Mancienne gets surprise call
David Beckham has been axed from Fabio Capello’s 23-man England squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Germany in Berlin, while there was a surprise call-up for Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne. Capello left out Beckham because the LA Galaxy midfielder hasn’t played since the Major League season ended on Oct. 26. Beckham is due to join AC Milan on loan in January and could get the chance to equal Bobby Moore’s tally of 108 caps in England’s next friendly against Spain in February. Mancienne, 20, is yet to play a game for Chelsea, but Capello has been impressed by his performances on loan for Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers and the England Under-21 team. Uncapped Aston Villa duo Gabriel Agbonlahor and Curtis Davies are also included, as is John Terry, even though the England captain was scheduled to have a scan on a foot injury he suffered in Chelsea’s 3-0 win at West Bromich Albion on Saturday. There were also recalls for in-form Tottenham Hotspur striker Darren Bent and Manchester City pair Micah Richards and Joe Hart. Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney were absent after missing Manchester United’s win over Stoke City with injuries.
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North Korea win World Cup
North Korea beat the US 2-1 in extra time to win the FIFA under-17 women’s World Cup yesterday. The US took the lead after just two minutes when a long throw-in bounced awkwardly in front of the North Korean goal, struck defender Hong Myong-hui and looped over the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms into the net. The Americans’ lead endured until the 77th minute when Kim Un-hyang equalized for North Korea and forced the final into extra time. The first period was scoreless and the North Koreans were running into a strong wind in the second when Jang Hyon-sun struck the winner, preserving North Korea’s unbeaten record through six matches at the tournament. North Korea’s win was their first ever women’s World Cup title at under-17 level and adds to the under-20 title they won two years ago. Pre-tournament favorites Germany beat England 3-0 in the playoff for third place.
Lorient rally to beat Marseille
Olympique Marseille threw away a two-goal lead as they lost 3-2 at home to Ligue 1 strugglers Lorient on Saturday. Marseille stay second with 26 points from 14 matches, four behind leaders Olympique Lyon. Erik Gerets’s side looked set for a straightforward victory when Mamadou Niang added to Karim Ziani’s first-half opener from the penalty spot on the hour, but terrible defending cost them dear. Lorient scored three times in 14 minutes near the end. A bad clearance by the Marseille defense resulted in Morgan Amalfitano scoring from 20m in the 76th minute. Lorient continued to push forward and Fabrice Abriel equalized with a low 25m shot in the 84th minute after a swift counterattack. Three minutes later, Abriel fed striker Kevin Gameiro with a defense-splitting pass and he scored to give Lorient the points. An early double by Andre-Pierre Gignac earned Toulouse a 2-0 home win over promoted Grenoble as the southwestern side moved up to third in the table. Steve Savidan scored seven minutes into the second half as Caen snatched a 1-1 draw at Nancy. Paris St Germain beat Le Havre 3-1 and Alain Perrin, who was hired to revive struggling Saint Etienne last week, saw the scale of the task ahead of him as his team crashed 3-0 at Lille.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the
This year’s Wimbledon Championships have so far survived the cull of the world’s most prestigious sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it seems only a matter of time before they are postponed or canceled. With London in its first week of lockdown, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) officials are weighing up their limited options. The “build” for the June 29 to July 12 championships is supposed to start in little more than a month, but it seems increasingly likely that Wimbledon will be forced to miss a year for the first time since 1945. “The AELTC has been
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson has said that the sport is “fighting for survival” as competitions at all levels are shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Robinson told Sky Sport’s The Breakdown that he cannot say when professional rugby might resume in New Zealand and in what form, whether it would be the five-nation Super Rugby tournament or the domestic Mitre 10 Cup. Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport and the All Blacks, the national men’s team, are one of the country’s most recognizable brands. The continuing suspension of competitions has been fully testing rugby’s resilience, Robinson said. “We’re fighting for sport’s survival in