Tag Archives: rousing

Cesc Fabregas scores hat-trick but it"s Abidal who gets Nou Camp ovation with emotional return

Fabregas scores a hat-trick but it's Abidal who gets Nou Camp ovation with emotional return

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 6 April 2013

Cesc Fabregas scored the first hat-trick of his career as Barcelona moved closer to the Primera Division title with a 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca, but the main story was the return to action of Eric Abidal after a year out following liver surgery.

The home side were also inspired by
head coach Tito Vilanova, who was on the Nou Camp touchline for the
first time since January after undergoing treatment for cancer.

Abidal's appearance brought the crowd
to their feet, with the Frenchman given a standing ovation when he
replaced Gerard Pique in the 70th minute.

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

The 33-year-old former France
defender, who was passed fit to return to training with his team mates
last month, is a huge favourite with the Barca fans.

In a pitch-side television interview with Spanish broadcaster Canal Plus, Abidal thanked the cousin who provided part of his liver for the procedure.

'It was a very special moment for me after a year out,' said Abidal, wearing a shirt with 'Merci mon cousin' on the front.

Merci: Eric Abidal wears a tribute to his cousin

Merci: Eric Abidal wears a tribute to his cousin

'I want to thank my cousin as without him I would not be here today. It is a unique moment,' he added.

Abidal's return is well timed as Barca centre backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano and full back Adriano are all out injured at a critical stage of the season.

In the game itself, it was Fabregas who commanded the spotlight. In the injury-enforced absence of Lionel Messi, he scored three and
set up two for Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona romped home.

Man of the moment: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hattrick

Man of the moment: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hattrick

Mallorca held their own but it was no surprise when Barcelona made the breakthrough with two goals in two minutes.

Fabregas carried the ball from midfield and played a one-two with Alexis before steadying himself and coolly slotting the ball home across goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.

Mallorca's heads went down and in the 22nd minute they found themselves 2-0 adrift. This time Fabregas cut inside on the left of the area before unleashing a shot which Aouate pushed away from goal only for Alexis to follow up and fire home.

Happy return: Eric Abidal

Happy return: Eric Abidal

In the 37th minute an intricate passing move ended with Fabregas laying a first-time ball off to Alexis on the right of the area which he reciprocated for Fabregas to drill home.

The former Arsenal captain was involved everywhere and a minute later he provided a superb pass over the top for Alexis, who had got between two defenders, controlling the ball with his right before slotting home with his left.

Fabregas wrapped up his hat-trick seconds after the restart when he collected Iniesta's threaded ball and checked inside the defender before slotting home from close range.

Nemanja Vidic plays for Manchester United after injury

'Warrior' Vidic returns to action to delight Ferguson and the Old Trafford faithful

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UPDATED:

22:23 GMT, 15 December 2012

Nemanja Vidic made his return from injury during Manchester United's 3-1 win over Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday and received a rousing reception.

The Red Devils back-line has looked exceptionally leaky this season without him and their manager was delighted the Serbian was back in business.

Sir Alex Ferguson said: 'He is a warrior and a captain who has always battled for you. He sticks his head on the ball in that penalty box and he’s great at that.'

In command: Nemanja Vidic made a welcome return from injury for Manchester United

In command: Nemanja Vidic made a welcome return from injury for Manchester United

Nice to see you: Rio Ferdinand high-fives United team-mate Vidic

Nice to see you: Rio Ferdinand high-fives United team-mate Vidic

Vidic, 31, had played just five games for the club over the past year.

He sustained knee ligament damage last season when playing against Basel in the Champions League and suffered further setbacks this term.

Funnily enough, United conceded after Vidic came on as a substitute in the 68th minute for Rio Ferdinand.

Fraizer Campbell scored four minutes after his introduction and Sunderland could have even added to their tally after that.

Ferguson was furious that the visitors had been allowed several chances which could have cost United the game.

'Sunderland could have had two or three towards the end; it could have been embarrassing,' said the United manager.

'For an hour we were fantastic,' Ferguson continued. 'I don't know if we relaxed or Sunderland picked up the baton 20 minutes from time.

'They could have scored two or three goals. But Sunderland deserved a goal because they worked so hard for it. They had a lot of energy in the second half. They have a youngish team and kept going.'

Young defender Chris Smalling was also pleased his more experienced colleague returned to action.

'It's brilliant to see him back,' said Smalling. 'He's been training really well and we've got real strength in numbers now because we've been a bit stretched, particularly in defence.'

