Monday, May 31, 2010

Sidebottom called up by England

Ryan Sidebottom
Sidebottom first played for England in 2001

England have called up Nottinghamshire seamer Ryan Sidebottom for Friday's second Test with Bangladesh following an injury to all-rounder Tim Bresnan.

Sidebottom is the only change from the squad that completed a comfortable eight-wicket win at Lord's on Monday.

Bresnan took four wickets at Lord's but has a stress fracture in his left foot and will be further assessed this week.

Sidebottom, 32, played the last of his 22 Tests in South Africa in January and has 79 wickets at an average of 28.

The left-arm seamer was most recently involved at international level as part of the triumphant England World Twenty20 squad in the West Indies.

He played in all seven of England's matches, finishing as their joint highest wicket-taker with Graeme Swann, with 10 wickets at an average of 16.


"It's very unfortunate that Tim Bresnan will miss the second Test through injury as his bowling benefitted from five days of Test cricket during the Lord's Test and he would have been looking forward to getting more overs under his belt at Old Trafford," England National Selector Geoff Miller said.

"It does, however, provide Ryan Sidebottom with an opportunity to push for Test selection following his outstanding performances in the World Twenty20.

"The entire bowling unit will be better for the overs bowled during the first Test and looking to further build on this in Manchester."

Bangladesh have never played a Test at Old Trafford but Sidebottom has appeared in two matches there, taking three wickets against the West Indies in 2007 and four more against New Zealand a year later.

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Wolves recruit defender Van Damme

Jelle Van Damme
Van Damme joined Anderlecht from Southampton in May 2006

Wolves have signed Belgium international defender Jelle van Damme from Anderlecht for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old has agreed a three-year deal, with the option of a fourth, to become the club's first summer signing.

"Jelle is a player we've been watching for a long time and I'm delighted we've signed him," manager Mick McCarthy told the Midland outfit's official website.

Van Damme has previous Premier League experience having spent the 2004/05 season with Southampton.

He joins Wolves having helped Anderlecht to the Belgian title, the second time he has done so since joining them from the Saints in May 2006, following a loan spell at German side Werder Bremen.

Van Damme expressed his delight at having completed his move to Molineux and said: "It feels nice to be here with everything now sorted out.

He's older and more experienced than the last time he played in the Premier League and I'm looking forward to working with him

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy

"I saw the last home game with Sunderland and now everything is finalised with my former club so I am happy.

"It's a different challenge for me coming from a team at the top of the table but, with all due respect to the Belgian league, there's a big difference between that one and the Premier League.

"I think Wolves is a warm and friendly club. There is potential here as well. I have a lot of ambition and I want to succeed here."

McCarthy added: "Jelle is a versatile defender who can play in several different positions and also boasts Champions League experience with Anderlecht and 22 international caps with Belgium.

"Playing in the Premier League is going to be a new challenge but from talking to him it's one he is clearly looking forward to and relishing.

"There were other clubs who were keen to sign him but we were able to get in early and register our interest and get the deal done.


"It's also a big advantage that he will be able to come in and spend all pre-season training with the squad and hopefully that will give him plenty of time to get settled in.

"He's older and more experienced than the last time he played in the Premier League and I'm looking forward to working with him."

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey praised Van Damme's commitment to sealing the move.

"The most pleasing thing about this deal is that from the first time we spoke to the player he really wanted to come," explained Moxey.

"From that moment he never wavered, even with lots of interest from other clubs, and that showed us his commitment to wanting to join Wolves.

"We're delighted to have him here and are sure he will prove an excellent addition to the squad."

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Skrtel makes final Slovakia squad


Watch highlights of Slovakia's World Cup qualifying campaign

Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss has gambled on the fitness of four players, including Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, in his 23-man World Cup squad.

Skrtel, who has been out with a broken metatarsal since February, came through Saturday's 1-1 draw against Cameroon.

Captain Martin Hamsik also played but Filip Holosko and Robert Vittek, who are in the squad, sat out the friendly.

Slovakia's most experienced player, Mainz midfielder Miroslav Karhan, 33, is out with an Achilles injury.

Weiss admitted he has taken a gamble on Turkish-based strike duo Holosko and Vittek.

Holosko, who broke his leg last year, was not able to train with the team until Monday, while Vittek has been struggling with a knee injury.


"It was a tough decision. Holosko isn't 100% fit. Or, he may be fit but we don't know what to expect in a real match. It's the same with Vittek. We'll see in the next few days," said Weiss.

Leeds United defender Lubomir Michalik was cut from the initial 29-man squad, but West Brom's Marek Cech and the coach's son, Man City midfielder Vladimir Weiss, who ended last season on loan at Bolton, were named in the squad.

Chelsea youngster Miroslav Stoch was also included, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder having enjoyed a successful loan spell at FC Twente, scoring 12 goals as he helped them win the Dutch title.


Slovakia booked their place at the World Cup finals for the first time after topping European qualifying group three.

They have been drawn in Group F for the finals in South Africa and will take on New Zealand, Paraguay and defending champion Italy in South Africa.

Slovakia Squad:

Goalkeepers: Jan Mucha (Legia Warsaw), Dusan Kuciak (Vaslui), Dusan Pernis (Dundee United);

Defenders: Peter Pekarik (Wolfsburg), Martin Petras (Cesena), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Jan Durica (Hannover), Radoslav Zabavnik (Mainz), Marek Cech (West Brom), Kornel Salate (Slovan Bratislava).

