful mistake in the Angolan goal as Heldon swept home the winner.

Scott Jamieson wins Nelson Mandela Championship

Jamieson takes Nelson Mandela Championship with super second day show

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 9 December 2012

Scotland's Scott Jamieson won the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship, which is the opening event of the new European Tour season, in South Africa tonight.

In a tournament cut to 36 holes and on a Royal Durban course reduced to a par-65 because of saturated fairways, Jamieson shot a second-round 57 and then beat England's Steve Webster and Spaniard Edoardo de la Riva in a play-off.

De la Riva bogeyed the first extra hole and then, in fast-fading light, Webster, the only one of the trio to have won on the circuit before, did the same when they returned to the 18th tee.

Champ: Scott Jamieson of Scotland poses with the trophy after winning the Nelson Mandela Championship

Champ: Scott Jamieson of Scotland poses with the trophy after winning the Nelson Mandela Championship

Beaten: Steve Webster lost in the play-off to the Scot

Beaten: Steve Webster lost in the play-off to the Scot

Jamieson, whose previous best finish was third, will not go into the Tour record books for his 57, however. Because of the course conditions it will not officially count, but that will not matter to the 29-year-old ranked 167th in the world.

He was not even in the top 60 after his opening round of 66 and admitted afterwards: 'Starting the day I probably didn't think I would be standing here holding the trophy.'

Let's go: Jamieson plays his second shot onto the 18th green on the first extra play-off hole

Let's go: Jamieson plays his second shot onto the 18th green on the first extra play-off hole

All three players involved in the play-off finished their rounds by lunchtime and had to wait all afternoon to see if anybody could beat their seven-under totals of 123.

South Africa's Tim Clark had the best chance, but double-bogeyed the 17th when joint leader.

De la Riva, who less than a fortnight ago came through the Tour qualifying school in joint ninth place, was left to rue not only failing to get up and down from a bunker in the play-off, but also a closing bogey in his second-round 61.

That's better: Playing conditions were fine after the two-day washout

That's better: Playing conditions were fine after the two-day washout

Webster, who had the second of his
two victories in Portugal five years ago, produced a 60 and almost
clinched victory on the first extra hole when his 30-foot birdie putt
came up just short.

Next time round, though, he could not recover from pulling his drive into thick rough.

Earlier, Jamieson could have won it
outright on the 305-yard ninth – his last – when he drove the green, but
just missed a 12-foot eagle attempt.

He had earlier gone to the turn in a five-under 26 that included four birdie twos.

Lazy day: Pelicans sitting around on the course

Lazy day: Pelicans sitting around on the course

'I knew I needed a fast start and was
lucky enough to get that,' Jamieson added after also being presented
with a framed drawing of Mandela.

'It's an honour to win a tournament
like this. Getting your name on any European trophy is a fantastic
achievement, but it's a bit more special with someone like Nelson.'

Joint fourth a stroke behind were Clark, German Max Kieffer, Dane Morten Orum Madsen and England's Matthew Nixon.

Chris Foy: England must fight fire with fire against South Africa

Let's get physical! Beefed-up England must fight fire with fire against South Africa

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 23 November 2012

The darkest hour is before the dawn. That is the message of hope England will seize upon in the final moments before kick-off at Twickenham on Saturday, as they try to emerge from the wreckage of their lowest ebb this year to stun the Springboks.

All week, the home team have brooded on their 20-14 loss against Australia and sought to channel their angst into a clear-headed backlash in today's QBE International.

The inspiration has come from events in South Africa five months ago, in Port Elizabeth to be precise.

Swamped: England were overpowered by a weakened and vulnerable Australia team last week

Swamped: England were overpowered by a weakened and vulnerable Australia team last week

What has emerged is a sense that, in the countdown to the end-of-season game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, they forged a collective will to end the suffering.

Having lost in Durban and Johannesburg, the tourists summoned up the spirit to finish that series on a more upbeat note, with a defiant draw which could have wound up as a win.