Warrior: Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Vidic (below) for his defensive tenacity

Warrior: Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Vidic (below) for his defensive tenacity

Nemanja Vidic

Nemanja Vidic

Chelsea at the FIFA Club World Cup: VIDEO – Blues the new darlings of Japan? Graham Chadwick blog

Graham Chadwick's video blog: Are Chelsea set to replace United as darlings of the Far East

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UPDATED:

16:17 GMT, 11 December 2012

Sportsmail photographer Graham Chadwick has travelled to Japan with Chelsea as they prepare for their first game of the FIFA Club World Cup this Thursday.

Watch Graham's latest video blog as the Blues are given a rousing reception in Yokohama.

Chelsea were mobbed by legions of adoring fans at their hotel in Yokohama ahead of their FIFA Club World Cup entrance against Mexican side Monterrey on Thursday.

The back-in-form Fernando Torres appeared especially popular with the locals hunting autographs from their heroes.

And even Rafa Benitez's signature was in demand – a welcome change from the less than warm welcome he has received from Chelsea's fans back home in west London.

Chelsea's evident popularity in the Far East will be music to the ears of the money men at Stamford Bridge, who dream of emulating Manchester United's global fanbase and reaping the obvious financial rewards.

And it looks like United might have serious rivals for the hearts of Japanese fans if these scenes are anything to go by.

Watch the video…

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Borussia Dortmund 1 Manchester City 0 – match report:

Dortmund 1 Man City 0: Mancini's men slump to another defeat and fail to make Europa League cut

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 4 December 2012

Shot-shy Manchester City missed out on the consolation of a Europa League place and ended up as English football’s worst-ever performers in the Champions League group stage.

Real Madrid came to City’s aid by beating Ajax, but Roberto Mancini’s side were unable to help themselves, as they put in a limp display and went down to a 57th-minute goal from Julian Schieber.

It left City not only out of Europe, but with the lowest points total of any English side at this stage of the competition. Blackburn managed four points, including a win, in 1995-96, but City depart this season’s competition with just three.

Out of reach: Julian Schieber slid in to put Borussia Dortmund one up

Out of reach: Julian Schieber slid in to put Borussia Dortmund one up

MATCH FACTS

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Hummels, Kirch (Bittencourt 88), Felipe Santana, Schmelzer, Leitner, Gundogan, Perisic, Reus (Blaszczykowski 46), Grosskreutz, Schieber (Lewandowski 77)

Subs not used: Langerak, Piszczek, Gunter, Mustafa Amini

Goal: Schieber 57

Manchester City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Nastasic, Nasri (Zabaleta 68), Sinclair (Aguero 57), Garcia, Barry, Dzeko (Balotelli 65), Tevez

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Meppen-Walter, Evans, Nimely

Booked: Garcia, Lescott, Balotelli

Referee: Milorad Mazic

Attendance: 62,000

Strains of Blue Moon from the City
support before kick-off were drowned out by a rousing rendition of
You’ll Never Walk Alone, as much a favoured anthem for Borussia Dortmund
as for Liverpool.

The PA system even played Three Lions
in the build-up, and if it was an attempt to make the City contingent
feel at home, a glance at the team sheets could only have improved their
mood.

While Roberto Mancini stuck to his
promise of chasing a Europa League place with intent, Dortmund
counterpart Jurgen Klopp rested Manchester United targets Robert
Lewandowski and Mario Goetze, the latter having picked up a minor knock
on Saturday.

With David Silva left behind to nurse
hamstring and back problems, Scott Sinclair was given a rare start on
the left. Opportunities have been few and far between for the summer
signing from Swansea, and he looked eager to impress, as he wrong-footed
Oliver Kirch with a smart turn and whipped in a low cross that was
cleared.

Rubbing it in: The Dortmund players celebrated as Joe Hart looks on

Rubbing it in: The Dortmund players celebrated as Joe Hart looks on

Rare start: Scott Sinclair was handed a berth by Roberto Mancini

Rare start: Scott Sinclair was handed a berth by Roberto Mancini

If Kirch’s defending had not been of the highest order, he at least showed a surer touch at the other end in the 12th minute.

City’s defence failed to deal with a
left-wing cross from Ivan Perisic and, after controlling a bouncing ball
20 yards out, Kirch tested Joe Hart’s handling with a rising left-foot
shot. Fortunately for City, it was up to the task, as the England keeper
clutched it head high.

News of an early Real Madrid goal
against Ajax might have put an extra spring in City’s step but, as has
so often been the case this season, there was little of the zip that
made them champions last May.

Joleon Lescott was handed a chance to
shine, after largely being frozen out by Matija Nastasic. While Nastasic
had to adapt to an unfamiliar left-back role, Lescott resumed his
centre-back partnership with Vincent Kompany and showed he should
perhaps not have been left out in the first place.

