Tag Archives: superb

Chris Robshaw has been named England skipper for the Six Nations as Stuart Lancaster keeps his faith in the flanker

Robshaw named England skipper for Six Nations as Lancaster keeps faith in flanker

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:53 GMT, 21 January 2013

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UPDATED:

20:03 GMT, 21 January 2013

England have confirmed Chris Robshaw as their captain for the forthcoming RBS Six Nations in an appointment that will have caused no surprises.

Robshaw has been retained after leading England to a record 38-21 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham on December 1 and will fill the post for a second successive championship.

Northampton forwards Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood are viewed as potential captains, but coach Stuart Lancaster views 26-year-old Harlequins openside Robshaw as the outstanding candidate.

Chris Robshaw will lead England into the Six Nations as one of the favourites

Responsibility: Chris Robshaw will lead England into the Six Nations as one of the favourites

Lancaster, who announced Robshaw's reappointment at tonight's squad meeting, believes the Lions captaincy candidate has developed into superb leader.

'Chris stepped into the role 12 months ago when we were building a new team and he has grown as a captain on and off the field,' Lancaster said.

'He showed those leadership qualities during the QBE Internationals and especially against the All Blacks when the whole squad got behind him.

'We have a number of leaders and I know they will all take this team forwards with Chris as we look to kick on from that result.'

Robshaw will be hoping to continue the success which led to victory over New Zealand

Ice Cold: Robshaw will be hoping to continue the success which led to victory over New Zealand

Robshaw made his Test debut against
Argentina in 2009 and despite his lack of experience, was installed as
skipper upon his next cap against Scotland at the start of last year's
Six Nations.

He has continued in the post since,
missing only the final Test against South Africa last June due to
injury, and has been a key part of Lancaster's rebuilding program
following the disastrous 2011 World Cup.

'Stuart told me this afternoon and I am really pleased to be asked again,' Robshaw said.

'There are other leaders in the squad that Stuart could have turned to so I am really honoured.

'The lads have been great over the
last year and now we our focus is on building on the New Zealand
performance and getting a result against Scotland.'

Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns will
undergo a scan over the coming days to assess the extent of the damage
of the knee injury he sustained during Saturday's 36-16 victory over
Mont de Marsan.

Robshaw celebrates with Ben Youngs and James Haskell

Good times: Robshaw celebrates with Ben Youngs and James Haskell

Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster have formed a formidable partnership leading England

Together: Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster have formed a formidable partnership leading England

Andy Murray delighted to receive OBE in New Years Honours

Murray proud to receive OBE as 'final touch' to incredible year for US Open and Olympic champion

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UPDATED:

15:10 GMT, 29 December 2012

Olympic and US Open champion Andy Murray expressed his pride at being awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

The 25-year-old was one of a host of sporting stars to receive honours as part of a special list rewarding British athletes who excelled at the London Olympics and Paralympics.

Murray said in a statement on his website: 'It is with incredible pride that I have been named in the New Year's Honours List to receive an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen for services to sport.

What a year: Andy Murray won two Olympic medals and lifted the US Open trophy

What a year: Andy Murray won two Olympic medals and lifted the US Open trophy

'This has been an amazing year for British sport and I am proud to have been able to play my part.

'I reached my first Wimbledon final, competed and won gold at the London 2012 Olympics with Team GB at Wimbledon, and then won my first grand slam title at the US Open.

'Being recognised in such a way at the end of such a great season is the finishing touch on 2012. Thank you all for your support, I hope everyone has a very happy New Year…..and here's to 2013!'

Murray went into the Olympics still looking to win one of tennis' biggest titles after falling just short at Wimbledon in July.

The Scot reached the final for the first time, ending a 74-year wait for a home men's singles finalist, but was beaten in four sets by Roger Federer, his devastation clear for all to see as his sobbed his way through a post-match interview.

Devastation: Murray (right) had to settle for second best at Wimbledon after losing to Roger Federer (left)

Devastation: Murray (right) had to settle for second best at Wimbledon after losing to Roger Federer (left)

Bouncing back: Murray beat Federer in the Olympic final at Wimbledon to take gold in the men's singles

Bouncing back: Murray beat Federer in the Olympic final at Wimbledon to take gold in the men's singles

Murray reacted in superb fashion, though, beating Novak Djokovic to guarantee himself a first Olympic medal and then handing Federer his worst defeat on grass to clinch gold in the men's singles on Wimbledon's Centre Court.