What the performance that day proved to Stuart Lancaster was that his young England team possess real character, and they will need that in spades today.

The wish of the management is to replicate the spirit of Port Elizabeth prior to kick-off; the same determination to push themselves to the limit to avert another setback, another inquest.

Casting his mind back to June 23, Lancaster said: 'There was a frustration that we hadn't delivered in the second Test. There was a feeling we had let ourselves down.

'That frustration had built during the week and this week again you've got the frustration of desperately wanting to win against Australia and not quite achieving it. That is a powerful motivator.'

Asked if he can sense the same mood, the same intense focus, he added: 'I do, definitely.'

When they summoned up their tour defiance, England were being led by Dylan Hartley, in the enforced absence of Chris Robshaw.

Now it is incumbent on the regular captain to set the same bloody-minded tone this time.

Outlining exactly what the coaches expect, Graham Rowntree said: 'I want to see the same as we saw in Port Elizabeth, that pure desire for it not to be a defeat again.

Tactic: South Africa will look to dominate England in the pack

Tactic: South Africa will look to dominate England in the pack

'That last hour before kick-off in Port Elizabeth was the last hour before the last game of that series.

'We were out to put a few things right. That is where we are now. We had lost two games on that tour.

'That last hour before the game we decided that wasn't going to happen again and we have to recreate that atmosphere.'

This week, everyone in the home camp has made the observation that the Springboks are not subtle in the way they play, nor expansive or visionary or varied.

England know that their opponents will come to Twickenham with the objective of smashing the doors down and the formidable power to do just that.

The hosts know what is heading their way, but handling it is another matter entirely.

Put aside the All Blacks – operating in a parallel universe of unrivalled class – and this fixture has troubled England the most in recent times.

Prior to that draw in Port Elizabeth, they had lost nine consecutive Tests against South Africa, having previously beaten them seven times in a row.

Lowest ebb: Stuart Lancaster (left) must navigate his way past South Africa before a tough Test against New Zealand

Lowest ebb: Stuart Lancaster (left) must navigate his way past South Africa before a tough Test against New Zealand

Pivotal: Manu Tuilagi will have to be at his best

Pivotal: Manu Tuilagi will have to be at his best

The last of those wins came all the way back in November 2006, so this latest clash between the countries serves as a chance for prolonged English suffering to be curtailed at long last.

For Lancaster's regime, events before this year carry no real relevance, but they are operating within their own difficult context.

There are immediate pressures which have nothing to do with a long-standing cycle of disappointment in tussles with the Boks.

This autumn campaign is on a knife-edge. Before it began, the country's rugby public would have taken three wins from four, or two triumphs as a minimum requirement.

With the All Blacks in town next weekend, there is a danger that these modest expectations won't be met.

Defeat against weakened, vulnerable Australia has burst the feelgood bubble.

Twickenham was full of hope a week ago, now it is likely to be awash with foreboding.

The home support will have noted the way South Africa have brushed aside Ireland and Scotland with relative ease and dread another November surrender to southern raiders, in keeping with dismal tradition.

Favoured: The Twickenham faithful may be expecting a second defeat as South Africa visit

Favoured: The Twickenham faithful may be expecting a second defeat as South Africa visit

Much of the concern is founded on a defeat seven days ago which Lancaster insists was not 'as black and white' as has been suggested.

The ideal way to reinforce his argument is for his team to beat the Boks. To do so they will have to resurrect the intensity levels produced in Port Elizabeth and for large parts of the Test in Johannesburg.

With Tom Wood recalled to the back row, England must be much more efficient at the breakdown, to deliver the holy grail of quick ball.

If they can achieve that target, the Leicester half-back axis of Ben Youngs and Toby Flood will have a fighting chance of generating momentum and openings.

Yet, quick ball from rucks is but one of many requirements – England need a more solid scrum and another precise line-out masterclass overseen by Geoff Parling.