Midfielders: Kamil Kopunek (Spartak Trnava), Jan Kozak (Timisoara), Juraj Kucka (Sparta Prague), Marek Sapara (Ankaragucu), Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Vladimir Weiss (Manchester City), Miroslav Stoch (Chelsea), Zdeno Strba (Xanthi);

Forwards: Erik Jendrisek (Schalke), Robert Vittek (Ankaragucu), Martin Jakubko (Saturn Moscow), Filip Holosko (Besiktas), Stanislav Sestak (Bochum).

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St Nicholas Abbey to miss Derby

Investec Derby meeting, Epsom 4-5 June
Coverage: BBC TV, 5 live and BBC Sport website

St Nicholas Abbey winning the Racing Post Trophy in October 2009
St Nicholas Abbbey left his rivals trailing in the 2009 Racing Post Trophy

Long-time favourite St Nicholas Abbey will miss the Epsom Derby on Saturday because of a "slight muscle injury".

The colt, trained by Aidan O'Brien, had been market leader for seven months but was ousted as favourite on Friday by stablemate Jan Vermeer.

Bookmakers estimate his absence is a £3m blow for ante-post punters, whose bets will be regarded as lost.

"We always thought St Nicholas Abbey could walk on water and it is very unfortunate," said O'Brien.

St Nicholas Abbey was one of six entries from 15 confirmations left in the Classic field on Monday.

As a two-year-old, he was a brilliant winner of the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, which extended his unbeaten juvenile record to three races.


He returned to the track last month in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, in which he finished sixth behind Makfi.

O'Brien still holds a strong hand at Epsom, however, with new favourite Jan Vermeer, the winner of the Gallinule Stakes.

The Ballydoyle trainer also has Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Midas Touch and Dante Stakes victor Cape Blanco, along with likely pacemakers At First Sight and Bright Horizon.

Derby odds: 13-8 Jan Vermeer (from 7-4), 11-2 Workforce (from 6), 6-1 Midas Touch (from 7), Bullet Train (from 8), 9-1 Rewilding, 12-1 Azmeel, Cape Blanco, 20-1 Coordinated Cut, 25-1 Al Zir, 40-1 Ted Spread, 66-1 Buzzword, Hot Prospect 150-1 At First Sight, 200-1 Bright Horizon (William Hill 0930 BST, Tuesday)

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Live text - World Cup squad news

BBC World Cup coverage kicks off

BBC World Cup coverage kicks off


To get involved, use 606 or text us your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all comments can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate)

By Jonathan Stevenson

From Chris in Brighton, via text to 81111: "Walcott under-performed in the friendlies, plus Wright-Phillips was played on the left against Japan, so I reckon SWP will make it with Huddlestone to miss out. I have World Cup fever so much it hurts."

0944: There's our daily World Cup 2010 round-up for your delectation as well, including Tom Cruise (some actor fella, not the young Arsenal left-back) suggesting his best mate David Beckham will be playing at the next World Cup. When he's 39 years of age. You've got to love that guy.

0940: The three goalkeepers aren't up for discussion - they will be David James, Rob Green and Joe Hart. Quite who the number one will be in SA is anyone's guess, though. Here's 125-cap legend Peter Shilton with his thoughts: "Robert Green deserves a chance. I would think he has his nose in front. He has matured over the last year and made some great saves in the friendly against Mexico." Job done.

From Bboy on 606: "Am I the only one thinking Capello may spring a surprise by including someone not in the original 30? My best bet is that the poor defensive display by Glen Johnson coupled with the neutered attacking display by Jamie Carragher has got him worried about his right-back options. Neville or Brown, anyone?"

0933: If you manually refresh your page (come on, you've had three whole days off), you'll see the BBC's trailer for the World Cup at the top. Now if that doesn't get you in the mood...

0930: Stevo's Predo:
Michael Dawson, Stephen Warnock, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnson, Darren Bent.

From TTBADGER on Twitter: "I remember crying my eyes out in 1998 when I heard the news Gazza wasn't included in the squad."

From Pete in Croydon, via text to 81111: "What are you going to do if Fabio waits until 3 o'clock?"
Look increasingly ridiculous?

0921: Quite a bit of paper chat that Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock, despite not playing a single minute in England's two friendlies, is set to get the nod ahead of Everton's Leighton Baines as left-back cover for Ashley Cole. Can't say I agree with that, but it probably won't make too much difference.

0917: Unless you want me to sit here like a lemon all day (it's been known), I suggest you chuck your two pennies worth into the mixer. You know how: get thumbing to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide); smash us a tweet @Stevo_football and get involved in the debate on 606. Easy now.

0912: So, of the 30 men that were together with England for the last couple of weeks or so, seven are going to get ditched today via a telephone call from Fabio Capello. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought players always found out stuff like this on Ceefax.

0907: Non-sport has never been more tense. Exciting, isn't it? Though probably not for Gareth Barry.

0900: Right now, Gareth Barry's World Cup future hangs in the balance. The Manchester City midfielder is expected to start a fitness test that will determine whether he can be part of Fabio Capello's 23-man England squad that travels to South Africa for the greatest tournament on earth. Sometime after, though we don't know exactly when, we will know the names of the chosen ones.

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Gatland poised to name Wales team

Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 5 June Kick-off: 1430 BST
Coverage: Exclusively live on BBC TWO Wales & online, full commentary on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru & online, score updates on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website

Wales coach Warren Gatland
Coach Warren Gatland wants Wales to take their chance against South Africa

Warren Gatland names his Wales team on Tuesday to face South Africa in Cardiff in the first of three summer Tests.

The coach is without the injured James Hook (shoulder) and Gethin Jenkins (calf) but Andy Powell could return to the back row for Saturday's clash.

Wing Leigh Halfpenny could return with flanker Sam Warburton tipped to start.

Jonathan Davies and Andrew Bishop are contenders at centre, while Ospreys prop Paul James and the Blues' John Yapp are battling to replace Jenkins.