Murray almost made it two gold medals on the same day but had to settle for silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson.

The hope was the success would spur him on to break his grand slam duck, and he did just that at the first opportunity by winning the US Open in New York, ending Fred Perry's 76-year reign as Britain's last male grand slam singles champion.

Busy: Murray was in action earlier this week in Abu Dhabi

Busy: Murray was in action earlier this week in Abu Dhabi

The Wimbledon final was the fourth slam showpiece Murray had lost but he matched coach Ivan Lendl in winning at the fifth time of asking with a five-set victory over Djokovic.

Murray revealed after his triumph that his friends had been teasing him about the possibility of a knighthood – something he definitely was not expecting.

The world No 3 said: 'A lot of my friends have been messaging me about it and I don't really know what to say. I think it should take more than one or two good tournaments to deserve something like that. It would probably be a bit rash.'

The OBE is the first honour received by Murray, who survived the school shooting in his home town of Dunblane when he was eight.

Michu is proving to be one of Spain"s best exports

Bargain buy Michu is proving his worth alongside some of Spain's greats

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UPDATED:

16:08 GMT, 23 December 2012

Before the start of the season, most fans in England had never heard of him. Now, Swansea City’s Michu is one of the most talked-up, threatening midfielders in the Premier League.

The Spaniard pegged back Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium, making sure Sir Alex knew exactly who he was, and in doing so recorded his 13th goal of the season to earn his side a hard-earned point.

A snip at just 2million, he represents one of the league’s biggest bargains. But where does he stand among his country’s best

The main man: Michu has proved to be a great signing for Swansea so far

The main man: Michu has proved to be a great signing for Swansea so far

Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona
Barcelona’s Xavi turns 33 next month but has just signed a contract extension, keeping him at Camp Nou until 2016.
A true dead-ball specialist and an expert in both expansive and contained possession, he is not the biggest goal-threat, having only crept into double figures once in his career.
Estimated market value: 68million
Games: 17
Goals: 4
Shots: 25

Xavi Hernandez

Andres Iniesta

Barca duo: Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta are two of Spain and Barcelona's best

Andres Iniesta, Barcelona
He smashed in the goal which won Spain the World Cup in 2010 and his humble approach is eternally endearing. An accomplished technician, Iniesta makes up for anything he lacks in physical prowess with intelligence and versatility.
Estimated market value: 61.5million
Games: 12
Goals: 1
Shots: 16

Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona
One of the game’s modern-day greats, Fabregas is a superb passer, an accomplished finisher, was the very heart of Arsenal’s midfield and is proving indispensable for the Primera Liga greats.
He also has nine assists to his name and has dropped into Tito Vilanova’s highly-charged, switch-driven approach with ease.
Signed from Arsenal for 35million
Games: 15
Goals: 5
Shots: 21

Back home: Cesc Fabregas joined Barcelona from Arsenal in 2011

Back home: Cesc Fabregas joined Barcelona from Arsenal in 2011

David Silva, Manchester City
Silky Silva had a slow start with Manchester City, often finding he was easily out-muscled and dispossessed, but since settling with the Premier League champions, he’s been lively and exciting.
A true playmaker, his absences through injury this season have certainly been felt.
Signed from Valencia for 24million
Games: 15
Goals: 1
Shots: 25

Little master: David Silva has proved to be a key player for City

Little master: David Silva has proved to be a key player for City

Euro 2020: Michel Platini"s flight of fancy will give fans travel sickness – Des Kelly

Platini's flight of fancy will give fans travel sickness while greedy UEFA swell their coffers at YOUR expense

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 7 December 2012

The EasyJet 2020 European Championship has a certain ring to it. The Ryanair-miles 2020 Nations Cup is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Don’t scoff. The plan is already at the departure gate. UEFA chief Michel Platini has helped himself to Duty Free and he is now wheeling his latest idiotic idea through the Nothing To Declare But My Greed channel at airports across Europe.

The new UEFA wheeze is to take what is widely regarded as a fantastic international tournament of concentrated excellence and dismantle it; ruining the format by scattering Euro 2020 games throughout the continent, having already diluted the quality for the 2016 tournament by increasing the number of competing nations from 16 to 24.

Greed: UEFA president Michel Platini (below) wants to rip up a superb football tournament for his new vision

Greed: UEFA president Michel Platini (below) wants to rip up a superb football tournament for his new vision

Greed: UEFA president Michel Platini (below) wants to rip up a superb football tournament for his new vision

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There has been no great clamour from supporters for this. No fans’ groups have lobbied for change, demanded more teams, or more travel. But there is money to be had and the souvenirs are already on the drawing board. Top of the list is the ‘UEFA travel mug’ — because that’s how they see you.