Easy does it: Zane Kirchner and Co will be expecting a backlash from England

Easy does it: Zane Kirchner and Co will be expecting a backlash from England

They must stand up to the giant Springbok forwards such as flanker Willem Alberts, who pounded them to dust for a time at Ellis Park, and the young lock enforcer, Eben Etzebeth.

Lancaster's men will also be alert to the threat of Patrick Lambie's kicking repertoire.

There is an awful lot for the home side to withstand, so much so that perhaps not even the spirit of Port Elizabeth will be quite enough to save England.

For this regime, the honeymoon period ended last weekend, but defeat on Saturday would mean the darkest hour is still to come.

Another loss and – to use the American word for this time of year – it really would be the 'fall'.

Andy Murray should have had home support against Roger Federer

Mike Dickson: Why British fans should always back Murray… even against His Rogerness

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UPDATED:

14:22 GMT, 12 November 2012

In a global survey of 50,000 people last year, Roger Federer emerged as the world’s second most trusted and admired human being behind Nelson Mandela.

Andy Murray might console himself with this fact as he begins his off-season today, perhaps wondering why his match at the 02 Arena last night occasionally felt like an away Davis Cup tie versus Switzerland.

Outside his homeland Federer is admired nowhere more than he is in the UK, and understandably so, given his marvellous deeds at Wimbledon and the way that, even at 31, he remains among the most miraculously gifted and graceful athletes in any sport to watch.

Basle-on-Thames: There was overwhelming support for Roger Federer at the O2 Arena on Sunday

Basle-on-Thames: There was overwhelming support for Roger Federer at the O2 Arena on Sunday

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He also attracts an international travelling fan club unlike anyone else in tennis, so it was no surprise that there were so many national flags and T shirts on show bearing the white cross on a red background.

It all made for an outstanding atmosphere, but what was also surprising was the lack of emphatic support for the home player, one playing his first tournament in London since his historic achievement of banishing the ghost of Fred Perry by winning the US Open.

And wasn’t that emotional and generous speech after the Wimbledon final meant to have turned us into a nation of Murray converts at long last

Not on the evidence of last night, when he actually got booed by some sections as he changed his racket during the tiebreak.

One colleague reported astonishment at finding that someone with a broad Scottish accent was wearing one of those ‘RF’-logoed shirts.

The Fed Express: Federer beat Murray 7-6 7-2 in front of a number of his own fans, despite the match being in London

The Fed Express: Federer (above) beat Andy Murray (below) 7-6, 7-2 in front of a number of his own fans, despite the match being at the O2 in London

The Fed Express: Federer beat Murray 7-6 7-2 in front of a number of his own fans, despite the match being in London

If I had a pound for every time I told a reader, colleague or friend that the British No 1 is a more appealing chap for the knowing than he comes across on court or in a formal interview I would now be reclining on my yacht in the Caribbean, so let us not go back over old ground.

There will always be a hard core of people in England who will blame Murray for everything from the Barnett Formula to a throwaway line about not supporting England at football when he was much younger, but the fair-minded seemed to have warmed to him more than last night suggested.

What is certain is that he has handled himself impeccably since Wimbledon and has noticeably matured.

His extraordinary work ethic and monastic devotion to his sport has always been there to admire, and now increasingly he is able to make sense of the world in which he finds himself.

His bold decision to hire Ivan Lendl as coach, and the resulting Grand Slam victory, has simply been one of the great stories of a great sporting year.

No 1 fan Actor Kevin Spacey was in the crowd watching the match

No 1 fan Actor Kevin Spacey was in the crowd watching the match

Yet who is more likely to to win an award on Sports Personality of the Year next month Tennis players traditionally do well in the Overseas category, with six recipients in the last eleven years.

Novak Djokovic is the holder and Federer has won it three times.

He probably will not win it again in the year of the London Olympics, but he will not be far off in recognition of his latest Wimbledon title.