After taking on the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium, Wales travel to New Zealand for two Tests in a programme Gatland believes will determine his squad's fitness for next year's World Cup.

If we're going to do well then we need to physically match the top teams in the world

Warren Gatland

"We will know where we are physically after this summer," said the New Zealander.

"One thing we have prioritised over the last few years is our physicality, probably to the detriment of our individual skills and game.

"If we're going to do well then we need to physically match the top teams in the world.

"We've done a huge amount over the past couple of years and I think we've made significant progress. We saw that with the Welsh boys on the Lions tour.

"The All Blacks coaches told me last autumn they expected us to fall away significantly in the second half, but they were surprised at how well we finished.

"We were virtually camped on their line for the final 10 minutes.

"We have got one of the most physical pools in the World Cup. But if we come out of that, we will be in good shape.

"That's why this summer is the start of our preparations. We're trying to replicate things in these three games.

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton could start in the Wales back row against South Africa

"The first game at the World Cup will be massive against South Africa, then we have two physical games in Samoa and Fiji, as we have this summer with New Zealand.

"Hopefully that will be similar to the World Cup."

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers has named a team that includes five Europe-based starters given the chance to press claims for 2011 World Cup places.

He has also recalled scrum-half Ricky Januarie, who spent three months with the Ospreys during their Magners League-winning season.

But Gatland says no-one should be fooled by the absence of global stars such as Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana from the visitors' line-up.

Wales have beaten South Africa only once - in the Millennium Stadium's opening game in 1999 - and Gatland said: "It's a great chance for us. They've got world class and World Cup players.

"We've felt against South Africa we've had a couple of opportunities in recent years and we haven't quite taken them.

"And if we can get a full house in the Millennium Stadium in June, a great day with the sun out we can go out and play some positive rugby.

"Ten or 11 years ago, no-one talks about the fact that South Africa left 10 or 11 players at home on that occasion when Wales won.

"So for us, I don't care who we're playing against in terms of individuals - we just want to win.

"And if we can win against South Africa it gives us great confidence going on tour [to New Zealand]."


Injuries ruled out Hook and Luke Charteris while Gatland rested Martyn Williams and Dwayne Peel.

They joined Jenkins, Duncan Jones, Richard Hibbard, Dafydd Jones, Dan Lydiate, Gareth Cooper, Tom Shanklin, Tom James and Mark Jones on the sidelines, while Gareth Delve was not considered.

Those absentees apart, coach Gatland named his strongest available squad for the three Tests.

Ryan Jones leads a party including Stephen Jones, Adam Jones and Shane Williams, who have all had a long season in the wake of last summer's British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

Powell also returns after he was removed from the Wales squad following an incident in which he was over the drink-drive limit while driving golf buggy along the M4 motorway during the Six Nations.

Halfpenny's return would be at the expense of Ospreys teenager Tom Prydie, who made his debut against Italy in the Six Nations.

After welcoming the Lions conquerors and world champion Springboks on 5 June, Wales fly to New Zealand where they face the All Blacks in Dunedin (19 June) and Hamilton (26 June).

Wales squad for June Tests:

Forwards: Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones, Andy Powell, Sam Warburton, John Yapp (all Cardiff Blues), Huw Bennett, Paul James, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Craig Mitchell (all Ospreys), Rob McCusker, Ken Owens, Matthew Rees (all Scarlets).

Backs: Leigh Halfpenny, Richie Rees, Jamie Roberts (all Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop, Lee Byrne, Mike Phillips, Tom Prydie, Shane Williams (all Ospreys), Jonathan Davies, Stephen Jones, Tavis Knoyle (all Scarlets).

Standby list (to train with the squad in the UK and cover injuries for the New Zealand tour):

Blues: Scott Andrews, Chris Czekaj, Rhys Thomas.

Ospreys: Ian Gough.

Scarlets: Martin Roberts.

Dragons: Will Harries, Gavin Thomas, Jason Tovey.

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Tuesday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


1037 BST: Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has suggested that Inter Milan will make a move for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres if their own forward Diego Milito is lured to Real Madrid by Jose Mourinho.
Full story:

1035 BST: Belgium Under-21 goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has agreed to join Sunderland, according to his agent. "It is now up to the clubs to find an agreement as quickly as possible," Nico Vaesen told the Journal. (Press Association)


Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has dismissed speculation linking striker Emmanuel Adebayor with a summer move from Eastlands.
Full story:

Spanish giants Barcelona remain confident of signing Arsenal captain and midfielder Cesc Fabregas this summer. "We are working on it," said Barca president Joan Laporta, whose club are believed to be willing to offer £30m for the player, with the Gunners reportedly holding out for more than double that amount.
Full story: The Sun

Arsenal are reportedly interested in Bordeaux midfielder Yoann Gourcuff as a replacement for Fabregas should the Spaniard leave the Emirates. However, the Gunners would face competition for the Frenchman's signature from Lyon.
Full story:

Manchester United are ready to make an audacious swoop to sign Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta, who is struggling to make progress with the Merseyside club over an extension to his contract, which has two years still to run.
Full story: The Daily Mirror

Manager Tony Pulis is set to smash Stoke's transfer record with a £12m offer for West Ham striker Carlton Cole.
Full story: The Daily Mirror

West Brom expect to complete the signing of the Spanish centre-back Pablo Ibanez on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
Full story: The Daily Mail

