Sport by teifant

VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 11

									G24
                           | pdf edition | Monday July 2 2012                                                             Sport
                                                                                                                          Downloaded 00:15 GMT




Euro 2012: Reign of Spain goes on as Italy
trail in their stardust
Goals by David Silva, Ramos Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan
Mata saw Spain beat Italy and retain their European Championship
crown Page 2


André Villas-Boas poised to take the reins
at Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham are poised to unveil André Villas-Boas as their manager
this week Page 3



London 2012 Olympics: Bolton’s Marvin
Sordell gets GB football call-up
Bolton’s Marvin Sordell is a surprise inclusion in the Great Britain
Olympic football squad Page 3




Andy Murray begins                           Tour de France 2012:                         Silverstone win would           Rufus, the
Wimbledon 2012 ‘cup                          Ice cool Peter Sagan                         be emotional, says              Wimbledon hawk,
final week’ against                          gives rivals cold                            McLaren’s Jenson                found safe and well
Marin Cilic Page 4                           shoulder Page 6                              Button Page 8                   Page 9

Ian Bell and Ravi                            Ravi Bopara hails                            Wimbledon 2012:                 Great Britain’s men
Bopara set up                                ‘best’ England team                          Andy Murray fired               make mess of 4x100m
England win over                             after second win over                        up for Marin Cilic in           relay ahead of London
Australia Page 5                             Australia Page 7                             fourth round Page 9             2012 Page 10




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                                   guardian.co.uk
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page  G24 Sport                                                                        Monday July 2 2012             00:15 GMT