Murray is sure to poll strongly, as he should after achieving so much in a global individual sport which he competes at without any help from team-mates, but last night’s events bolster the view that Bradley Wiggins is a cert.

Popular: Federer has a huge following outside his native Switzerland

Popular: Federer has a huge following outside his native Switzerland

At what is a truly international event in a very international city it was not that Murray received a hostile reception from the 17,800 packed into the O2.

He was roared onto the court at the start of the match, and you can be sure that if it was against ABF (Anyone But Federer) he would have been the crowd favourite.

Seemingly we are prepared to forgive Federer’s his odd fashion faux-pas and occasional unselfconscious arrogance, but find it harder to look beyond Murray’s less serene demeanour on court to see how true he is to himself away from it.

Nonetheless, you would hope that next time a predominantly British crowd will not bend the knee quite so much before His Rogerness and get more behind a British player.

Sir Chris Hoy awarded freedom of Edinburgh

Olympic legend Hoy awarded freedom of Edinburgh after taking gold tally to six at London 2012

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UPDATED:

18:42 GMT, 16 September 2012

Britain's most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy was awarded the freedom of his home city on Sunday.

The six-time gold medal-winning cyclist joined other Olympians and Paralympians on an open-top bus parade through Edinburgh before attending a civic reception where he become part of an exclusive club that includes the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Sean Connery and Nelson Mandela who have received the freedom of the Scottish capital.

Sir Chris changed from his Olympic tracksuit that he wore on the bus parade into a traditional kilt for the private ceremony in the Assembly Rooms where he was presented with the honour by Edinburgh Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

Parade: Hoy joins other Olympians on an open-top bus in Edinburgh

Parade: Hoy joins other Olympians on an open-top bus in Edinburgh

Parade: Hoy joins other Olympians on an open-top bus in Edinburgh

He said: 'I'm immensely proud, but this award is for all the people who have helped me through the years, from the little seven-year-old racing BMXs to racing for Olympic medals in London, it's been an amazing journey.

'It's quite hard to take it all in, it's an emotional day and one that I will never forget.'

The parade is the third celebration Sir Chris has been part of in the last week but he said his home town parade was 'more personal and emotional'.

'It's very emotional to see just what it means to the public, in particular in your home town, to come back to Edinburgh, my home city, and get this kind of support on a day that's not been that kind to us weather-wise, it's just amazing.

'You can't really put it into words what it means but it's our chance to thank everybody for their support.'

Sir Chris was joined on stage by his wife Sara to receive the freedom of the city and former rugby player Gavin Hastings paid tribute to his achievements.

Freedom: Hoy leaves the City Chambers alongside Lord Provost after his civic reception

Freedom: Hoy leaves the City Chambers alongside Lord Provost after his civic reception

Freedom: Hoy leaves the City Chambers alongside Lord Provost after his civic reception

Edinburgh city councillors unanimously voted last month to give the honour to the cyclist. It is granted to people who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts, or to recognise the respect and high esteem in which they are held by the people of the city.

Sir Chris led the official celebrations for all of Scotland's Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Glasgow on Friday. A parade led more than 50 athletes into George Square where they were introduced one by one to a crowd of around 17,000.

Thousands again turned out in Edinburgh despite heavy rain and Sir Chris took time to sign autographs and talk to the crowd outside the City Chambers before boarding an open top bus that had been painted gold for the occasion.

Sir Chris was born in the Scottish capital in 1976 and was inspired to take up cycling after watching classic movie ET.

Crowded: The rain could not keep fans away from the city centre on Sunday

Crowded: The rain could not keep fans away from the city centre on Sunday

He raced BMX until he was 14-years-old, becoming Scottish Champion and ranking second in Britain and ninth in the world, but he turned his attention to track sprint cycling in 1992 and has never looked back.

Despite the rain the parade started around 2.15pm and took the sportsmen and women from the City Chambers on the Royal Mile to the Assembly Rooms via the Mound and Hanover Street where a post box was painted gold when the cyclist won his first medal of the London 2012 Games.