Never more so than when Marco Reus
burst clear from the halfway line in the 21st minute, only for Lescott
to stop him in his tracks with an expertly timed tackle.

Rising: Javi Garcia (right) leaps for a header

Rising: Javi Garcia (right) leaps for a header

Catch me if you can: Samir Nasri is chased by two Dortmund players

Catch me if you can: Samir Nasri is chased by two Dortmund players

City were more than holding their own
in a low-key first half and threatened a breakthrough in the 24th
minute, after Edin Dzeko had pulled the ball back. Carlos Tevez was
poised for a tap-in until Marcel Schmelzer intervened.

City were finding understrength
Dortmund a tough nut to crack, for all their possession. They faced the
added frustration of a yellow card for Javi Garcia, despite claims he
took the ball cleanly from Perisic.

Dzeko had a long-range effort pushed
round a post in the 33rd minute, but the nearest thing to a first-half
goal came at the other end. Reus cut in from the right and left Nastasic
in his wake, before drilling a fierce left-foot shot that had Hart at
full stretch.

Welcome back: Edin Dzeko (left) was back in Germany again after leaving Wolfsburg

Welcome back: Edin Dzeko (left) was back in Germany again after leaving Wolfsburg

The decision to award a goal-kick suggested the ball may have clipped the outside of the post rather than Hart’s fingertips.

If City lacked a killer touch in the
first half, the same applied to Dzeko’s unconvincing attempt to finish
off an inviting cross from Samir Nasri in the 46th minute. The
inswinging centre was measured to perfection, and Dzeko was barely six
yards from goal, yet his header was too close to Weidenfeller to cause
problems.

City began to suffer and Perisic
connected brilliantly with a cross from substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski
to unleash a 53rd-minute volley that a startled Hart just managed to
palm over the bar.

The pressure told in the 57th minute,
as City went behind to a close-range Schieber finish. Blaszczykowski
squared the ball and Schieber was on hand to force in.

Tussle: Mario Balotelli tries to shake off Marcel Schmelzer

Tussle: Mario Balotelli tries to shake off Marcel Schmelzer

Impressive: Dortmund fans held yellow and black cards to show the club's logo before the match

Impressive: Dortmund fans held yellow and black cards to show the club's logo before the match

Stuart Lancaster will change England up for Australia challenge

Ruthless Lancaster will change England up for Aussie challenge in bid to find top gear

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UPDATED:

23:24 GMT, 11 November 2012

From a coaching perspective, the scenario is perfect. A half-century of points and seven tries to ignite this autumn campaign, but enough glitches along the way to ensure England’s players will be subjected to a harsh post-mortem.

Stuart Lancaster and his assistants have the luxury of conducting a critical review on the back of a rousing victory. They will have ample ammunition at their disposal to ensure the feet of their squad are kept fixed to the floor. Five days before confronting wounded Wallabies, this is no time for back-slapping.

‘I don’t think there is any danger of us getting carried away,’ said England’s head coach. Nor should there be.

Tough call: Charlie Sharples nearly had a hat-trick of tries against Fiji but could lose his place to Chris Ashton

Tough call: Charlie Sharples nearly had a hat-trick of tries against Fiji but could lose his place to Chris Ashton

He added: ‘You only have to look at the players in the changing room — they were quite pleased with the performance but they weren’t shouting from the rooftops.

‘We recognise the challenges ahead and we know we’ll have to up our game to win next week.’

It is absolutely vital for England’s prospects in the next three weeks that all the holes in their performance in this first QBE International against sadly poor opposition are laid bare. For all the gloss of the final scoreline and the undoubted class of some of the home side’s attacking craft on Saturday, there are issues to address. The video screening on Monday will illuminate several gremlins.

LIONS WATCH

Full back Alex Goode produced ample evidence that he should be a contender for next summer’s tour, with a man-of-the-match performance full of guile and nous.

Captain Chris Robshaw was typically full of energy and endeavour, without dramatically advancing his own case for selection, while Danny Care showcased the speed and eye for a gap which would be such an asset in Australia.

Manu Tuilagi is another who took a positive step in the right direction with his power running, his improved distribution and his tries.

Before the eulogies, let’s tackle what the management would term the ‘work-ons’. First of all, England were dreadful for almost the entire first quarter; conceding the initiative to their outclassed rivals and failing to regain it in a hurry. After 15 minutes they had claimed 19 per cent of the possession, they were hemmed in their own half, they fell off a few tackles and had to scramble feverishly to defend their line.

