After a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, it's all to play for going into the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal. Matt Law gives his player-by-player verdict on both sides. Chelsea Thibaut Courtois 7 Unlike Wenger, Conte turned back to his first-choice goalkeeper for this semi-final. Courtois saved well from Iwobi, but the Belgian had virtually nothing to do in the second half. Cesar Azpilicueta 7 Does any other defender provide better delivery into the box? A trademark diagonal ball from Chelsea’s captain for the night was headed at Ospina by Fabregas. Andreas Christensen 6 Fresh from signing a new contract, Christensen was his usual composed self in the heart of the Chelsea defence but missed two good second-half chances with his head. … [Read more...] about Chelsea vs Arsenal: Player ratings from League Cup semi-final first leg stalemate
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If ever there was a time for Paul Pogba to dab and dance, to snapchat and sing to his heart’s content without giving a soul with any sense the opportunity even to tut, this was it. With Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium his stage, he dabbed with president Macron. He dabbed with his mother and brothers on the pitch. He dabbed with an iconic 36.8cm piece of sculpted gold that means everything in football. A world champion, a scorer of a goal that felt result-defining in the final, a fulcrum for his team, a massive personality revered back home, the only thing missing was a hairdresser on hand to create a World Cup-shaped cut to mark this most glorious of moments. With Pogba in his exuberant element – the master of social media filming non-stop in the dressing room, on the bus, encouraging all sorts of celebratory flourishes with his band of World Cup-winning brothers – he felt so central to everything about this French generation. During the course of this tournament his … [Read more...] about From doubted to dominator: Paul Pogba’s World Cup evolution
In the end, the fairytale was not to be. As the clock ticked down to the end of the World Cup final, the disheartened voice of the commentator easily carried over the now silent crowd of tens of thousands who had gathered with so much hope in Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb. As the final whistle blew, and it was confirmed that France had won 4-2, the crowd that had been mostly quiet for the last 10 minutes of the game started clapping. Fans who had gathered in cafes and other viewing spots around town started moving towards the square to join the main crowd as Lijepa Naša, the Croatian anthem, blared out from the big speakers. “We are sad, but second place is still a big deal for Croatia. We’ll all forget about it all once they come home tomorrow,” says Marijana Pereira, a 26-year-old teacher. Earlier, the huge crowd had gathered in Zagreb from all corners of Croatia to watch the big screen in the square. The city of Osijek rented an entire passenger … [Read more...] about Philosophical fans celebrate Croatia’s historic World Cup, despite final defeat
JOE SCHMIDT has coached his final Ireland match - but it wasn't a nice finale. The New Zealander watched on as his six-year reign ended in a 46-14 defeat to his home nation in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final. Former England coach Andy Farrell will take over from Schmidt.What is Joe Schmidt's next job? There are not many bigger jobs in international rugby for Joe Schmidt to move into - and he is swiping those away as well. The 54-year-old New Zealander ruled out taking over the nation of his birth in January and even told that he has no interest in getting another job for 12 months after the World Cup, as reported by The Irish Times. Schmidt has also insisted he would go for the British & Irish Lions role with fellow countryman Warren Gatland retaining the job for the 2021 tour.Rugby World Cup predictor game: £10k prize pot up for grabs1) Come and play our brand new Rugby World Cup game 2) Make pre-tournament and daily predictions to accumulate points 3) Compete for … [Read more...] about What is Joe Schmidt’s next job and why’s he leaving Ireland after Rugby World Cup?
POLYNESIAN pulverisers Manu Tuilagi and Joe Cokanasiga demolished Ireland in a rampaging record win. Samoan-born Tuilagi and Fijian-born Cokanasiga scored three of England's eight tries between them in this Twickenham annihilation. By doing so Eddie Jones' side fired a mammoth World Cup warning around the globe as they humiliated a country who looked like favourites just nine months ago. It was a coming-of-age performance for Cokanasiga, 21, who performed a bare-chested Fijian war dance in a grass skirt at Twickenham back in 2015 before England's opener against his homeland. And having grown up watching Tuilagi terrorise defences, it is no wonder where Jones' latest two-try hero gets his inspiration from. The 6ft 3ins 18 stone Bath winger revealed: "Manu was my idol growing up."When I was 15 I messaged him on Facebook and told him: ‘You’re my idol’. He didn’t respond! "But he told me he saw it. It’s all a dream come true. "Every carry he did today was … [Read more...] about England record rampant win over Ireland as Red Rose put up EIGHT tries in World Cup warm-up