Meanwhile, a parade was also held in Aberdeen to celebrate Olympians and Paralympians from the north east of the country.

Famous son: Hoy is the most decorated British Olympian ever

Famous son: Hoy is the most decorated British Olympian ever

Famous son: Hoy is the most decorated British Olympian ever

Gold medallists Tim Baillie, Katherine Grainger and Neil Fachie took part in the event on Sunday morning which started at a gold post box at the Castlegate in Aberdeen painted in honour of rower Grainger.

The parade was led by the Portlethen and District Pipe Band, followed by a team of torchbearers, Games Makers and volunteers.

Lord Provost George Adam said: 'North east athletes have really done Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire proud this summer, regardless of whether or not they brought home medals, and the parade is a great way to publicly recognise their achievements and those of our army of torchbearers, volunteers and Games Makers.'

Open 2012: Tiger Woods hopes to summon spirit of Nelson Mandela

Born again Tiger hopes to summon spirit of Mandela at Royal Lytham

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 17 July 2012

Tiger Woods tells in almost spiritual terms the story of the day he and his late father first met Nelson Mandela in his South African home.

'It was incredible, because my dad and I, we walk into this living room,' Woods recalled yesterday on the eve of the former president's 94th birthday.

'I look at my Dad and I said, “Hey, Pops, do you feel that It feels different in here”. He said, “Yeah, I feel the same way”. We're standing there looking at some of the things on the wall. And over in the corner was President Mandela.

Chip off the old block Woods wants to dominate golf again

Chip off the old block Woods wants to dominate golf again

'He was over there just meditating in the corner and there was a different feeling in the room. He has such a presence and aura about him, unlike anyone I've ever met.'

That was back in 1998, an occasion which prompted Earl Woods, somewhat grotesquely, to suggest 'it was the first time that Tiger met a human being equal to him'.

That is the kind of notion that makes Oasis's claim that they were 'bigger' than the Beatles look almost plausible. Only a blinkered fool would have even contemplated comparing Woods with Mandela in the three years since the golfer's world – and game – fell apart amid lurid tales of extra-extra-curricular activity.

Back in '98, however, in the wake of his 12-stroke victory in the 1997 Masters at Augusta, Woods was developing an aura of invincibility which would intimidate a generation of golfers.

Ready to roar: Tiger fans follow their hero at a wet and windy Royal Lytham

Ready to roar: Tiger fans follow their hero at a wet and windy Royal Lytham

There was, too, a presence which stemmed from the combination of his uniqueness as a role model, his unmatched earning power as a sportsman and the influence he wielded over golf.

Woods, now 36, will have to win not just one major but more, and soon, if he is to recreate the aura so feared by players and held in awe by the many fans who have remained loyal.

While he has yet to transfer his rediscovered form in regular PGA-tournament play into the more testing examination of a championship like The Open, there were in his imperious performance at yesterday's press conference distinct signs of the Woods of old.

The confidence born of increasing familiarity with his restructured swing and his current freedom from injury shone as headlights alongside an almost innate arrogance.

Centre of attention: Woods remains a big draw

Centre of attention: Woods remains a big draw

Asked if he would be surprised to regain the No 1 spot in the world rankings this weekend so soon after the depths of last year, he replied: 'No. Does that help you out'

Woods will return to the position he has held for 623 weeks of his career with victory on Sunday provided Luke Donald does not finish either second or third.

There was similar conviction in Woods' response to a question about the four-year gap since his last major success. Did he ever feel a sense of anxiety over when or if the next one was going to come Impatience, perhaps

All smiles: The American appears in relaxed mood

All smiles: The American appears in relaxed mood

'No, no,' he replied. 'I just try and put myself there. I think that if I continue putting myself there enough times then I'll win major championships.

'First of all, I had to go through that process of just getting healthy again. Missing major championships wasn't a whole lot of fun. I think I missed four majors because I was injured.