Even when that slow start had been worked out of the collective system, Lancaster’s men were not as slick as they should have been after a fortnight of painstaking preparation. Too often passes were sent high or wide of their intended recipient, or simply released too soon, the re-start was a mess throughout and there were some moments of dubious decision-making, such as when Dan Cole ignored an overlap on the right, ploughed on to the line but was held up.

On the back of a robust, probing review, it is equally crucial that selection this week is approached with a critical eye and a ruthless streak. The old mantra about not changing a winning team can be dismissed as a red herring in this instance.

Expanding repertoire: Centre Manu Tuilagi bagged a brace of tries of Twickenham on Saturday

Expanding repertoire: Centre Manu Tuilagi bagged a brace of tries of Twickenham on Saturday

There is a case to consider several changes, with Chris Ashton available again after his one-game ban, leaving one of Saturday’s try-scoring wings, Ugo Monye and Charlie Sharples, vulnerable to a cruel cut. Sharples struck twice, very nearly had a hat-trick and was particularly dangerous and dynamic, but he — like Ashton — favours the right flank, which may count against him.

Elsewhere, Thomas Waldrom was heavily involved but not a dominant, marauding presence at No 8, so Ben Morgan should be in strong contention to replace him. Tom Wood was sufficiently prominent in the closing stages to give Lancaster cause to consider starting him ahead of Tom Johnson.

In the front row, Joe Marler went off early in the second half after suffering a back spasm and despite his forceful scrummaging contribution, Alex Corbisiero has a chance to usurp him at loosehead. Rookie lock Joe Launchbury could further reduce the cap-count by taking over from his Wasps team-mate Tom Palmer.

Lancaster indicated that he is ready to make tough calls by removing men who featured strongly in this emphatic win.

Man of the match: England full back Alex Goode (second left) started the autumn internationals in style

Man of the match: England full back Alex Goode (second left) started the autumn internationals in style

‘The selection philosophy will always be to pick the best side we can to win the next game,’ he said. ‘If that means players retain the shirt or other players will get opportunities, then that’s what we will do.

‘With the likes of Alex Corbisiero, Chris Ashton and Jonathan Joseph coming back into the equation, we’ve got some decisions to make leading into the Australia game.’

For now, thrusting London Irish centre Joseph straight back into the starting midfield seems an unnecessary disruption. On Saturday, Brad Barritt displayed more of his attacking qualities and Manu Tuilagi alongside him was typically effective in generating precious momentum, while also showing an improved awareness of support runners around him. There were several off-loads from the Anglo-Samoan Tiger; some effective and some on the wild side, but he is certainly expanding his repertoire.

Choices: Thomas Waldrom (centre) faces a fight to keep his place at No 8 ahead of Ben Morgan

Choices: Thomas Waldrom (centre) faces a fight to keep his place at No 8 ahead of Ben Morgan

Having shone a bright light on England’s shortcomings, it is only fair to emphasise that these were far outweighed by lots of encouraging aspects against Fiji. While the Pacific Island side were able to claim two tries, the home defence was largely rock solid, as was the set-piece work, with the scrum in total command and debutant hooker Tom Youngs’ line-out throwing in perfect working order.

Best of all, Alex Goode at full back delivered a majestic performance to enhance England’s attacking potency significantly. He popped up at various points in the line, running cleverly, using his deft footwork to good effect and sharing the playmaker’s load with Toby Flood.

Once the first-quarter problems had been rectified the hosts swept away from Fiji. Sharples cut inside and twisted through several tackles for his first strike, the home pack won a penalty try with their dominant scrum and Goode’s quick tap penalty allowed Monye to glide over on the left just before the break. In the second half, crisp handling from Goode and Chris Robshaw allowed Johnson to apply a simple finish on the right, then Sharples pounced on the opposite wing and Tuilagi punished a tiring Fiji defence with his brace late on.

Hair-raising: The unmistakable figure of Joe Marler may lose his spot in the front row to Alex Corbisiero

Hair-raising: The unmistakable figure of Joe Marler may lose his spot in the front row to Alex Corbisiero

The fact that Manasa Saulo’s try gave the visitors a consolation and the last word in this game will be one of those issues addressed in today’s review.

England are up and running, but they must reach greater heights when the serious business starts in five days’ time.

England ratings

England ratings

David Price beats Audley Harrison in first-round knockout

Audley pays the Price: Harrison suffers first round KO at hands of heavyweight hope

By
Ian Ridley

PUBLISHED:

21:41 GMT, 13 October 2012

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UPDATED:

23:30 GMT, 13 October 2012

The man who talks such a good fight thought he had one last special one in him. He was spectacularly wrong.