The Baggies are also set to bank about £3m from midfielder Jonathan Greening completing his move to Fulham, where he spent last season on loan.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Liverpool hope to deter Chelsea from making a move for winger Yossi Benayoun by demanding £10m for the Israeli.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Arsenal and Tottenham are leading the chase to sign Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole when he becomes a free agent this summer.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Newly promoted Blackpool hope to pip neighbours Preston to the loan signing of Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck and hope the prospect of Premier League football will help lure the 19-year-old.
Full story: The Daily Mail


Birmingham have abandoned efforts to sign Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia but Blues are interested in Celtic's Aiden McGeady and Hull's Stephen Hunt, who is also a £3m target for Wolves, West Ham and West Brom.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is chasing Colombian namesake striker Jackson Martinez, who he hopes to team up with fellow countryman Hugo Rodallega at the DW Stadium.
Full story: The Daily Mirror

Portsmouth defender Nadir Belhadj could reject the chance to join West Ham in favour of a lucrative move to Qatar, with Al-Sadd interested in signing the Algeria international.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Leeds are hoping to hijack Wigan's £800,000 move for Hamilton midfielder James McArthur by tabling a £1m plus add-ons bid of their own.
Full story: The Daily Mail

But Wigan have moved ahead of Sunderland in the race to sign Estudiantes striker Mauro Boselli by increasing their bid beyond the £6m offered by the Black Cats for the Argentina international.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Southampton boss Alan Pardew is lining up a double swoop for midfielders Brian Stock of Doncaster and Bristol Rovers' Chris Lines.
Full story: The Daily Mirror


Aston Villa full-back Stephen Warnock could be a shock inclusion in England's final 23-man squad for the World Cup at the expense of Everton left-back Leighton Baines.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is wanted by ambitious Dubai club Al-Ahli as they spearhead grand plans to overhaul football in the Middle East.
Full story: The Daily Mail

Inter Milan have made the first move in an attempt to convince Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez to switch to the San Siro to replace Jose Mourinho, who was yesterday unveiled as Real Madrid boss.
Full story: The Sun

Notts County are lining up Bradford boss Peter Taylor to succeed Steve Cotterill at Meadow Lane.
Full story: The Daily Mirror


Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra believes his Algeria side have the full backing of Scotland when they face England in the group stages of the World Cup this summer. "Everywhere I go in Glasgow people stop me and tell me to beat England," said Bougherra.
Full story: The Sun

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LTA targets expose lack of talent

French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Date: 23 May-6 June
Live video streamed from 1000 BST on BBC Sport website (UK only) and BBC red button; commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra; also live on Eurosport; text commentary on BBC Sport website Details of BBC coverage

Andy Murray
Murray could be Britain's only leading tennis star for some time yet

By Jonathan Overend
BBC Radio 5 live at Roland Garros

Great Britain is not expected to have another male tennis player inside the world's top 100 for at least two years, according to LTA projections.

BBC Sport understands that official targets, circulated internally at the LTA, are for one man and four women to be inside the top 100 by September 2012.

With Andy Murray a fixture inside the top 10, a forecast that says the world number four will not be joined by another Briton is a stark illustration of the dearth of talent in British men's tennis.

But by September 2016, the projections change dramatically. The aim is to have four British men in the ATP top 100, four women in the WTA top 100, and places in the World Group of both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup.


The LTA has defended its decision to set "realistic" targets.

"The general principle of goal setting is that you should neither aim too low and neither too high," says LTA player director Steven Martens.

"We don't have too many [male] players aged 22 or 23 at the moment. We've got a few, and they do have a shot in the next two years to make the top 100.

"But I think it's tough. It's going to be a strong challenge for them, not impossible but no guarantee.

"That's why we have to give them the motivation as well as the financial backing in the right way."

Former head of men's tennis Mark Petchey, who walked out of the LTA in 2006, has a different view.

"It's a very negative message," he says. "It makes you question their strategy in terms of what they've done for the players. If you don't really believe that they're going to become top-100 players then why are you helping them?"

Those British male players closest to breaking into the elite are Alex Bogdanovic (ranked 160), Jamie Baker at number 257, Josh Goodhall, ranked 306, with Daniel Evans at number 337.

Martens believes that without support from the governing body, many of the current crop of British players would be forced to retire, such are the costs of professional tennis.

Andy Murray

Highlights - Murray crashes out of French Open

At the end of 2009, Britain had four top-100 singles players - Murray, Katie O'Brien, Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong.

The latest figures, seen by BBC Sport, detail the steady progression the LTA intends to make in terms of average rankings, top-100 players and levels of the Davis Cup.

The target for September 2010 is to have three top-100 players (one man, two women) and an average top-five ranking of 160 for men, 113 for women.

For 2011, the estimate is four top-100 players (one man, three women) with an average top-five rankings of 150 and 103.

Five top-100 players is the target for September 2012 (still only one man, four women) with the top-five ranking averaging at 140 for men, 93 for women.

If four British men are to break into the ATP top 100, the hopes of the LTA could be resting heavily on the likes of Ashley Hewitt and Oliver Golding.

Hewitt, an 18-year-old from Warrington, reached the second round of the French Open boys' singles tournament on Monday, while Golding, a 16-year-old from London, has reached the same stage at Roland Garros and plays on Tuesday.

In terms of projections for the Olympic Games, also contained in the figures we have seen, Britain plans to deliver two tennis medals in London 2012 and two more in Rio 2016.

The projections are made to demonstrate a "performance pathway" under terms of UK Sport funding.

Two years ago UK Sport asked all Olympic sports to sign up to "Mission 2012" to ensure accountability for the investment in high-performance.

Men's head coach Paul Annacone, who coached 14-time Grand Slam winner Pete Sampras and former British number one Tim Henman, will leave his post in November having been recruited in 2006.