Sponsors, advertisers, television executives, marketeers, travel operators, hoteliers and, crucially, UEFA delegates are rubbing their hands with glee at his proposed tournament. But, as ever, one key part of football is forgotten in the ‘exciting, new format’. The supporters.

The paying public are expected to shut up, cough up and be downright grateful for the chance to watch a first-round game in Dublin and then fly to Berlin and Istanbul for the remaining group matches.

When Platini was asked in a press conference how he thought an England supporter could afford to go from one airport to another, he shrugged: ‘As you know, there are budget airlines.’

If there was enough money on the table, I wouldn’t put it past football’s arrogant little Napoleon to play the first half of a match in one city and the second in another.

No matter that the new Euro format will cost you a fortune. Forget that it will be a logistical nightmare, even if games are grouped in smaller geographical regions. Abandon the thought that the competition might have the feel of a national festival with its own character, cuisine and quirks. That will all be lost — and you have no say in it.

You are considered no more than sheep. You are herded from one place to another with little consideration and treated with the kind of like-it-or-lump-it contempt Michael O’Leary reserves for his Ryanair passengers. But at least he usually has the nous to keep the ‘ordeal’ cheap. Not that it will stay that way when the fixtures are announced. Those budget airlines will cash in like everyone else.

Remember these glorious Euro moments Stuart Pearce after scoring his penalty against Spain in 1996

Paul Gascoigne celebrates his stunning goal against Scotland

Who can forget these golden Euro moments Stuart Pearce (left) and Paul Gascoigne (right) celebrate in 1996

Boy wonder: Wayne Rooney celebrates his second goal in England's 4-2 win over Croatia in Lisbon in 2004

Boy wonder: Wayne Rooney celebrates his second goal in England's 4-2 win over Croatia in Lisbon in 2004

Danny boy: England striker Welbeck (left) scores against Sweden with a brilliant backheel

Danny boy: England striker Welbeck (left) scores against Sweden with a brilliant backheel

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Football is one of the few mass entertainment industries that does not put its paying audience first. Fans are fleeced every season as clubs owned by billionaires and oligarchs hike up ticket prices.
A new first, second and even third strip appears in the ‘megastore’ every season. Kick-off times are designed to suit TV schedulers, or set for the convenience of viewers in the growing markets of the Far East.

The Football Supporters’ Federation told me the number of away supporters attending matches in this country is falling because of unrealistic ticket prices and punishing travel costs.

But despite that backdrop of economic hardship, Platini thinks it is the right time to launch another pan-European flight exodus. I’m not sure how this sits with UEFA’s green initiatives. During this summer’s European Championship I was actually sent a press release for UEFA’s ‘eco-friendly fan camp’.

It said: ‘In the middle of a big city we will show how easy it is to take care of the environment — you will find eco-tips on how each of us can have a positive impact for the benefit of the environment.’

I didn’t quite make it to UEFA’s ‘Eco fan camp’, but one tip I might suggest is not to ask armies of football supporters to zig-zig across Europe on a jetplane for no discernible reason other than greed and political brokering.

But then I remembered Platini was a key backer in Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.

If he can melt the ice caps with all those Euro flights, the Middle East might be quite habitable by the time the tournament comes around.

We could all just stay at home, of course.

Sinking without trace

British Swimming has finally issued its overdue report into the 25million failures at the London Olympics pool. I think Rebecca Adlington summed up the conclusions rather well.

‘It’s an absolute mess,’ she said. ‘It told us nothing we didn’t already know. I feel insulted, disheartened and saddened by the way they have ignored us, the swimmers, in all of this.’

Highlights included the fact that British Swimming had delivered a lot of fifth-place finishes, as if that was going to justify massive public funding.

Let down: Rebecca Adlington has spoken out about her disappointment with British Swimming

Let down: Rebecca Adlington has spoken out about her disappointment with British Swimming

The panel’s chairman, Craig Hunter, said: ‘Systems and processes in place did not function as well as they should, particularly over the final period of the quadrennial cycle.’

What that gobbledegook actually means is ‘they completely cocked it up in Olympic year’.

Having a performance director that lived in Australia didn’t help. But the year ahead is shaping up as another shambles, since the nation’s swimmers are currently unable to plan their training programmes because they have not been told when the world championship trials will be.