Audley Harrison lasted just 82 brutal seconds against the new big hope of British heavyweight boxing, David Price, at the Liverpool Echo Arena. At 40, it must surely be the end of the Londoner’s controversial and ultimately unfulfilled career.

Brutal: David Price celebrates after knocking out Audley Harrison in the first round

Brutal: David Price celebrates after knocking out Audley Harrison in the first round

Price had respect neither for age nor
the reputation of Harrison, an Olympic gold medal winner 12 years ago,
and gave 8,000 raucous Merseyside fans a satisfying, if curtailed,
performance.

The 29-year-old Beijing bronze
medallist did exactly what he needed to do to retain his British and
Commonwealth heavyweight titles and enhance his reputation with the 12th
knock-out in his 14 winning fights since turning professional three
years ago.

On the front foot: Price takes the fight to Harrison

On the front foot: Price takes the fight to Harrison

On his way: Price goes in to finish off Harrison

On his way: Price goes in to finish off Harrison

Harrison was left with a broken nose and concussion and ended the night in hospital.

Price said: ‘I would have liked more rounds but I have done a number on him and surprised myself.’
Harrison entered the ring to the theme from Rocky and many gave him
about as much chance as the cinematic underdog in Price’s backyard.To
rub it in, the Scouser made his entry to a rousing rendition of You’ll
Never Walk Alone.

Going down: Price sends Harrison crashing to the canvas

Going down: Price sends Harrison crashing to the canvas

Out for the count: Harrison lies on the floor after being knocked down

Out for the count: Harrison lies on the floor after being knocked down

The look of apprehension that beset
Harrison in his non-event of a fight against David Haye two years ago,
when he barely landed a punch, was evident again.

Within a minute, he was reeling from a
fierce Price right hand. Scenting blood, Price unleased a flurry of
punches and soon Harrison was on the canvas, clinging to the ropes to
avoid falling from the ring. Blood spurted from his nose. Referee Howard
Foster’s count was irrelevant.

Harrison’s corner rushed to his aid
and a doctor was soon administering oxygen. After five minutes he rose
to his feet and groggily departed the arena, leaving Price to bask in
the adulation of his home city. Departing boxing too

Game over: Price celebrates his victory

Game over: Price celebrates his victory

Mixed emotions: Harrison looks dejected after his defeat to Price who celebrates in the background

Mixed emotions: Harrison looks dejected after his defeat to Price who celebrates in the background

Before the fight, Harrison acknowledged he was in the last-chance saloon. Surely the sport will no longer serve him.

By contrast, Price dealt with the
first real challenge of his career impressively. Soon a big box office
fight against his friend Haye may beckon.

With the Klitschko brothers coming to
the end of their careers, he looks to be in the right place at the right
time. Unlike Audley Harrison.

West Ham 3 Fulham 0: Andy Carroll makes winning start

West Ham 3 Fulham 0: Carroll plays his part as Hammers cruise against London rivals

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UPDATED:

14:04 GMT, 1 September 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Andy Carroll wasted no time in winning over the West Ham fans as the big striker helped his new side to a comfortable win.

The result was beyond doubt when Carroll was given a rousing reception as he hobbled off clutching his leg with 25 minutes left.

Earlier, Carroll played his part in the build-up to Kevin Nolan's first-minute opener before Winston Reid and Matt Taylor sealed the victory.

Forever blowing bubbles: Andy Carroll takes to the pitch for his West Ham debut

Forever blowing bubbles: Andy Carroll takes to the pitch for his West Ham debut

MATCH FACTS

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Hall 78), Reid, Collins (Tomkins 67), O'Brien, Diame, Noble, Nolan, Taylor, Vaz Te, Carroll (Cole 68)

Subs not used: Henderson, Maiga, Diarra, O'Neil

Goals: Nolan 1, Reid 29, Taylor 41

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Duff, Sidwell, Diarra, Richardson (Kacaniklic 59), Rodallega, Petric (Berbatov 46)

Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Baird, Kasami, Briggs

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 33,458

Carroll, who was flanked by Ricardo Vaz
Te and Taylor with Matt Jarvis missing following a knock in training,
was involved straight away.

A long, clearing header from James Collins was flicked on by the England
international into the path of Vaz Te who played the ball in to Nolan,
with Carroll's ex-Newcastle team-mate finishing firmly past Mark
Schwarzer.

Fulham's debutant Kieran Richardson had the visitors' first real chance
when he fired in a low effort from distance that was palmed away by West
Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

With less than 10 minutes on the clock Carroll was again involved when
he headed Vaz Te's cross into the on-rushing Mohamed Diame, who saw his
effort tipped onto the crossbar by Schwarzer.