                                                                    injury. They had nobody left to bring on and, a man down, were
                                                                    always going to be vulnerable to what followed during those
Euro 2012: Reign of Spain goes on as                                brutal, late stages.
Italy trail in their stardust                                           Fernando Torres stroked in the third, in the process
                                                                    becoming the first player to score in two European
• In pictures: our pick of the best images                         Championship finals, and it was another substitute, Juan Mata,
from the match                                                      who completed the rout barely a minute after coming on the
                                                                    pitch. Italy will rue their bad luck but the truth, indisputably, is
Daniel Taylor in Kiev                                               that Spain had signalled their superiority long before they had
                                                                    the luxury of the extra player.
                                                                        La Roja played with style and panache. They had the night’s
                                                                    outstanding performer in Andrés Iniesta and another, Xavi,
                                                                    occupying the same tier of uncommon brilliance. Then consider
                                                                    the contribution of Xabi Alonso, Silva and Cesc Fábregas. Del
                                                                    Bosque’s line-up, with no recognised striker, might not appeal
                                                                    to the Eurosauruses out there but the simple truth is the
                                                                    Spanish are too refined, too devoted to the art of possession,
                                                                    to change for anyone. Del Bosque had listened to the criticism,
                                                                    all that stuff about it being a negative tactic, and decided not to
                                                                    budge an inch, and who can blame him?
                                                                        The first olés could be heard inside the opening five minutes.
                                                                    It was not that Italy were particularly poor; this was just a
Spain’s players celebrate with the trophy after winning the         Spanish team filled with serial champions, all of whom wanted
Euro 2012 final against Italy. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/       the ball and had the football intelligence to do the right things
Getty Images                                                        with it. The paradox is that Italy had plenty of possession,
                                                                    too. Yet Spain had penetration, working those elaborate little
In the end, Spain were the best team in Euro 2012 by a
                                                                    passing triangles, then suddenly changing the pace of the game
considerable distance. They turned the final into a procession
                                                                    once they saw the openings.
and, when they reflect on becoming the first nation to win three
                                                                        The first goal was a case in point. Xavi was involved, almost
major tournaments in succession, the sense of jubilation should
                                                                    inevitably.
be greatly enhanced by this being the night when they were
                                                                        Iniesta, too. These two alone make it feel faintly
rewarded for having absolute conviction in their principles.
                                                                    preposterous that Spain could ever be condemned for drudgery.
    They never wavered in the face of great scrutiny and Vicente
                                                                    Iniesta’s pass inside Giorgio Chiellini was weighted beautifully.
del Bosque’s formation, however unorthodox, was shown
                                                                    Fábregas was quick enough to elude his opponent and drive
ultimately to be based on the strongest of foundations, to
                                                                    into the penalty area. The ball into Silva arrived at pace and an
the extent it feels bizarre in the extreme that a team of this
                                                                    awkward height but the Manchester City player improvised
brilliance could ever be accused of not entertaining.
                                                                    with a twisting header, angled perfectly into the top corner.
    Boring Spain? The debate is so ridiculous it should be put in
                                                                        By that stage Spain had already established the pattern of
a box and kept in a place where it does not come out to trouble
                                                                    controlling play in the middle of the pitch. Their three more
us again.
                                                                    advanced players — Silva, Iniesta and Fábregas — could all
    It was a night of grievous damage for Italy, when the final
                                                                    interchange positions. Xavi and Iniesta were the stars, but
whistle was merciful and Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli
                                                                    everyone gets their go in this team. What also gets overlooked
watched the trophy presentation through tears. Never before
                                                                    sometimes is the devilish way they work to get the ball back
has a final been turned into such a rout, or one that felt so
                                                                    when they lose it. It is as if they are so aggrieved to have
overwhelmingly brutal, and the real debate about Spain, surely,
                                                                    forfeited possession they cannot rest until they are back in
is whether there has ever been a more devastatingly effective
                                                                    control, knocking the ball around, left and right, long and short.
team.
                                                                        Italy’s attacking was more erratic and when Chiellini
    The answer, almost certainly, is that there has not and
                                                                    signalled to the bench that he could not continue, six minutes
anyone who wants to argue the point need only refer to the
                                                                    after Silva’s goal, the impression grew that their first Euro final
avalanche of statistics that confirm them as the pass-and-move
                                                                    since 2000 was turning into an ordeal. Briefly, Cesare Prandelli’s
specialists of their industry. One, in particular, stands out:
                                                                    players rallied but Xavi’s pass for Alba was sumptuous and
this team have not conceded a goal in a knock-out match since
                                                                    suddenly the left-back was sprinting clear to stroke his shot
2006, incorporating ten matches and almost 17 hours of pitch-
                                                                    past Gianluigi Buffon and, from there, Spain were never going
time. More often than not, it is because their opponents simply
                                                                    to be caught.
cannot get the ball.
                                                                        Italy will reflect on two chances early in the second half
    Del Bosque’s team were ahead before a quarter of an hour
                                                                    for Antonio Di Natale, a half-time replacement for Antonio
had been played, courtesy of David Silva’s header, and they
                                                                    Cassano. In between, however, they were lucky not to concede
had doubled that lead four minutes before the interval, when
                                                                    a penalty after Leonardo Bonucci’s arm blocked Sergio Ramos’s
Xavi Hernández’s pass sent Jordi Alba running clear. Italy have
                                                                    header. This was their one moment of good fortune and when
played with great charisma throughout this tournament but
                                                                    Motta went off, only four minutes after his arrival, it was almost
any hopes of a comeback were extinguished on the hour when
                                                                    a surprise Buffon was not beaten again until the 84th minute.
Thiago Motta, their third substitute, suffered a hamstring
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                       Monday July 2 2012            00:15 GMT

   Xavi was the architect again, picking up De Rossi’s misplaced   dos Santos Emboaba Junior, 20, and the Belgium defender
pass and playing Torres through the middle to slip his shot by     Jan Vertonghen, at around £9.5m, despite the player still
the side of Buffon.                                                negotiating the terms of his release from Ajax.
   Italy were crushed and, four minutes later, Torres was clear       Those deals will reflect the considerable financial backing
again, squaring his pass for Mata to add the final flourish and    to be provided by the chairman, Daniel Levy, to ensure Spurs
bring more olés.                                                   remain challengers next season. The club have been buoyed by
                                                                   Gareth Bale signing a new four-year contract worth £70,000 a
                                                                   week – an indication in itself that the dressing room are behind
André Villas-Boas poised to take the                               Villas-Boas’s appointment – though it remains to be seen
reins at Tottenham Hotspur                                         whether a deal with Manchester City for Emmanuel Adebayor
                                                                   can be thrashed out given the Togo forward’s wage demands.
                                                                   He earns £170,000 a week at the Etihad Stadium, an amount
• Portuguese to sign three-year contract at                        Spurs cannot match.
White Hart Lane                                                       The England striker Jermain Defoe, who endured something
• Hurried reshaping of Spurs squad                                 of a bit-part role with the club last season, will be retained but
expected to follow                                                 Giovanni dos Santos is due to join Malaga and Spurs are braced
                                                                   for a transfer request from Luka Modric, who is agitating for
Dominic Fifield
                                                                   Champions League football, though they will resist selling the
                                                                   Croatia midfielder to another Premier League team. Manchester
                                                                   United and Chelsea have been interested and Real Madrid are
                                                                   also admirers.