Meanwhile, top 200 metres swimmer Ellen Gandy, a poster girl for the 2012 Games, has decided she has more chance of success with Australia at the next Olympics.

About time too…

Queens Park Rangers have cancelled their
Christmas party. Asked why this had happened, a club spokesman
announced: ‘Have you seen the league table’

And in that moment there
was a sign that sanity was finally taking hold in west London.

At least performance chief Michael Scott and senior coach Dennis Pursley had the decency to resign in the wake of all this turmoil. British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes is still in place.

He said: ‘If you look at all the results, across all the disciplines, I don’t think there’s any justification for me to consider my position at this time.’

Interesting. Aside from the one silver and Adlington’s two bronzes in the pool, it seems Sparkes believes a bronze medal in diving, a single match won between both the men and women water polo teams, a fifth by the synchronised swimmers, and Paralympic successes are enough for him to cling on. So well done the Paralympic team. You saved British Swimming’s chief executive.

Adlington, the most successful British swimmer of the modern era, said of the current state of the sport: ‘It’s stupid . . . it’s a mess . . . people needed guidance.’

In doing so, the 23-year-old spoke more sense in an angry plea for her sport than I’ve ever heard from the defensive, self-preserving suits running around on expense accounts.

In fact, if the proud Adlington ever decides to quit competitive swimming, I’ll join any campaign to make her chief executive.

Cook's recipe for success leaves a sweet taste

Tennis, golf, cycling and athletics have all provided the nation with sporting icons this year, but surely cricket’s finest batsman deserves to take a bow, too.

England’s Alastair Cook somehow combines understated modesty with supreme assurance. He scores runs when it matters, and does it with the unhurried artistry of a true master.

At the age of 27, Cook is already shattering records. But there are no displays of ego, no celebrity magazine shoots, no tattoos, no fraternising with the enemy, no mercenary dashes to collect dollars or rupees and no doubts about his loyalty or intent. Cook is just quality and class.

Brilliant and modest: England captain Alastair Cook is breaking batting records while staying grounded

Brilliant and modest: England captain Alastair Cook is breaking batting records while staying grounded

It’s open season if you fancy threatening the ref

It's
official. From now, it is perfectly possible to justify violent and
threatening behaviour against a referee. You just have to claim that you
thought you heard them say something nasty.

John
Mikel Obi was handed a fine of around five days’ wages and told he was
not allowed to play football for three matches in response to the crime
of launching himself into the officials’ dressing room in a fury.
Reports allege that he shouted at referee Mark Clattenburg that he would
‘break his legs’.

Ox is a stand-up guy

If his football talents desert him, Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain might care to hone his obvious gift for comic timing.

As the Arsenal player accepted the Best International Newcomer award
from the Sports Journalists’ Association at the Tower of London ceremony
this week, he opened an eloquent chat with the ever-professional Jim
Rosenthal with a fine quip.

The Gunners’ Ox said: ‘It’s an honour to
win… well, anything really.’

But the FA were able to understand
why: ‘At the time he threatened the referee, the player genuinely
believed that the referee had racially abused him. But for that factor,
the suspension would have been significantly longer.’

What
absurd tosh. Just because some player was running around with a
misplaced sense of grievance, it doesn’t give him licence to boot in
doors or issue warnings of grievous bodily harm.

This
insipid, pathetic sanction is another nail in the coffin of the
Football Association’s increasingly limp ‘Respect’ campaign. It is not
the message that the game should be sending out during a week when
amateur players in Holland beat a linesman to death.

Clattenburg
abused nobody and the FA itself said he had no case to answer. Had
Mikel been involved in an incident like this in a Sunday league match,
the punishment would have been significantly greater.

Remember,
Clattenburg missed four games — and he hadn’t done a thing. Mikel will
miss three games after being found guilty. What a joke.

Sebastian Vettel to start Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from back of the grid

Hamilton can turn the heat on relegated championship leader Vettel in Abu Dhabi

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UPDATED:

21:40 GMT, 3 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton is perfectly placed to disrupt Sebastian Vettel's hopes of a hat-trick of world championships in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton took pole position from the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Vettel at a circuit on which he has never been off the front row in the race's four years.

After qualifying, Vettel's car was found to have insufficient fuel, infringing F1's technical regulations.

Ditched: Sebastian Vettel could not steer his car back to the pits on his out-lap

Ditched: Sebastian Vettel could not steer his car back to the pits on his out-lap

The German's times were cancelled and he starts from the back of the grid.