The Australian goalkeeper was keeping his side in the game in the
opening exchanges and was called upon once more to tip Vaz Te's low shot
around the post.

Impact: Andy Carroll got stuck in from the start of his first game in a Hammers shirt

Impact: Andy Carroll got stuck in from the start of his first game in a Hammers shirt

Nolan came close to adding a second in the 16th minute as the same
combination of players who created the first goal ran riot once more.

Carroll, who had won every header he contested in the early stages,
picked out Vaz Te who found Nolan on the edge of the Fulham penalty
area.

This time the Hammers captain attempted a lobbed effort that landed on
the top of Schwarzer's net with the home side fully in control.

Concern: Andy Carroll hit the deck midway through the second half and required treatment

Concern: Andy Carroll hit the deck midway through the second half and required treatment

Early exit: Andy Carroll was forced off before the end of the match against Fulham

Early exit: Andy Carroll was forced off before the end of the match against Fulham

Fulham started to enjoy a little bit more possession as the first half progressed but were soon further behind.

Taylor's 29th-minute corner found Reid on the edge of the six-yard area
and he beat Mahamadou Diarra to the ball to power a header past
Schwarzer to double the home side's lead.

Vaz Te, who was full of running and always wanted the ball, was proving a
constant thorn in the side of the Fulham defence and Nolan should have
done better when the Portuguese picked him out inside the box.

Flying start: Kevin Nolan rattled in West Ham's opener with just under a minute on the clock

Flying start: Kevin Nolan rattled in West Ham's opener with just under a minute on the clock

Battle cry: Kevin Nolan (left) lets out a roar as he celebrates breaking the deadlock

Battle cry: Kevin Nolan (left) lets out a roar as he celebrates breaking the deadlock

It was not long afterwards that the third goal was scored by the Hammers
as Collins' free-kick was headed clear by Fulham's Brede Hangeland.

The loose ball broke free to the feet of Taylor who finished well from the edge of the penalty area.

Fulham had back-to-back corners in first-half injury time but could not
create an opening and were almost caught on the counter-attack before
the half-time whistle.

Doubling up: Winston Reid celebrates with his team-mates after scoring West Ham's second against Fulham

Doubling up: Winston Reid celebrates with his team-mates after scoring West Ham's second against Fulham

Fulham manager Martin Jol reacted to the disastrous first half by
introducing new signing Dimitar Berbatov at the interval with Mladen
Petric making way.

Carroll started the second half as he did the first, winning a header
that found Vaz Te, who could not direct his shot towards goal.

Taylor almost scored his second of the game five minutes after the re-start as a short free-kick was worked to him by Nolan.

The 30-year-old's effort was straight at Schwarzer but the experienced
goalkeeper could not hold it and the ball was eventually cleared for a
corner.

On the up: Matt Taylor was jumping for joy after scoring the third goal for West Ham

On the up: Matt Taylor was jumping for joy after scoring the third goal for West Ham

Fulham again had a spell of sustained possession but still lacked a cutting edge even with Berbatov now involved.

Carroll was replaced by Carlton Cole with just under 25 minutes
remaining after seeming to injure his hamstring after a heavy landing.

The visitors continued to press and Steve Sidwell finally forced a smart
save out of Jaaskelainen following a Damien Duff corner.

Jol's side continued to show signs of improvement as Berbatov linked
well with Hugo Rodallega, with the latter again testing Jaaskelainen.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was forced to make his third and final substitution when defender Guy Demel went down injured. Demel was replaced by teenager Robert Hall with Taylor reverting to full-back.

Hall had the chance to put West Ham four goals ahead after Vaz Te ran
the length of the field after collecting the ball from a poor Fulham
corner.

The 25-year-old jinked his way into the box and rolled the ball to Hall but his shot was well blocked.

The three points had long-since been secured by the Hammers who sat back
for the closing stages with Fulham chasing a consolation goal.

Berbatov certainly gave Fulham a cutting edge during the closing stages
and almost created goals for Duff and Rodallega, with Jaaskelainen
keeping both efforts out.

London 2012 Olympics: Dai Greene delivers powerful speech

Captain Greene stirs the emotions with inspirational speech to track and field stars

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UPDATED:

13:34 GMT, 30 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Great Britain's athletics captain Dai Greene has called on his team-mates to take inspiration from an athlete whose own Olympic dreams were dashed by injury in a stirring speech ahead of the Games.

Steph Twell has been tipped for greatness even since emerging as a hugely talented teenager, becoming world junior champion over 1500 metres in 2008.