                                                                   London 2012 Olympics: Bolton’s Marvin
                                                                   Sordell gets GB football call-up

                                                                   • 21-year-old striker gets the nod from
                                                                   Stuart Pearce
                                                                   • Daniel Sturridge and Aaron Ramsey also
                                                                   in squad
André Villas-Boas is expected to be unveilled as the new
                                                                   Dominic Fifield and Louise Taylor
manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Photograph: Michael
Mayhew/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar
Tottenham Hotspur expect to unveil André Villas-Boas as
their manager this week and his appointment is set to spark
a frenzied period of transfer activity at White Hart Lane in
preparation for the new Premier League season.
    Negotiations are ongoing with Villas-Boas and his
representative but are considered close to resolution. The
Portuguese is now contractually free to take up the reins at
another English club following his dismissal as Chelsea manager
in March. It is anticipated the 34-year-old will sign a three-
year contract at Spurs and could be confirmed in position on
Tuesday.
    Villas-Boas’s backroom team will include José Mario Rocha
and Daniel Sousato, key members of his staff during his            Marvin Sordell made only three appearances for Bolton
glittering season at Porto and his ill-fated stint at Stamford     Wanderers last season. Photograph: Chris Brunskill — The
Bridge, following the departures of Kevin Bond and Joe             Fa/The FA via Getty Images
Jordan from the coaching team at Tottenham last week. The          Marvin Sordell is a surprise inclusion in the Great Britain
manager will arrive keen to re-establish his reputation having     Olympic football squad which Stuart Pearce will announce on
been dismissed by Chelsea nine months into a three-year deal       Monday. The 21-year-old striker made only three appearances
with the team outside the Champions League places and the          for Bolton Wanderers last season following a £3m transfer
manager having met resistance in the dressing room for the         from Watford in January but has scored two goals in seven
changes he was attempting to impose.                               appearances for Pearce’s England Under-21 side.
    A busy summer reshaping the squad left by Harry Redknapp          Other more familiar names scheduled to be announced
awaits. Villas-Boas is expected to be followed to the club by      include Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge, Josh McEachran and Ryan
Gylfi Sigurdsson, the goalscoring Icelandic midfielder who         Bertrand, Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley, Swansea City’s
impressed while on loan at Swansea City for the second half        Joe Allen, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, Blackburn Rovers’ Jason
of last season, from Hoffenheim for £8m. The manager also          Lowe and Birmingham City’s Jack Butland.
hopes to conclude deals for the Internacional midfielder Oscar        There is no place for Sunderland’s Connor Wickham or
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                     guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                       Monday July 2 2012            00:15 GMT