Either Vettel or Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will finish the year as a triple F1 world champion.

Hamilton made it clear he thinks
Alonso would be more deserving. Vettel's Red Bull is the latest in a
succession of superb cars from British design genius Adrian Newey and
Hamilton says: 'Lots of people wish they could have Adrian's car so they
could show they're just as competitive as Sebastian.

Pole vault: Hamilton beat the Red Bulls for speed

Pole vault: Hamilton beat the Red Bulls for speed

'I don't really get to race against him. He puts his car on to the maximum engine setting and he's gone.

'Fernando, for me, is more accurate,' Hamilton added.

'He hits all the apexes. Sebastian
misses four apexes on a single lap and still goes quickest. His car is
just that far ahead of everyone else's.'

There may be trouble ahead: Vettel stands next to his car after qualifying

There may be trouble ahead: Vettel stands next to his car after qualifying

Of their respective merits Hamilton
says: 'I have my own opinion. That just confirms it, when you miss all
those corners . . . '

Vettel would no doubt be affronted, particularly after suffering a nightmare day.

He missed the last session of
practice with a brake problem and was playing catch-up during
qualifying, clipped the wall and then fell foul of the rules.

Repeat performance: Lewis Hamilton stopped his car on the track in Barcelona

Repeat performance: Lewis Hamilton stopped his car on the track in Barcelona

After nearly five hours of
deliberation race stewards discovered that there was insufficient fuel
in the car for sampling purposes.

The thinnest of silver linings for Vettel was that Alonso qualified seventh – now sixth – in a Ferrari that struggled for pace.

Yet with double DRS overtaking zones, he will aim to exploit Vettel's misfortune and finish on the podium at the very least.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Live: 1pm, Sky Sports F1 & BBC1. Highlights: 7pm, BBC3

Nordsjaelland 0 Chelsea 4 match report: Juan Mata scores twice

Nordsjaelland 0 Chelsea 4: Late gains calm defending champions' jitters

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 2 October 2012

In the end, it was a walk in the Parken as Chelsea scored three times in the final 11 minutes to get their Champions League defence up and running in earnest against Nordsjaelland.

Juan Mata continued his amazing recent form with his third goal in three games but it took a superb free-kick from David Luiz to open the floodgates as Mata and Ramires sent the European champions top of Group E.

Before that, there were as many questions as answers at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen as Chelsea almost let another lead slip two weeks after blowing a two-goal advantage to draw their opening match against Juventus.

Mata of fact: The Spaniard scored two for Chelsea as the holders edged past the Norwegians

Mata of fact: The Spaniard scored two for Chelsea as the holders edged past the Norwegians

Match facts

FC Nordsjaelland: Hansen,Parkhurst, Okore, Runje, Mtiliga, Adu, Stokholm, Lorentzen (Laudrup 84), Nordstrand (Ticinovic 65), John, Beckmann (Christensen 75).

Subs not used: Villadsen, Christiansen, Gundelach, Petry Andersen.

Booked: Runje.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Moses (Hazard 65), Oscar, Mata (Mikel 83), Torres.

Subs not used: Turnbull, Romeu, Terry, Azpilicueta, Bertrand.

Goals: Mata 33, 82; Luiz 79; Ramires 89.

Attendance: 42,000

Referee: Marijo Strahonja (Croatia).

Latest Champions League results, fixtures and table

Frank Lampard returned to the starting
XI for the first time since then, captaining the side in the absence of
the rested John Terry.

The 34-year-old cleverly set up Mata's
opener and led the visitors well, although doubts remain over whether
he could form an effective midfield shield with either Ramires or John
Obi Mikel.

It was almost exactly a year since the
first cracks in Lampard's relationship with former manager Andre
Villas-Boas began to emerge after his game time was similarly rationed.

But, unlike 12 months ago, there was
no visible sign of disaffection from the England star tonight, with
Roberto Di Matteo proving a far better diplomat than his predecessor.

Lampard's recall made perfect sense against a team Chelsea were expected to beat almost regardless of selection and tactics.

The gulf between the sides was further
emphasised by the fact Nordsjaelland were unable to get anywhere near
selling out what was arguably the biggest match in their short history,
having switched their Champions League matches to the national stadium.

Di Matteo last night described this
game as Chelsea's biggest of the group and they certainly started as if
they meant business, Jores Okore hitting his own post clearing Oscar's
cross, with Victor Moses poised to nod home.