The 22-year-old has worn a London 2012 clothes pin every day since London won the bid in 2005, but, now the time has come, will not be involved.

Inspiration: Team GB captain Dai Greene delivered a rousing speech to his athletics team as they prepare for the start of events in the Olympic Stadium on Friday

Inspiration: Team GB captain Dai Greene delivered a rousing speech to his athletics team as they prepare for the start of events in the Olympic Stadium on Friday

Having recovered from a badly broken ankle that kept her out for virtually the whole of last year, a foot injury ruled her out of last month's trials and the following European Championships and ended her hopes of selection.

Greene, the world 400m hurdles champion, said: 'Use Steph's story to appreciate what you have and think about how she would give anything to be in your shoes when you get to the start line and use that to inspire you.'

The Welshman was addressing the team at their warm-weather training camp in Portugal ahead of the start of the athletics programme on Friday.

Jumping for joy: Greene is one of Team GB's brightest medal prospects at London 2012

Jumping for joy: Greene is one of Team GB's brightest medal prospects at London 2012

His speech also urged the team not to come away from the Games with any regrets.

He said: 'Set the bar high, don't be content with making the team. Don't look back in 10, 20 years and think you wish you'd done things differently. Aim for your own gold medal whatever that may be.'

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, who chose gold medal hopeful Greene as his captain, spoke about the tough journey he and the team had been on to get to the Games.

'Our journey together has been hard and that is why you are such a success by being here,' he said. 'No-one in this room has had an easy journey.'

Broken: Steph Twell was forced to pull out of the Games due to injury

Broken: Steph Twell was forced to pull out of the Games due to injury

The Dutchman talked about hitch-hiking from Amsterdam to Birmingham for a junior championships only to get robbed while camping in a field next to the stadium, sleeping on park benches at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and getting moved on by police.

'I wasn't born head coach of UKA,' he said. 'I've seen you grow. You make me proud and we can reap what we have sown.

'I feel privileged to having been part of this and lead you to a home Games, you can't get bigger.'

Euro 2012: Spain celebrate back in Madrid

Welcome home! History boys Spain greeted by jubilant fans in Madrid after Euro glory

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UPDATED:

15:13 GMT, 2 July 2012

Spain touched down in Madrid to ramp up the country's Euro 2012 party.

After beating Italy 4-0 in Kiev on Sunday night, the Spanish contingent flew home on Monday afternoon to a rousing reception in the capital.

Captain Iker Casillas and manager
Vicente del Bosque proudly paraded the trophy as they stepped off their
flight at Barajas airport.

Spain off the plane: Iker Casillas holds the trophy alongside boss Vicente Del Bosque

Spain off the plane: Iker Casillas holds the trophy alongside boss Vicente Del Bosque

All smiles: Del Bosque and Casillas enjoyed touching down in Madrid

All smiles: Del Bosque and Casillas enjoyed touching down in Madrid

Cheer we go! Airport workers celebrate the return of the national team in Madrid

Cheer we go! Airport workers celebrate the return of the national team in Madrid

Spain reign… in numbers

20 – Competitive games since they last lost.
29 – European Championship games without defeat since going down 2-0 to Sweden in a qualifier in October 2006.
8 – The number of Spaniards to have appeared in two European Championship final victories – Iker Casillas, Andris Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Fernando Torres, Cesc F`bregas, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos and David Silva.
79 – International clean sheets for Casillas, who has won 100 of his 137 games to date for his country.
513 – Minutes since Casillas last conceded a goal, in the 1-1 Group C draw with Italy on June 10.
189 – The total number of minutes played by Torres at the finals.
63 – The average number minutes on the pitch needed for Torres to score each of his three goals.
3,946 – Completed passes at Euro 2012.
620 – Total passes attempted by Xavi.
531 – Total passes completed by Xavi at an average success rate of 86%.

The Iberia plane that brought them from Kiev bore the logo 'proud of our national team.'

They are due to meet with King Juan Carlos, then take an open air bus ride through the Spanish capital to the adulation of tens of thousands. Madrid's central plaza was all geared up for a victory rally.

It will be the start of big celebrations as the nation revels in their latest, historic triumph.

Spain became the first country to win three major trophies in succession thanks to Sunday's epic win.

Fernando Torres believes Spain have established the yardstick by which future international success will now be measured.

Del Bosque's men destroyed Italy in the final of Euro 2012 in Kiev last night to become the first team to win three successive major international tournaments, including the World Cup.

Torres came off the bench to score the third goal in a 4-0 hammering as Spain added another European title to their Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 crowns.

The Chelsea striker told Marca: 'You can't ask for more, but it is the work of the team and the togetherness that has brought us here.