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Mokoena wins on landmark game

Aaron Mokoena (left) celebrates with Moeneeb Josephs
Aaron Mokoena (left) was able to enjoy his 100th international cap in style

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Johannesburg

South Africa's penultimate World Cup warm-up unfolded in perfect fashion for Bafana Bafana as they beat Guatemala 5-0 in Polokwane.

The 2010 hosts' best result since their international return in 1992 came on a night of records as captain Aaron Mokoena became the first South African to reach 100 caps.

Two penalties from Katlego Mphela was capped by Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Surprise Moriri and a wonder strike from Bernard Parker.

However, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira urged caution given their opponents' world ranking of 114th while Group A rivals Mexico, Uruguay and France all lie in Fifa's top 20.

"The other team is not one of the best but we made opportunities, scored five and this is good," said a man who will name his World Cup squad on Tuesday morning.

"This was a preparation game and now we are ready for the biggest game against Denmark on Saturday."

As the new Peter Mokaba Stadium staged its first international before the World Cup and Mokoena took to the field wearing the number '100', South Africa played with considerable fluency at times.

But for the second time in five days, they benefited from some fortunate refereeing decisions - as they did when beating Colombia 2-1 on Thursday.

Ten minutes in, referee Chaibou Ibrahim pointed to the spot even though Gustavo Cabrera's questionable handball from Siphiwe Tshabalala's long-range drive came outside the area.

After Mphela converted, the hosts scored a better second as a fine move involving Pienaar and Tshabalala ended with Reneilwe Letsholonyane bursting forward to finish Lucas Thwala's pullback.

Tshabalala could have added a third before the break, but instead substitute Surprise Moriri slotted home Mphela's cross all too easily after 48 minutes.

Moments later, Guatemala received a dubious penalty themselves as TV replays clearly showed Lucas Thwala to have blocked a shot with his chest not arm - but Guillermo Ramirez's effort was easily saved.

Before the hour, the Nigerien referee awarded another debatable penalty after Cabrera was ruled to have handled again, this time from Kagiso Dikgacoi, so allowing Mphela to slot his fifth goal in four games.

Then Pienaar, whose free role behind Mphela worked far better than last Thursday's central midfield experiment, rattled the corner of the woodwork with a curling 25-yard free-kick.

The goal that crowned South Africa's record victory came in perfect fashion as late sub Parker drilled a rising drive into the top corner from the opposite side of the box.

"The way the team is playing, having worked so hard on getting our shape, shows that the coach is doing a great job," said Pienaar, who played all 90 minutes.

The Brazilian coach is unbeaten in 11 matches since taking charge and oversaw Bafana Bafana scoring five goals for the first time in more than 250 internationals since their 1992 return.

Despite a flurry of substitutions, Benni McCarthy never came off the bench on a night that belonged to Mokoena.

"I've played so many games and I've enjoyed every minute," said the Portsmouth man.

South Africa's last friendly before opening the World Cup against Mexico on 11 June comes on Saturday against fellow finalists Denmark in Atteridgeville.

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Injured Bolt out of New York race

Usain Bolt
Bolt has been advised to rest the injury by his doctor

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has withdrawn from the Diamond League meeting in New York on 12 June because of an inflamed Achilles tendon.

The World and Olympic champion was due to face American Tyson Gay at the meeting in a 100m showdown between the world's two fastest men.

But in a statement from event organisers, Bolt said he had developed stiffness in the tendon last week.

He has been advised to take a two-to-three week break by a doctor.

The meet, which will be held at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island, is the fifth of 14 stops on the Diamond League circuit.

Bolt narrowly failed to break Michael Johnson's world record in the 300m at the IAAF World Challenge in Ostrava last week.

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Paraguay name their 30-man squad


Paraguay's World Cup qualifying highlights

Manchester City's Roque Santa Cruz and Paulo Da Silva of Sunderland have been included in Paraguay's 23-man World Cup squad.

Argentina-based quartet Eduardo Ledesma, Marcos Caceres, Marcelo Estigarribia and Jorge Achucarro have been cut by coach Gerardo Martino.

Also missing out are midfielder Sergio Aquino, Osvaldo Martinez and Olimpia defender Julio Manzur.

Manzur was a doubt after struggling with a thigh injury.

Martino told reporters that choosing the squad was not an easy choice to make.

He said: "Building the list is always hard, because you feel you are taking out a very important part of each player.

"Some of the players already knew in their heart that they were going to be excluded. Some others didn't."


Paraguay face a friendly encounter against Greece in Switzerland on Wednesday as part of their warm-up for the tournament in South Africa.

In the World Cup, Paraguay will face reigning champions Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group F.

Also among those included were Borussia Dortmund striker and freshly nationalised Argentine Lucas Barrios.

Barrios, whose mother is Paraguayan, has enjoyed a fine season with Dortmund, as has club mate Nelson Haedo Valdez, who also made the 23.

"I can imagine Paraguay causing some surprises in South Africa," said Barrios, who has scored 18 goals in the Bundesliga this season.

Santa Cruz has had a stop-start season with Manchester City because of a calf injury playing 20 games and scoring only four times since joining the club in June for £18m.

Paraguay squad:

Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Valladolid/ESP), Aldo Bobadilla (Deportivo Independiente de Medellin/COL), Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteno).

Defenders: Claudio Morel Rodriguez (Boca Juniors/ARG), Denis Caniza (Leon/MEX), Paulo da Silva (Sunderland/ENG), Dario Veron (Pumas UNAM/MEX), Julio Cesar Caceres (Atletico Mineiro/BRA), Carlos Bonet (Olimpia), Aureliano Torres (San Lorenzo de Almagro/ARG), Antolin Alcaraz (FC Bruges/BEL).