Fernando Torres also made a hash of beating the last defender after a lucky break and Lampard sent Mata's cross over the bar.

Sloppiness soon crept in as
Nordsjaelland, whose possession game soon got going, had a couple of
sighters before a desperate lunge from Ashley Cole prevented Kaspar
Lorentzen turning in John's cross.

Nordsjaelland continued to make errors, one from Ivan Runje playing in Torres, who fired at the legs of Jesper Hansen.

Brace yourself: Mata scored two on the night as Chelsea secured their first win in the competition this year

Brace yourself: Mata scored two on the night as Chelsea secured their first win in the competition this year

Brace yourself: Mata scored two on the night as Chelsea secured their first win in the competition this year

Brace yourself: Mata scored two on the night as Chelsea secured their first win in the competition this year

And it was a mistake Chelsea punished
ruthlessly in the 33rd minute, Torres robbing Enoch Adu and finding
Lampard, who showed great vision in feeding Mata to slot home.

Nordsjaelland continued to play as if
they had nothing to lose but Torres should have put them in their place a
minute before the break when he shot straight at Hansen after being put
clean through by Oscar.

It was a similar story after the
restart when the Spaniard was beaten to another Oscar ball by the
goalkeeper but the first real shot came from John, who fired just wide
after sidestepping Ramires.

Moses had the ball in the net moments later but the goal was rightly ruled out for his foul on Michael Parkhurst.

Nordsjaelland then assumed total
control as Mikkel Beckmann sent a looping header just over from Okore's
long ball, Petr Cech only parried Nicolai Stokholm's swerving 25-yarder
and Beckmann screwed Parkhurst's cross wide.

Cech mate: The Chelsea fans enjoyed their first win in the competition since winning it last May

Cech mate: The Chelsea fans enjoyed their first win in the competition since winning it last May

Cech mate: The Chelsea fans enjoyed their first win in the competition since winning it last May

Chelsea withdrew Moses for Eden Hazard
and Nordsjaelland sent on Mario Ticinovic for Nordstrand and it was the
home side's change which almost paid off when Cech brilliantly saved
John's curler onto the post and Cole was on hand to block Beckmann's
rebound.

The visitors hit back and Runje was
lucky to see only yellow for a shocking tackle on Ramires, Oscar lashing
the ball home after the whistle had gone.

Mata wasted the free-kick but when
Chelsea got another 11 minutes from time, Luiz swerving a vicious shot
in off the inside of the near post.

It was game over three minutes later
when the champions' best move of the match ended with a lucky break off a
defender, with Mata stroking home.

And there was still time for Ramires to put gloss on the scoreline by tapping home Oscar's cross.

Four star performance: Chelsea were not the dominant side but finished the match as comfortable victors

Four star performance: Chelsea were not the dominant side but finished the match as comfortable victors

Euro 2012 results: Sweden 2 England 3 – Danny Welbeck scores winner

Sweden 2 England 3: Welbeck to the rescue to leave Hodgson's men in driving seat

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UPDATED:

20:52 GMT, 15 June 2012

Danny Welbeck's sublime finish put England on the path towards the knockout stages in a rollercoaster match at Euro 2012.

The striker guided home Theo Walcott's cross with a skilful turn in the 78th minute to seal victory for Roy Hodgson's men.

It leaves them level in top spot on four points with France in Group D ahead of Tuesday's decider with the Ukraine, which they must not lose. Sweden, meanwhile, are now out.

Andy Carroll had earlier put England into a first-half lead with a superb header. Olof Mellberg then hit a quickfire double after the break before Theo Walcott drew England level at 2-2.

Rescue act: Welbeck celebrates with Andy Carroll after scoring England's third goal

Rescue act: Welbeck celebrates with Andy Carroll after scoring England's third goal

Delight: Welbeck guided the ball into the net through his legs to stun Sweden

Delight: Welbeck guided the ball into the net through his legs to stun Sweden

What a finish: Danny Welbeck guides home the ball to make it 3-2 to England

What a finish: Danny Welbeck guides home the ball to make it 3-2 to England

Match facts

Sweden: Isaksson, Granqvist, Mellberg, Jonas Olsson, Martin Olsson, Larsson, Svensson, Kallstrom, Elm, Ibrahimovic, Elmander.
Subs Not Used: Wiland, Hansson, Lustig, Hysen, Antonsson, Wernbloom, Safari, Holmen, Bajrami, Toivonen, Wilhelmsson, Rosenberg.