'I figure if I'm healthy, I can prepare properly for major championships and I can get myself there.'

The last three days of practice, in fair weather and foul, have gone well. He sounds as if he's there. Noises can be deceptive. The fact remains that in a year which has produced three victories, his worst finishes – other than a couple of missed cuts – have come at the Masters and the US Open.

Highs have been accompanied by lows which never used to be the case. Only in trying to explain the disparity in performance did Woods exhibit any uncertainty.

'If I knew the answer I'd tell you, but I don't. I just keep trying to work, to get better, get more consistent. And that's something I'm looking forward to.'

The last 15 majors have been won by 15 different players, dating back to Padraig Harrington's victory in the 2008 US PGA Championship. A Woods triumph this weekend would extend the sequence to 16.

He won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at Royal Lytham in 1996, a performance of some significance according to Woods.

'The Open Championship that year pushed me towards turning pro versus going back to college,' he explained.

'I was still kind of iffy about whether I should turn pro or not. But that gave me so much confidence that I could play against the top players in the world on a very difficult track.'

There would be a certain symmetry in victory here firing up the next stage of his career.

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray has Roger Federer rattled

The young pretender has Federer rattled: Record books prove Murray knows how to unnerve Swiss maestro

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UPDATED:

21:17 GMT, 7 July 2012

The only thing standing between Andy Murray and Wimbledon glory is the greatest player ever to pick up a tennis racket – but at least the British No 1 knows he can get under Roger Federer's skin.

If there is a player on tour who has really rattled Federer during the Swiss's domination of the sport, it is Murray, who is among a tiny minority of players in having a superior record against Federer, winning eight of their 15 encounters.

Fired-up: Andy Murray has shown more aggression at SW19 this year

Fired-up: Andy Murray has shown more
aggression at SW19 this year

When it matters most, in Grand Slam finals, Federer has won both – in the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian Open.

But the point is that Murray has unsettled Federer, on the court and, crucially, between the ears – and if there is a chink in the Swiss star's armour, it is there.

Federer's achievements are already the stuff of legend. He has won a record 16 Grand Slam singles titles, six of them at the All England Club.

He has won 46million in prize money – and many times that much again in endorsements, making him one of the richest sportsmen in history.

Route to the final: How Murray and Federer got there

Route to the final: How Murray and Federer got there

He has spent 285 weeks of his life as the world No 1, just one week short of Pete Sampras's career total of 286.

Should Federer beat Murray on Centre Court, he will return to No 1 tomorrow and be certain of overtaking Sampras's tally.

The Swiss maestro was World Sportsman of the Year for four consecutive years from 2005-2008.

He has also been a Unicef ambassador since 2006.

As if his exalted status needed bolstering any more, last year a poll of more than 50,000 people in 25 countries found him to be the second most respected and trusted public figure in the world – only behind Nelson Mandela.

What is now largely forgotten, however, is that before he embarked on his Slam-gathering heroics, which began with victory in the Wimbledon final of 2003, Federer had trouble controlling himself on court.

He could be stroppy, brattish and rude.

When he learned to keep his emotions in check, his career soared, though traces of his spikiness remain.

His digs at Murray, however subtle, illustrate this best In 2008, Murray beat Federer in Dubai – one of six wins for the Scot in their first eight meetings – and Federer's response was far from gracious.

'I know that he beat me, but he stands way back in the court … he tends to wait a lot for his opponent to make a mistake,' said Federer, chippily.

'Overall, over a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often than wait for the other guy to miss. That's what served me well over the years.'

Murray v Federer: John Lloyd's verdict

After reaching the Australian Open final against the British No 1 in 2010, Federer noted in public that Murray would be attempting to win Britain's first men's Slam singles 'for 150,000 years'.

Federer insisted: 'The pressure is big on him. He's in his second Grand Slam final now. I think the first one is always a bit tougher than the second one. But as he didn't win the first one, I think that doesn't help him, you know, for the second one. Plus he's playing, you know, me, who has won so many Grand Slam titles before.'

