The Breakdown | England’s dilemma: undermine Eddie Jones or risk scramble for a top coach

18-12-2018 Looking for a successor could be a distraction in World Cup year but waiting could mean the talent is snaffled up and Wales and Ireland have already made their moveThe start of the World Cup is nine months away but countries are already thinking about their next coach. Wales are sorted, appointing Wayne Pivac in the summer knowing Warren Gatland would be off after his side’s final match in Japan, as are Ireland, with Andy Farrell to take over from Joe Schmidt.In New Zealand, Steve Hansen is due to announce this evening UK time as to whether he will seek a new contract after the World Cup. Rassie Erasmus has told South Africa he will not be carrying on after Japan, focusing on his director of rugby role instead. Australia’s Michael Cheika may not last that long after taking part in a performance review this month after the Wallabies’ worst year, in terms of results, for 60 years. A decision is expected before Christmas. Continue reading...

Manchester United's next manager must get more from Romelu Lukaku

18-12-2018 The Belgian striker did not have a single shot against Liverpool on Sunday and still has a lot to proveBy Martin Laurence for WhoScoredIt’s official. José Mourinho is no longer the manager of Manchester United, with the club giving him the sack after an abject performance at Anfield on Sunday. While Liverpool required two deflected strikes to overcome their rivals at the weekend, Xherdan Shaqiri’s goals were little more than they deserved. A lack of ambition from the visitors has seen Mourinho’s time as United boss end with the club 11 points off the top four and and a whopping 19 back on Liverpool.It took Jürgen Klopp’s side until the 73rd minute to regain the lead they surrendered after Alisson’s blunder, but the eventual scoreline was a fair reflection of the game. For all of their 36 attempts at goal – the most in a single Premier League game all season – Liverpool didn’t create too many clear-cut opportunities, but United were so passive throughout the match that a result of any kind would have been an injustice. Continue reading...

Manchester United: Jose Mourinho's Old Trafford ups and downs

18-12-2018 BBC Sport looks back on Jose Mourinho's two-and-a-half years as Manchester United manager as the Portuguese coach is sacked with the club sixth in the Premier League.

What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

18-12-2018 Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

Anastasia Dobromyslova loses to Ryan Joyce at world darts championship

18-12-2018 • Dobromyslova beaten 3-0 by debutant Joyce• Raymond van Barneveld shocked by Darius LabanauskasAnastasia Dobromyslova followed Lisa Ashton out of the PDC world championship as she lost to the Alexandra Palace debutant Ryan Joyce, while Raymond van Barneveld went out to Darius Labanauskas in Monday’s big shock.Ashton and Dobromyslova were the two multiple British Darts Organisation women’s world champions to qualify this year and Ashton lost to Jan Dekker on the opening night of the Professional Darts Corporation event last Thursday. Continue reading...

Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

18-12-2018 How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

NFL: Carolina Panthers stun New Orleans Saints with trick play

18-12-2018 Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey throws a touchdown pass against the New Orleans Saints, before the Panthers fall to 12-9 defeat that puts a huge dent in their playoff hopes.

Jake Hesketh happily playing his part in Burton’s Carabao Cup adventure

18-12-2018 On-loan midfielder hopes he can jog a few memories at Southampton when Burton visit Middlesbrough in the quarter-finals on TuesdayJust over two years ago Jake Hesketh was among the Southampton squad waiting at Ben Gurion airport, just outside Tel Aviv. It was the day after a 0-0 draw against Hapoel Beer Sheva in the Europa League and after an overnight stay there were understandably itchy feet. Barack Obama did not get the memo, though, with Air Force One arriving and Israel rolling out the red carpet.“We were stuck for a little bit while the US president was sat on the runway,” Hesketh says. “For about half an hour we were just looking out waiting for the plane to go. The game itself was a totally different atmosphere, a unique place. It was just a surreal couple of days. I remember all of the whistling; it was a very intimidating stadium to play in.” Continue reading...

The Spin | Big Bash’s flipping bats recall stories of cunning ploys with tossed coins

18-12-2018 When you look closely at the ritual, it begins to seem odd that cricket lets blind luck and ‘dynamical bias’ play such a large partWhen he was 14, Persi Diaconis packed a fresh deck of cards and a spare pair of socks into a knapsack and ran away from home to become a magician’s assistant. He spent the next few years as an apprentice with Dai Vernon, whose sleight of hand was so smart, so sharp, he even beat Harry Houdini, who famously claimed he could pick any magic trick on the third go, until Vernon fooled him seven times in a row.They used to call Vernon “the Professor”, and now they do Diaconis, too. Because that is what he is. The Mary V Sunseri professor of statistics and mathematics, to be exact, at Stanford, where he has been continuing his lifelong study of chance and probability. Continue reading...