England: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Parker, Gerrard, Young, Carroll, Welbeck. Subs Not Used: Green, Butland, Kelly, Walcott, Henderson, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

More to follow…

Heads up: Andy Carroll opened the scoring with this powerful header

Heads up: Andy Carroll opened the scoring with this powerful header

Power: Carroll used superb technique to guide the ball past the Sweden goalkeeper

Power: Carroll used superb technique to guide the ball past the Sweden goalkeeper

You beauty! Carroll wheels away in delight after putting England ahead in Kiev

You beauty! Carroll wheels away in delight after putting England ahead in Kiev

Kneesy does it: Carroll slides in celebration after his first ever tournament goal

Kneesy does it: Carroll slides in celebration after his first ever tournament goal

Take that: Carroll screams with joy after his header put England in front

Take that: Carroll screams with joy after his header put England in front

Smiles better: Carroll repaid boss Roy Hodgson for handing him a start in the England team

Smiles better: Carroll repaid boss Roy Hodgson for handing him a start in the England team

Getting a block in: Parker challenges Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Getting a block in: Parker challenges Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Battle: Joleon Lescott and Johan Elmander challenge for the ball

Battle: Joleon Lescott and Johan Elmander challenge for the ball

Pursuit: Olof Mellberg chases Danny Welbeck as the England striker shows his pace

Pursuit: Olof Mellberg chases Danny Welbeck as the England striker shows his pace

Catch me if you can: Ashley Cole proves too quick for veteran Anders Svensson

Catch me if you can: Ashley Cole proves too quick for veteran Anders Svensson

Head over heels: Ashley Young falls down in a challenge with Anders Svensson

Head over heels: Ashley Young falls down in a challenge with Anders Svensson

Leveller: Olof Mellberg equalises for Sweden to stun the England defence

Leveller: Olof Mellberg equalises for Sweden to stun the England defence

Desperation: Glen Johnson is unable to keep the ball out at the near post

Desperation: Glen Johnson is unable to keep the ball out at the near post

Net pains: Johnson ends up in the goal as he fails to keep the ball out

Net pains: Johnson ends up in the goal as he fails to keep the ball out

Double up: Mellberg towers above the England defence to head his side in front

Double up: Mellberg towers above the England defence to head his side in front

Second coming: Mellberg is mobbed by his team-mates after his second strike

Second coming: Mellberg is mobbed by his team-mates after his second strike

Striking back: Theo Walcott blasts the ball home to draw England level once more

Striking back: Theo Walcott blasts the ball home to draw England level once more

Thanks Theo: England's players mob the substitute after making it 2-2

Thanks Theo: England's players mob the substitute after making it 2-2

Barcelona v Chelsea: Thierry Henry jets in from America to cheer on old club

Henry jets in from Washington to cheer on former club Barcelona in Chelsea clash

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UPDATED:

18:11 GMT, 23 April 2012

Former Barcelona star Thierry Henry was back at the Nou Camp on Monday night as the Spanish giants prepare for tomorrow's eagerly-awaited Champions League clash with Chelsea.

The Blues take a 1-0 lead to Spain in their semi-final tie after Didier Drogba's solo strike at Stamford Bridge last week.

Arrival: Thierry Henry was at the Nou Camp on Monday as Barcelona prepare to face Chelsea

Arrival: Thierry Henry was at the Nou Camp on Monday as Barcelona prepare to face Chelsea

Defeat: The New York Red Bulls were soundly beaten by DC United on Sunday

Defeat: The New York Red Bulls were soundly beaten by DC United on Sunday

Henry, who scored a superb free kick in the New York Red Bulls' 4-1 defeat at Washington DC on Sunday, played more than 80 games for Barcelona.

And the former Arsenal star helped the La Liga club win the 2009 European Cup final after beating Manchester United 2-0.

His presence at the Nou Camp is likely to come as a welcome boost to Pep Guardiola's side who were on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat against fierce rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.

Battle: Chelsea will face Barcelona on Tuesday evening for a place in the Champions League final

Battle: Chelsea will face Barcelona on Tuesday evening for a place in the Champions League final

Favourites: Barcelona are still expected to progress despite the 1-0 deficit

Favourites: Barcelona are still expected to progress despite the 1-0 deficit

London 2012: Olympic venues – 100 days to go

Shaping up: As we approach 100 days to go, the London Olympic Park comes to life

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UPDATED:

15:55 GMT, 17 April 2012

The countdown to the 2012 Olympics started way back in 2005 when London was awarded the Games and on Wednesday it will be just 100 days away.