Liverpool’s Jonjo Shelvey but Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs and
Tottenham Hotspur’s Steve Caulker could be included
alongside the much-coveted Crystal Palace pair Nathaniel Clyne
                                                                    Andy Murray begins Wimbledon 2012
and Wilfried Zaha. Although born in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast,     ‘cup final week’ against Marin Cilic
Zaha has elected to represent England at international level.
    At a time when the England senior side have been criticised     The British fourth seed has his best chance
for a lack of imagination, Pearce has studded his GB squad with     yet of going all the way and Court No1 will
improvisational, pacy and versatile individuals well capable
                                                                    be the venue for his fourth-round clash
of “playing between the lines”. If the loss, with a back injury,
of Tottenham’s Gareth Bale represents a significant blow to         Kevin Mitchell at Wimbledon
their chances, the inclusion of McEachran, Cleverley and, quite
possibly, Zaha promises to excite Olympic crowds.
    Pearce’s determination to make his 18-man squad a
meritocracy prompted the controversial omission of the 37-
year-old David Beckham as one of three permitted over-age
players in what is otherwise an Under-23 party. Instead GB’s
three oldies are Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, Liverpool’s
Craig Bellamy and Manchester City’s Micah Richards.
    While the latter’s presence may upset those who believe
Richards should have been overlooked after declining an
invitation to be placed on stand-by for the England senior
squad recently returned from Euro 2012, Butland’s presence has
required the granting of special dispensation from the Football
Association.
                                                                    Andy Murray, left, practises at Wimbledon with his coach, Ivan
    It had originally been agreed that no player would be asked
                                                                    Lendl, right, who warned before the match against Marin Cilic:
to represent England in Euro 2012 and then Great Britain during
                                                                    ‘When the draw came out, you could see there were no easy
the Olympics, but this rule has been waived in the case of
                                                                    opponents.’ Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Butland, who travelled to Poland and Ukraine as an 11th-hour
replacement for the injured John Ruddy and did not feature in       Having survived another surreal week in his rarely dull life,
Roy Hodgson’s side during the tournament.                           Andy Murray returns to Wimbledon on Monday with his best
    As with Sordell, Butland – 6ft 4in and 19 years old – has       chance yet of going all the way, although, for reasons best
recently seen more action for England Under-21s than his parent     known to the All England Club, the Scot has been denied the
club. Indeed Butland, Birmingham’s third-choice keeper, spent       main stage.
much of last season on loan at Cheltenham Town. Despite                “I guess every game will feel like a Cup final now,” Murray
immense promise, his inclusion in the England squad ahead of        said, stretched out on a massage table in the early hours of
Newcastle United’s Fraser Forster, who impressed on loan at         Sunday morning while his physio, Andy Ireland, rubbed life
Celtic last term, raised eyebrows.                                  back into legs that had just pounded the Centre Court turf for
    The nearest player to a Scot included in Pearce’s GB squad      3hr 14min of almost unbearable excitement as he beat the clock
could be McEachran. Although he has chosen to be English for        and Marcos Baghdatis in four sets.
international purposes, both the Chelsea left-footer’s parents         On Monday afternoon Murray plays the talented young
are Scottish. Like the Scots, the Northern Irish FA was resistant   Croatian Marin Cilic, who is seeded 16 . Curiously, they are on
to the concept of a GB team, which it felt threatened their         second on Court No1 despite Murray’s curfew-busting heroics
future autonomy as a national association. The depth of such        on Saturday night, which attracted 8m viewers, a phenomenal
feeling in Glasgow and Belfast may help to explain the likely       41.3% of the available audience.
lack of Scottish and Northern Irish players in what appears            The order of play committee announce their findings at the
almost certainly an exclusively Anglo-Welsh party.                  end of play after consulting the BBC’s schedulers as well as
    Pearce, who is expected to explain his reasons for              representatives of the ATP and WTA, who feed in information
overlooking Beckham on Monday, plans to limber up his               from the locker room about healing time for injuries and,
players with a bonding/fitness session at a health resort in        occasionally, personal requests.
Leicestershire before flying them to a more intensive training         How odd, then, to ignore the chance to build on a bit of
camp in Spain. Then comes a friendly against Brazil, including      Murray fever. He loved it probably as much as those watching.
their star forward Neymar, at Middlesbrough’s Riverside             “When the roof comes on everyone gets really excited,” he
Stadium on Friday 20 July.                                          said. “None of the noise gets lost, it stays in the stadium. The
    The campaign kicks off six days later with the first game       atmosphere at the end was incredible.”
against Senegal – possibly featuring the Newcastle strikers            The world No4 would probably be as happy to play on the
Papiss Cissé and Demba Ba – at Old Trafford before Pearce’s         roof as under it, or up and down Church Road, before midnight
team face the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on 29 July.           or at dawn, and there is an audience building for him, slowly
Their final group match takes them to Cardiff, where Uruguay        but inexorably, to rival the fervour for the tournament’s long-
are the opposition.                                                 time darling, Tim Henman.
                                                                       Putting him on in the middle of the afternoon while giving
                                                                    the lunchtime slot to Roger Federer against the Belgian Xavier
                                                                    Malisse, ranked 45 in the world, and the early-evening place
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                    guardian.co.uk
Page 5 G24 Sport                                                                          Monday July 2 2012            00:15 GMT