Master at work: Roger Federer has few weaknesses for his rival to exploit

Master at work: Roger Federer has few
weaknesses for his rival to exploit

Federer then beat Murray in that Melbourne showpiece in straight sets, as he had beaten him in the US Open final in straight sets in 2008.

Murray wept, and then said: 'I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him.'

Had Murray not been so obviously distraught as he said it, those words might have sounded like a barb at Federer's own 'softie' blubbing after numerous big wins.

Instead, it sounded like the throwing in of a towel.

But Federer's icy calm on the court is only an extension of his steely desire to keep winning at the highest level, and he did not let up on the mind games against Murray.

When the Scot won three events back-to-back last autumn in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai, Federer's response was to belittle the strength of the field at those tournaments.

'I'm not taking anything away from what he did but was Asia the strongest this year I'm not sure,' he said.

He added that neither he nor Novak Djokovic had played those events and emphasised that Rafael Nadal was KO'd early in Shanghai.

This time, Murray hit back, pointing out that when Federer won the Paris Masters last November, he did so in the absence of the injured Nadal, and after Djokovic (withdrawal) and he himself had exited at the quarter-final stage.

The subtext was clear: Two can play at this game when it comes to psychological games.

Euro 2012: Mario Balotelli has image created in Italian field

Balotelli spurred onto glory by giant crop circle of his head in Italian field

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UPDATED:

07:34 GMT, 25 June 2012

Italy and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was spurred onto glory against England by a unlikely tribute before the game in Kiev.

An artist in his homeland ploughed a field to show show the back of the strikers head.

Dario Gambarini has used tractors to similar effect to create images of Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela among others in the past opted to create Balotelli ahead of the big game.

Support: Italian artist Dario Gambarin shows the back of the head of Mario Balotelli cut into a wheat filed near Verona

Support: Italian artist Dario Gambarin shows the back of the head of Mario Balotelli cut into a wheat filed near Verona

The 2,700 square metre piece was created in Castagnaro, near the artist’s native Verona.

Rather than show Balotelli’s face, however, Gambarini broke with tradition to portray the Manchester City striker’s trademark Mohawk haircut, with the word ‘Italia’ visible at the top of his shirt.

Sky high: The Balotelli creation was clear for all to see

Sky high: The Balotelli creation was clear for all to see

'I wanted to pay homage to all the Azzuri,’ Gambarini said. ‘But it seemed ideal to reproduce the blonde Mohawk of Balotelli on a field of threshed wheat.'

Balotelli scored the first penalty in Italy's 4-2 shoot-out win over England on Sunday night.

Stuart Lancaster targets win in England"s finest tour match

We'll fight to the end! Lancaster targets a win over Springboks to top off chaotic season

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 22 June 2012

England's full-spectrum season finally comes to an end at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday and Stuart Lancaster will demand that his players conclude their ‘long, long journey’ with a glorious, stirring sign-off.

What began in mid-June last year has been a campaign of unprecedented turbulence and drama and fluctuating fortunes for the national team.

Twelve months ago and more they were preparing for a World Cup under the guidance of manager Martin Johnson, as Six Nations champions, and from that starting point the ride has been remarkably, relentlessly eventful.

Getting ready: England captain Dylan Hartley talks to head coach Stuart Lancaster on Friday

Getting ready: England captain Dylan Hartley talks to head coach Stuart Lancaster on Friday

There have been 16 Tests, two
coaching regimes, several retirements, resignations and dismissals, one
damaging, prolonged period of blood-letting and in-fighting, belated
apologies, botched recruitment operations, famous victories and dire
defeats.

This has been the season when
England’s rugby team veered into soap-opera territory for a time, with
dwarf-tossing, bungee-jumping, heavy-drinking, ferry-leaping
controversies. Then came the clean-up process, overseen by Lancaster as
the interim head coach who became a permanent one.