Don't worry, we can't believe it either. Time flies when you're having fun – and looking forward to the greatest show on Earth – but judging by our pictures we're ready to rock.

Events will take place all over the
English capital during what promises to be a fantastic fortnight (and a
bit) and we've got superb shots of the venues, taken this week, to get you in the mood.

The
star attraction is the Olympic Stadium in east London and over 30 buildings were
demolished to make way for an 80,000-seat facility where, fingers
crossed, history will be made this summer.

The
famous torch relay starts a 70-day UK tour in Land's End on May 17 and
then the biggest names in world sport will be under starters orders from
July 27, with the curtain due to come down on August 12.

The final batch of 1.2m tickets will
go on sale next month but if you've already managed to get your hands on
some, take a look at where you'll be going by scrolling through our
snaps.

Won't be long now…..

Worth the wait: The magnificent Olympic Stadium at Stratford

Worth the wait: The magnificent Olympic Stadium at Stratford

State of the art: The likes of diver Tom Daley will hope to make a splash in the Aquatics Centre

State of the art: The likes of diver Tom Daley will hope to make a splash in the Aquatics Centre

This place will be bouncing: All white on the night at the Basketball Arena

This place will be bouncing: All white on the night at the Basketball Arena

Grey day: But don't expect there to be any dull moments inside the Handball Arena

Grey day: But don't expect there to be any dull moments inside the Handball Arena

Welcome to your new home: The Athletes' Village takes up a huge area of the Olympic Park

Welcome to your new home: The Athletes' Village takes up a huge area of the Olympic Park

Fancy that: The venue for the water polo sits next to the Aquatics Centre

Fancy that: The venue for the water polo sits next to the Aquatics Centre

Under construction: Shots of the Olympic Park from November 2007 through to March 2012

Frank Lampard"s top five Premier League goals

150 not out: Sportsmail celebrates Lampard's top five Premier League goals

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UPDATED:

12:34 GMT, 10 April 2012

With Monday night’s penalty against Fulham Frank Lampard took his Barclays Premier League goal tally to 150.

No other midfielder has scored so many – the closest contender is Ryan Giggs, on 112 goals, and Lampard’s haul takes him to fifth in the overall goalscoring charts.

With the wheels of time turning and Chelsea’s midfield talisman struggling to find his best form, he may not have long left at the top level. But for now, the statistics show: Frank Lampard, 150. Not out.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at Lampard's top five goals.

Milestone: Frank Lampard fires home his 150th Premier League goal from the penalty spot against Fulham

Milestone: Frank Lampard fires home his 150th Premier League goal from the penalty spot against Fulham

5. Chelsea 2-0 Portsmouth February 25 2006

A wonderful team move saw Didier Drogba and Eidur Gudjohnsen combine, before the latter dummied the ball on the edge of the box to allow the onrushing Lampard to blast it home in trademark fashion.

4. Chelsea 2-0 Bolton April 30 2005 (Lampard’s second goal)

Lampard considers his second against Bolton to be his favourite strike. Claude Makelele’s cutting through ball (no, really) sets free Lampard, on the half-way line, who charges into the area, takes it round Jussi Jaaskelainen and sticks it in the net. The goal sealed Chelsea’s first title for 50 years.

3. Chelsea 8-0 Stoke April 25 2010 (Lampard’s second goal)

Lampard is not normally noted for his subtlety or technique, but this goal demonstrated that side of him at its best. Sam Hutchinson whipped the ball in from the right and Lampard used the outside of his foot to fade the ball over Asmir Begovic and into the far corner. Sumptuous.

2. Hull 0–3 Chelsea October 29 2008

Another example of Lampard’s superb technique and ability to find a goal out of nothing. With a Chelsea attack breaking down on the left side of the box, Lampard wedged a delicate chip past the bewildered Boaz Myhill. Chelsea manager at the time, Luiz Felipe Scolari, hailed it as the greatest goal he has ever seen. And he’s managed Brazil.

1. Everton 1-2 Chelsea December 18 2006

But for all of Lampard’s skill, what he will be remembered for most is his ability to find the net from outside the area, in spectacular fashion. And his strike at Goodison Park highlights that. Receiving the ball from Salomon Kalou, and several Everton defenders blocking the path to goal, Lampard considered his options then decided the best choice was to blast the ball into the top corner. Good call.