Jose Mourinho: Manchester United sack manager

18-12-2018 Manchester United sack manager Jose Mourinho after no progress despite spending £400m on 11 players.

Focus on skill and not emotion rewards Tim Paine's new Australia

18-12-2018 Australia skittle India’s tail end before lunch on final dayPaine ‘relieved’ to post his first win as captainIt was with just enough of the old and just enough of the new that Tim Paine’s side found the necessary balance to win their first international fixture under his tutelage. Both captains acknowledged the runs made by the hosts at the start of the Test were the biggest input to the result, a base that allowed the Australian attack to swamp their opposition four days later – a business model they made their own for two decades when they were the top of the world.Getting ahead in the game also allowed them to project themselves accordingly, Paine himself taking responsibility for pushing back against the hyperactivity of his opposite number, Virat Kohli, that dominated so much of the colour and movement through the middle days of this Test. When it all came together on the fourth evening and fifth morning in Perth, it was the best sign yet of a welcome thaw in Australia’s long winter. Continue reading...

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves' Taj Gibson tries to block shot with his shoe

18-12-2018 Minnesota Timberwolves' Taj Gibson makes an unorthodox attempt to block an opponent's shot after losing his shoe during his side's 132-105 NBA win over the Sacramento Kings.

How can a sport worth billions spend just a pittance on fighting racism? | Daniel Taylor

18-12-2018 As Herman Ouseley announces his impending retirement from Kick It Out after 25 years, a game that can gift Richard Scudamore £5m can surely fund the campaign properlyIt is probably a measure of the man – and the fact he would never draw attention to this himself – that I must confess that, until the last week, I did not realise Herman Ouseley had never received a penny in wages during all the years he has been at the forefront of football’s anti‑racism campaigning.He announced on Tuesday that he will be retiring from Kick It Out at the end of the season, when he will be 74, and it probably sums up the modern‑day sport that he will be lucky to receive a thank you from some of the clubs that decided a gold clock was clearly insufficient as a farewell gift for Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s chief executive, if the alternative was to parachute £5m into his account. Continue reading...

Will the young stud quarterback become devalued in the modern NFL?

18-12-2018 As the passing game becoming seemingly easier will teams pass on expending all their energy on finding the next great quarterback?If there’s one thing we can agree upon, it’s that the most precious resource in the NFL is a stud quarterback, and even more precious still, a young stud still on his rookie four-year deal. In the Moneyball realm of modern football, that’s the jackpot. It immediately throws open a multi-year Super Bowl window, and hands the franchise a stack of blank checks – in the form of early-round draft picks and free-agent contracts – that can be spread across several other key positions. And as long as quarterbacks are central to the team, it shall always be thus.If we need any more proof, well, just look at the past two decades, an era in which this particular unicorn has eluded the vast majority of the NFL. It’s been called “the hardest job in America”– something only football super-computers like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady can do, and if you don’t have one of them you might as well pencil in a 6-10 season right now. Continue reading...

Liverpool can stay ahead of City and win the title, says Andy Robertson

18-12-2018 • Home win over United took Liverpool back to top• ‘We know how good City are but we can stay top’Andy Robertson has said Liverpool have the belief and momentum to stay ahead of Manchester City and end the club’s arduous wait for a Premier League title.Liverpool regained top spot from Pep Guardiola’s champions on Sunday with a comfortable defeat of Manchester United. A sixth consecutive league win demonstrated the depth of Jürgen Klopp’s resources this season, with the substitute Xherdan Shaqiri scoring twice and the summer signing Fabinho outstanding in central midfield. Robertson says it also fuelled growing confidence at Anfield that the team can stay the distance and claim Liverpool’s first league championship since 1990. Continue reading...

Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

18-12-2018 After Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world title on Sunday, BBC Sport is asking you just who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

Ralph Hasenhüttl hails Southampton team and fans after 'amazing' win over Arsenal – video

18-12-2018 Ralph Hasenhüttl enjoyed a dream home debut as Southampton manager after Charlie Austin's late header earned a 3-2 win over Arsenal. The victory was Saint's first in the Premier League on home soil since late April and prompted scenes of jubilation in the stands followed by a lap of honour on the pitch. Hasenhüttl sent free beer vouchers to season ticket holders during the week in an attempt to have 'everyone in our boat to row with us' and after ending the Gunners' 22-game unbeaten run, the new manager joked about considering whether to make this a regular occurrence.Free beers for fans … three cheers for Southampton, says Hasenhüttl Continue reading...

Sport on the BBC: Best of this week's TV & radio coverage

18-12-2018 This week's sport on the BBC includes the Premier League, the Olympia Horse Show and Australia v India in day four of the second test.