Midfielders: Edgar Barreto (Atalanta/ITA), Cristian Riveros (Cruz Azul/MEX), Victor Caceres (Libertad), Enrique Vera (Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito/ECU), Jonathan Santana (Wolfsburg/GER), Nestor Ortigoza (Argentinos Juniors/ARG).

Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City/ENG), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Oscar Cardozo (Benfica/POR), Edgar Benitez (Toluca/MEX), Lucas Barrios (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Rodolfo Gamarra (Libertad).

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Valverde given global doping ban

Alejandro Valverde
Valverde is currently ranked the world's number one rider

Spain's Alejandro Valverde has seen his two-year ban extended to cover all worldwide competition.

Valverde, 30, was already banned from racing in Italy after his DNA matched blood containing Erythropoietin (EPO) found at a Madrid clinic in 2006.

The International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make the ban global and have succeeded.

The ban covers two years from 1 January 2010, though his prior results stand.

This is because Cas decided there was no evidence to suggest doping had contributed to Valverde's performances.

However, he will be disqualified from all events this season and asked to reimburse his prize money.

Those results include victory in the Tour de Romandie and second place in the Paris-Nice stage race.

The Caisse d'Epargne rider, ranked number one in the world according to the latest standings released by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Monday, was first banned by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in May 2009.

That decision came when the body's anti-doping tribunal decided the Spaniard was involved in "Operacion Puerto", a case in which more than 50 cyclists were linked to a suspected doping ring centred on a clinic in Madrid.

DNA taken from Valverde during the Italian stage of the 2008 Tour de France matched blood seized in the operation.

Valverde's appeal against the ban, which was only effective in Italy, was rejected in March of this year, after which the UCI announced their intention to have it extended.

Monday's CAS hearing decided the evidence was sufficient to prove the blood seized came from Valverde, and that the sample contained EPO, a prohibited substance.

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Monday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


1730 BST: Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni believes England manager Fabio Capello is keen to take charge of Inter Milan. Trapattoni told Italian TV station RAI's 'GR Parlamento' show: "Inter's next coach? At this time, Capello is the number one candidate. There's no doubt about his wish but it depends on his contract." (Italian TV station RAI)

1527 BST: Edin Dzeko's suitors, of which Manchester City are the most serious according to German newspaper Bild, have until midnight on Monday to take advantage of a get-out clause in the £34m-rated Bosnian striker's Wolfsburg contract.
Full story: Daily Mail

1100 BST:Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has told Sky Italia that he hopes coach Fabio Capello can break his England contract after the World Cup to join the Champions League winners. Moratti also ruled out Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as a possible successor to Real Madrid-bound Jose Mourinho at the San Siro. "I've always thought Rafa Benitez was good but he is tied to Liverpool," he said. (Reuters)


Chelsea have paved the way for midfielder Joe Cole's departure from Stamford Bridge by formalising their interest in Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun.
Full story: The Guardian

Benayoun is confident the move will go through and claimed that Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti "wants me for next season". (The Daily Telegraph)

Rangers are still waiting to see if Liverpool will make an improved offer for 18-year-old defender Danny Wilson after the Ibrox club rejected an initial £2m bid from the Reds.
Full story: Daily Mail

Blackburn are considering a swoop for Rangers striker Kris Boyd, who is set to leave the Scottish Premier League champions as a free agent.
Full story: The Sun

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is reportedly interested in signing £12m-rated teenage Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic.
Full story:

And the Red Devils have contacted Brazilian side Santos about the possibility of taking 20-year-old midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso to Old Trafford.
Full story: Daily Mail

Arsenal have joined Aston Villa in the battle to sign Wigan's Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega, who the Latics value at £10m.
Full story: Daily Mirror

The Gunners have made an inquiry about the possibility of signing England midfielder Joe Cole from Chelsea. The Stamford Bridge outfit, meanwhile, remain interested in acquiring Shakhtar Donetsk's £15m-rated Croatian right-back Darijo Srna.
Full story: Daily Mail

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is also targeting Ajax's 22-year-old right-back Gregory van der Wiel, the young player of the year in the Netherlands, because out-of-favour Habib Beye and Luke Young, who is eyeing a move to West Ham, are set to leave Villa Park this summer.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Villa and Sunderland have joined Birmingham in the race to sign Fulham striker Bobby Zamora. (The Sun)

Neil Lennon will be promoted from interim boss to permanent manager at Celtic on Tuesday and will immediately set his sights on acquiring Hull playmaker Jimmy Bullard, Cardiff's midfielder Joe Ledley and Stoke wide man Liam Lawrence.(Daily Record)

Paddy McCourt, though, may be on his way out of Parkhead, with Premier League new boys Blackpool interested in the 26-year-old Northern Ireland midfielder.
Full story: The Sun

Barcelona will renew their chase of Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano. However, their big-money pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas could scupper their plans to sign the Argentine, who the Reds value at close to £30m.
Full story: Daily Mail

Bordeaux ace Yoann Gourcuff, France's first-choice playmaker in the World Cup, is being lined up as a £21.8m replacement for Fabregas at the Emirates.
Full story: The Sun

Manchester City are considering a move for 21-year-old Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez, who made his senior debut for Spain in their 3-2 World Cup warm-up victory over Saudi Arabia in Austria on Saturday.
Full story: Daily Mail

Fulham could snap up versatile Hungarian international midfielder Daniel Tozser from Belgian club Racing Genk for about £2.5m.
Full story: Daily Mail

Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, 19, is a £1m target for French team St Etienne. (The Sun)


Former Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate and ex-Milton Keynes Dons boss Paul Ince are both in contention for the managerial vacancies at Portsmouth and Notts County.
Full story: Daily Mail

