Costa told to choose
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque says it’s up to Diego Costa to decide if he wants to play for his adopted country or his native Brazil. Del Bosque says “we have done everything we need to, now it’s the player’s personal decision,” while adding that even though the Spanish federation had “reached an agreement” with Diego Costa “it wasn’t decisive.” Diego Costa has helped Atletico Madrid to a club record start of eight straight victories with his league-leading 10 goals. He has said that if called up he would be willing to play for Spain, who will seek to defend their world title next year in Brazil at the World Cup. Diego Costa holds a Spanish passport and has never played for Brazil, so he is eligible to play for Spain.
Japan coach to miss game
Japan head coach Eddie Jones will miss the upcoming game against the All Blacks following a stroke which has left him with mobility difficulties, the Japan Rugby Football Union said yesterday. The 53-year-old Australian has developed minor difficulties moving his left limbs after suffering a stroke earlier this week. Although he can talk and has left intensive care, he will nonetheless miss out on his squad’s Test against the All Blacks in Tokyo on Nov. 2, the national rugby body said in a statement. He was hospitalized on Tuesday night after complaining of a headache following a flight back to Tokyo from an inspection of the Brave Blossoms’ domestic training camp. Jones was released from the intensive care unit of the hospital, but will require further check-ups, the union said. “I feel sorry for causing such worries at an important time as we prepare for a game against All Blacks and a tour,” he said in a Japanese-language statement released by the union. While he focuses on his health, the Japanese squad will be coached by Scott Wisemantel, a former Wallabies skills coach who serves as a technical adviser for the Japan squad, the union said.
Hedblom leads in Perth
Sweden’s Peter Hedblom was the halfway leader of the Perth International yesterday as he sought to win the final tournament on the European Tour to retain his tour card for next season. Hedblom, who shared in a four-way lead after the opening 18 holes, fired a three-under 69 to claim the outright lead at seven-under 137. The Swede was two shots clear of Englishman Ross Fisher, who carded the lowest round of the day shooting five-under 67. While England’s Paul Casey missed the cut, Hedblom was dreaming of a fairy-tale win in the US$2 million Perth tournament at Lake Karrinyup. Casey, a 12-time winner on the European Tour, missed the cut by one stroke after finishing his second round at three-over. The next two days will be make-or-break for Hedblom, who needs to win the tournament to retain his European Tour card for next year. “I don’t really have anything to lose. If I want to play another full year on Tour, I need to win,” Hedblom said. “So I just have to go for it and have fun. I think I’m better when I’m up in the lead rather than trying to shoot a low score to try to get into the lead,” he said. Denmark’s Soren Hansen (71-69) was among five players at four-under 140, while world No. 21 Dustin Johnson of the US was six shots off the pace after a two-over 74. US defending champion Bo van Pelt was at three-under for the tournament. Fisher’s highlight of the round was a 20m chip-in from the bunker on the par-three eighth.