The rollercoaster has hurtled on from
the hope of the Six Nations to the frustration of failing to finalise
the coaching line-up and on to the narrow Test defeats in Durban and
Johannesburg.

There have been further jolts on the
injury front, with Alex Corbisiero ruled out on Friday of the series
finale with a knee problem, leading to Joe Marler being reinstated at
loosehead prop. That setback ends a grim week which has seen the
enforced withdrawal of captain Chris Robshaw, Ben Youngs and Ugo Monye.

What awaits today is an occasion
demanding one last almighty effort from weary bodies. England must
somehow muster the energy and fire to combat another Springbok onslaught
and dredge up the spirit of defiance and invention to overcome it.

As an example of the demands on the
players, take Dan Cole. The Leicester tighthead has played in 15 of his
country’s 16 Tests this season, anchoring the scrum.

He has endured the low of losing the
World Cup quarter-final to France in Auckland and savoured the high of
turning the tables on them five months later in Paris. Along the way he
has also helped the Tigers to another Aviva Premiership Final and now,
this evening, he has to lock horns with the Beast, Tendai Mtawarira, one
last time.

One last push: England in training on Friday

One last push: England in training on Friday

With the series already lost, so
little fuel left in English tanks and their inspirational leader out of
action, it would be easy to imagine the tourists being overwhelmed. But
having been through so much together, there is no shortage of
motivation.

Many of the players have travelled so
far on official business, from Bagshot to Twickenham, Cardiff and
Dublin, on to Auckland, Dunedin and Queenstown, back to Leeds and
Loughborough, up to Edinburgh, over to Rome and Paris, then down here to
Durban, Kimberley, Johannesburg, Potchefstroom and now, finally, Port
Elizabeth.

So many stories and emotions and
memories along the way will drive the collective desire to ensure the
last memory is a positive one.

‘It has been a long journey for a lot
of these players, from before the World Cup,’ said Lancaster. ‘The
World Cup came and went, then the coaching team changed, we went through
the Six Nations and then this tour. It has been a long, long journey
and we want to end it with a win. I don’t agree with the concept of a
“dead rubber”. To me, there is no such thing as a dead rubber in the
international game.

Star man: South Africa's Tendai Mtawarira on Friday

Star man: South Africa's Tendai Mtawarira on Friday

‘On Monday I asked Lee Mears and Ugo
Monye – who were involved with the Lions in 2009 – about how it felt
going into that last game, and how that win lifted how they felt the
tour had gone. It’s important to finish the season well.’

Of course, England cannot call upon
the same array of firepower as the Lions could, but Lancaster and his
assistants, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt, once again have been bold in
selection.

Alex Goode makes his first Test start
as a full back who can carve open defences but also keep them turning
with an effective kicking game. The exciting but raw midfield pairing of
Manu Tuilagi and Jonathan Joseph have been kept together in the hope
that this time, if they can just have more front-foot ball to work with,
they can trouble the home side’ s aggressive defence.

Without Youngs, England have turned
to the revitalised Danny Care – pace replacing pace. Without Robshaw,
James Haskell returns, so there’s no power deficit with that change.

Lancaster will need Thomas Waldrom to
carry with the same authority for England as he does for Leicester, to
match the exploits of home forwards such as Bismarck du Plessis. At
least the tourists don’t have to contend with the rampaging Willem
Alberts this time, as he is injured. Nevertheless, Heyneke Meyer’s side
will again prove difficult to stop if they build up a head of steam.

In the absence of Robshaw, there is a
huge onus on stand-in skipper Dylan Hartley to provide a lead by
playing with raw intensity and physicality, right on the edge. The
Northampton skipper is one of those who has experienced all the extremes
of this crazy campaign, so he will not lack desire to round it off
well, but his team, try as they might, will surely fall short again.

A series whitewash would be a cruel outcome, but that is what beckons.

South Africa v England rugby