Russia's 2018 World Cup bid chief Alexei Sorokin has branded fans of rival bidders England "the utmost hooligans". In the wake of ex-Football Association chairman Lord Triesman's controversial claims that Russia was involved in bribing referees, Sorokin said his bid team "are in a state of information war" with England.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti will make a formal approach to Fabio Capello's representatives on Monday, just as the FA holds emergency talks with the England manager in a bid to shore up the Italian's future.
Full story: Daily Mail

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni claims he turned down the chance to become Celtic boss three months ago. (Daily Express)


Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is keen to retain penalty-taking duties for England, despite missing from the spot against Japan on Sunday.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Millwall chairman John Berylson has revealed his debt of gratitude to former Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, who convinced Kenny Jackett, the man who guided the Bermondsey side to promotion to the Championship, to become Lions manager when the pair were working together at Eastlands.
Full story: Daily Mirror

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Strauss hails Finn after victory


'Rusty' Strauss eyes improvement

Captain Andrew Strauss hailed the performance of man of the match Steven Finn following his nine-wicket haul for England against Bangladesh at Lord's.

England wrapped up an eight-wicket victory on Monday in the first of a two-Test series against the tourists.

"Steven Finn has been bowling like that all season, he got more out of the wicket than our other bowlers and has a big future," Strauss told BBC Sport.

"We are very excited but we don't want to big him up too much at this stage."

Finn, making his first Test appearance at Lord's, took 4-100 in the first innings as England reduced Bangladesh to 282 in reply to England's 505.

And the Middlesex bowler bettered those figures with 5-87 as Bangladesh were forced to follow on, with the Tigers reaching 382.

Strauss was quick to praise the 21-year-old but warned the young bowler to remain grounded following his fine performance.

"If he stays on his feet he can go far," said Strauss.


"He is a nice man, very confident, good to have in the dressing room and has a good cricketing brain, which is useful. He bowled very well and hit the deck very hard."

Strauss was pleased that England managed to get the series off to a winning start, although admitted that improvements would have to be made ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford, which starts on Friday.

England's captain celebrated his return to the side with two innings of 83 and 82 having missed the winter tour of Bangladesh.

"We had to work very hard for that victory, our bowling got better as the game went on and ultimately it was about graft but we weren't as good as we should have been in this game," conceded Strauss.

"It was nice to get over the line, it was a hard Test match, if I'm honest. It was nice to come out and win but it wasn't the best Test match I've played in from our point of view.

"We talked about finding ways to take wickets when the pitch wasn't doing much and at times we did that well and at times we didn't. Ultimately, we've won the Test match but we need to make sure we carry on going forward."

Finn delighted with nine wickets

For Finn, the match helped him realise a boyhood dream - playing Test cricket at his home ground of Lord's.

"It was great to be playing in a Test match at Lord's, it's something I've always dreamed off since I was young and it's nice to have finally done it," Finn told Test Match Special.

"I'm always looking up at the honours board at Middlesex and it's nice to finally be on there [after taking five wickets].

"I've bowled a lot of cricket here recently and I seem to have found some rhythm."

But despite his man-of-the-match performance, Finn is determined not to get carried away, knowing that he was only filling in for the rested Stuart Broad.

I'm a seamer down the pecking order and I need to put in consistent performances

Steven Finn

"I haven't done myself any harm [in terms of the pecking order] but I'm not kidding myself, I'm in the team because Stuart Broad is being rested. I'm just one of a number of bowlers," stated Finn.

"I'm a seamer down the pecking order and I need to put in consistent performances and see where that takes me."

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan was disappointed his side had not been able to bat longer on Monday morning, adding only 54 runs after they started the day with five second-innings wickets still in hand.

"We lost too may wickets in the morning session," said Shakib. "If we had lost one or two wickets we could have batted another hour or two after lunch and got a draw.

"Our top order batted really well, there were plenty of short balls but they stuck to their job. Our bowlers need to get the ball in the right areas and put the batsman under pressure. They need to work hard and practice."

Shakib also paid tribute to opener Tamim Iqbal, who thrilled the crowd with his aggressive stroke play as he made 103 from only 100 balls in the second innings.

"Tamim was exceptional throughout the game," added the skipper. "He played very well."

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Monday's World Cup 2010 round-up

Anthony Reveillere, Thierry Henry, Mathieu Valbuena, and Djibril Cisse (left to right)
Henry (second from left) has scored 51 goals for France

Thierry Henry is preparing to start France's World Cup games on the bench - a role which he says he is content with.

The Barcelona striker, 32, has been used as a second-half substitute for Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka in France's last two friendly matches - Sunday's 1-1 draw with Tunisia and Wednesday's 2-1 win over Costa Rica.

"As I've often said, the most important thing is the team," Henry told L'Equipe. "I try to come on and to give something, give some movement when I'm called on.

"We're not here to know who will play and who won't play. No-one is above the team, we're all in this to go as far as we can together."

Former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit has thrown his hat into the ring as a possible successor to Australia coach when Pim Verbeek.

Verbeek revealed in March that he will leave his Socceroos post after the World Cup finals, and Dutchman Gullit, who won 66 caps for his country, admitted the lure of coaching in the sun was tempting.

"Of course I would consider it," said Gullit. "I love Australia, I've been to Sydney."

"What I like about Australia is the people are very sport-minded, very much, they love it. And of course the temperature is nice, the environment is nice."

Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson insisted he remained "very confident" in his team despite seeing them relinquish a two-goal lead in his first game in charge - a 2-2 friendly draw against Paraguay.

Goals from Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Hibernian defender Souleymane Bamba put the Africans 2-0 up with only 15 minutes of the game remaining in Evians-les-Bains, south-eastern France.