'You always want to win more and more, but right now we have to enjoy this. We have won by a distance against a great team like Italy.

Landing: The Spanish side wore shorts and t-shirts as they emerged into the Madrid heat

Landing: The Spanish side wore shorts and t-shirts as they emerged into the Madrid heat

Gerard Pique

Andres Iniesta (L) and Cesc Fabregas

Souvenirs: Gerard Pique (left) and Andres Iniesta took home some special footballs for memories

'We are very happy. This was the objective that we had at the start of the tournament. We knew we were the opponent to beat, that it was going to be more difficult than ever and it has been.

'We had luck in some moments of the championship but at the end we will reflect on what today means in Spanish football history.

'We have dominated from start to finish and enjoyed a magical evening. Now we can say that national teams of the future will concentrate on us to try and make history.'

Torres spent much of the tournament on the sidelines as Spain played for long periods without a recognised striker, with Cesc Fabregas deployed as their most advanced player.

But he finished the campaign with three goals and, courtesy of his assist for Juan Mata's fourth, the Golden Boot.

He also became the first player to score in two European Championship finals following his winner against Germany four years ago.

Pride: The plane taking the players back home had two national flags up front

Pride: The plane taking the players back home had two national flags up front

Water way to go: Fire trucks spray over the plane carrying Spain's players

Water way to go: Fire trucks spray over the plane carrying Spain's players

Torres, who only started three of Spain's six games, added: 'Football is like this, This is my third Euros, in the previous ones I played almost all the games and scored two goals. In this one I have played less but won the Golden Boot.

'Football can be just or unjust like that depending how you look at it and that is why we like it so much.'

Spain's first two goals came from David Silva and Jordi Alba, while Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta was named man of the match in the final and hailed a truly historic achievement.

'This is something unique, magical and unrepeatable,' he told AS. 'We have to enjoy the moment. The important thing is Spain are the champions which is what we came here for.

'It was a very complete game, we played very well with the ball and when Italy were left with 10 (when Thiago Motta went off injured) we pressured them very well. We played such a good all-round match which is what was demanded of us in this final.'

Cool: Sergio Ramos peers through his sunglasses on the tarmac at the airport

Cool: Sergio Ramos peers through his sunglasses on the tarmac at the airport

Wave: Casillas was greeted by crowds as he headed into the check-in area

Wave: Casillas was greeted by crowds as he headed into the check-in area

David Beckham collects UEFA award for 100 caps at Wembley alongside Sir Bobby Robson

Centurion Beckham picks up UEFA gong at Wembley alongside Charlton and Shilton

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UPDATED:

17:39 GMT, 2 June 2012

David Beckham was given a standing ovation as he returned to Wembley alongside fellow England greats Sir Bobby Robson and Peter Shilton to collect his award for playing over 100 internationals.

The Los Angeles Galaxy star sat beside Manchester United legend and 1966 World Cup winner Charlton in the Royal Box to watch England's final Euro 2012 warm-up game against Belgium.

Ton-derful: David Beckham is presented with his commemorative century cap by FA chairman David Bernstein at Wembley

Ton-derful: David Beckham is presented with his commemorative century cap by FA chairman David Bernstein at Wembley

The pair were paraded at half-time to a rousing reception alongside former goalkeeper, and 1990 World Cup semi-finalist, Shilton.

The celebrated trio then received their gong from European football's governing body UEFA in recognition of surpassing the century milestone of caps for the Three Lions.

Centurions: Beckham was joined on the pitch by Sir Bobby Charlton, Shilton, Stephanie Moore and Billy Wright's family

Centurions: Beckham was joined on the pitch by Sir Bobby Charlton, Shilton, Stephanie Moore and Billy Wright's family

All smiles: Beckham and Peter Shilton were given a standing ovation at half-time during the Belgium game

All smiles: Beckham and Peter Shilton were given a standing ovation at half-time during the Belgium game

Beckham, who won 115 caps for England, revealed he is looking forward to the upcoming European Championships – which will the first major tournament the Three lions have played in without the midfielder since Euro '96.

He said: 'There will always be expectations on an England team going into a major competition.

National service: Beckham stood beside Charlton and Shilton (far R) in the Royal Box during the national anthem

National service: Beckham stood beside Charlton and Shilton (far R) in the Royal Box during the national anthem

'We've got a new manager and a lot of talented players coming through, so we're looking forward to this one.

'I want England to succeed in every competition they go into and every game they play. I'm looking forward to it.'

The widows of both Bobby Moore and Billy Wright were also present to accept the honour on behalf of their late husbands.