Didier Drogba
Drogba celebrates scoring his side's opener in the 2-2 draw with Paraguay

However, substitute Lucas Barrios, of Borussia Dortmund, cut the deficit before Aureliano Torres, of Argentine club San Lorenzo, snatched a last-gasp draw for the South Americans, who will face Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group F in South Africa.

"From what I've seen in training and during one hour today, I'm very confident," said Eriksson, who has spent only one week with his squad since succeeding Vahid Halilhodzic in the job in March.

"It's all about organisation, to defend well together, to attack well together and we're working every day on that, and hopefully it will get better and better," added the Swede.

South Korea will be without Kwak Tae-hwi for the World Cup finals after the defender twisted knee ligaments in Sunday's 1-0 friendly defeat to Belarus in Austria.

Coach Huh Jung-moo is set to call up either Suwon Bluewings defender Kang Min-soo or Hwang Jae-won, of Asian champions Pohang Steelers, as a replacement for the 28-year-old Kyoto Sanga player.

South Korea complete their preparations against Spain in Innsbruck on Thursday ahead of their opening game against Greece in Group B on 12 June.

Australian midfielder Brett Emerton returned to full training on Sunday after shaking off the calf injury that has hampered his World Cup preparations.

But the Socceroos may decide not to risk the 31-year-old Blackburn player in Tuesday's friendly against Denmark in Johannesburg, while Galatasaray's Harry Kewell is also likely to sit out that game with a groin strain.

Coach Pim Verbeek remains hopeful former Liverpool attacker Kewell will be available for the Aussies' Group D opener against Germany on 13 June.

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, meanwhile, has recovered from the thumb sprain that kept him out of last Monday's 2-1 victory over New Zealand in Melbourne.

Portugal have been boosted by the news that defender Pepe has been cleared to play in South Africa by medical staff at his club, Real Madrid.

The 27-year-old centre-back has not played since twisting his right knee in a La Liga game in December.

Spain midfielder Xavi has echoed team-mate Iker Casillas's concerns over the official World Cup match ball, the 'Jabulani'.

"This is a ball you have to get used to," said the Barcelona star. "It's true that it is really fast. But we have to adjust as quickly as possible."

And Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas renewed his criticism of the Adidas product, saying: "It's sad that an event as important as the World Cup has such a rotten ball."

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England beat Bangladesh at Lord's

First Test, Lord's (day five):
England 505 & 163-2 bt Bangladesh 282 & 382 by eight wickets
Match scorecard

Jonathan Trott
After his first innings double century it was appropriate that Trott hit the winning runs

By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Lord's

England wrapped up an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh on the final day of the first Test at Lord's.

They made up for some insipid bowling with Steven Finn moving inexorably closer to obtaining his visa for the Ashes tour to Australia this winter by taking three more wickets.

It was an innings return of 5-87, his maiden Test five-for, and the Middlesex bowler ended with impressive match figures of 9-187 on his county ground.

Captain Andrew Strauss hit 82 as England reached a winning score of 163-2 in the last over before tea.

Bangladesh were able to add only 54 to their overnight 328-5 when Finn's three incisions were topped up by a couple of Tim Bresnan wickets on the stroke of lunch.

England, who had been in the field since the middle of Friday, needed just 160 to win in two sessions.

To make the task even easier for openers Strauss and Alastair Cook, the blanket of cloud that had assisted England's bowlers in the morning quickly gave way to a period of unbroken sunshine.

And as Bangladesh bowled poorly with the new ball, Strauss was quickly into his stride, racing to 23 from the first three overs with some sure-footed cuts and pulls.

A match that had been so well set up for Bangladesh late on day four - when they were in position to avoid defeat for the first time in seven Tests against England - was over as a meaningful contest.

All the same, Strauss was dropped at slip by Junaid Siddique off Mahmudullah - though the bowler had his reward when trapping Cook lbw for 23.


Though the clouds returned, Bangladesh stuck doggedly to spin. And after a brief period of consolidation it was easy for Strauss and Jonathan Trott.

That was until Strauss nicked an attempted cut off Shakib Al Hasan with just 13 more needed. Trott finished off the job with a boundary through square leg and Kevin Pietersen ended unbeaten on 10.

More than 9,000 spectators had resisted the urge to attend their local DIY store on Bank Holiday Monday, making a beeline for London NW8 instead.

The influx of fans surprised the MCC, which had opened just one gate. But with hundreds still locked outside several overs in, it re-directed those at the back of the queues to the Grace Gates.

On an unpleasantly cool morning, Finn was the most eye-catching performer.

Intelligently assessing that accuracy was the most important asset with the cloud cover aiding sideways movement, Finn cut back a little on his pace.

That allowed him to send down eight overs from his favoured Pavilion End in a single spell, and he struck in his fifth, sixth and seventh overs, returning 3-21.

Shakib, having played some ugly shots, finally middled a cut to a rare poor ball from Finn only to pick out Eoin Morgan at backward point, for his first Test catch.

Siddique's patient innings came to an end when he mistimed a drive, hitting a catch to mid-off. He had added just eight runs to his overnight 66 in 50 minutes.

Bangladesh were not scoring enough runs to frighten England, and Finn's final wicket came from a beautiful outswinger going up the hill which Mushfiqur Rahim compliantly nicked to Matt Prior.

The ninth-wicket stand lasted three-quarters of an hour, and James Anderson, swinging the ball both ways at pace, had no luck.

Instead, the generally less impressive Bresnan enticed outside edges from Rubel Hossain and Mahmudullah and England could finally turn their attentions to batting once again.

But before the chase could begin, the MCC took the rare decision to allow all the spectators a rare chance to wander around the famous outfield during the lunch break.

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