to the all-Serb showdown between Novak Djokovic and Viktor
Troicki, smacks of indifference, at best.
    All that said, Murray knows but dare not say he has been
                                                                       Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara set up England
afforded a clearer path to the semi-finals than he had hoped for       win over Australia
at the start of the first week – big stage or slightly smaller, roof
or no roof. Ivan Lendl cautioned against hubris. “When the             • Australia 251-7; England 252-4
draw came out, you could see there were no easy opponents,”            • England won by six wickets
Murray’s coach of six months said.
    “[Nikolay] Davydenko knows how to play tennis, he has              Mike Selvey at The Oval
been three in the world. [Ivo] Karlovic has won big matches and
he was averaging 119mph between his first and second serve;
I don’t think I hit a first serve ever that hard. Baghdatis is also
a good player, former finalist of the Australian Open. To me, it
doesn’t matter who your opponent is, providing he knows how
to play tennis. These days you have to be at your best.”
    Murray will not get ahead of himself, either, but there is no
point pretending he has not been gifted a considerable opening
in the draw created by the here-then-gone-the-day-after Lukas
Rosol against Rafael Nadal, whom Murray was destined to meet
in the semi-finals. He also comes to the fourth round after three
contrasting victories in different conditions that demanded all
his talents. He did not flinch in any assignment, even though
there were wobbles.                                                    England’s Ravi Bopara hits a drive on his way to 82 off 85 balls
    Murray has to beat the rising Cilic – who endured the second       against Australia. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images
longest match in Wimbledon history on Saturday when he took
                                                                       Martin Johnson, when England rugby union captain, is said to
5hr 31min accounting for the stubborn American Sam Querrey
                                                                       have had a mantra in adversity when his team were behind, or
– but he has won without fuss four of the six times they have
                                                                       down to fourteen men. It was not cerebral. It didn’t threaten the
met (with a defeat at the 2009 US Open and a walkover win in
                                                                       words of Oscar Wilde for wit, or for philosophical content even
the other two), and has been familiar with his game since their
                                                                       those of Joey Barton. Yet somehow it encapsulated the message
teenage days.
                                                                       he was trying to put across. “Just get on with it,” he would say,
    “We played each other growing up in the juniors,” Murray
                                                                       and that is precisely what his sides did. They got on with it.
said. “I have known him for a long time. He had some knee
                                                                           Ever since Kevin Pietersen decided that he no longer wished
surgery but has come back well. He had a long match with
                                                                       to play ODI cricket, and thus, at one and the same time – and
Querrey and I’m hoping he will be tired. But guys have come
                                                                       disconcertingly for him – brought down the curtain on his
back from long matches before, like Novak in Australia this
                                                                       T20 international career, the England one-day team have had
year.”
                                                                       to get on with it. It would be foolish to think that Pietersen
    Murray was relieved the referee let his match with Baghdatis
                                                                       is replaceable because he isn’t. His is a unique talent: there
go past the 11pm deadline imposed for noise abatement by
                                                                       is, by the very definition, no direct alternative. As part of the
Merton council. “Mentally it’s nice to be through to the next
                                                                       master plan, it was Pietersen, to his enthusiastic delight, who
round,” he said.
                                                                       had been asked to open the innings with Alastair Cook, and
    “If we had stopped at 4-1, yes, I am in a great position but
                                                                       had responded with back-to-back hundreds in Dubai to end
you never know what conditions will be like if I would have had
                                                                       a lengthy barren streak. England were winning again and the
to come back [to finish the match] on Monday. It could have
                                                                       garden was rosy.
been very windy, the sun may be in your eyes, or whatever.”
                                                                           But Pietersen’s bombshell meant an alternative and, in
    Putting aside the questionable “sun in your eyes” excuse,
                                                                       serendipitous fashion, it appears to have come in the form of
Murray seems relaxed, content and at the top of his game. He
                                                                       Ian Bell, who has flirted with the opening role before but never
got up from three heavy falls and endured the embarrassment
                                                                       managed to nail it down in particular any more than he has a
of his reserve service ball popping out of his pocket three times.
                                                                       consistent ODI role over 112 matches.
As Andrew Castle remarked in the quickest witticism of the
                                                                           That, for the foreseeable future, has changed. At the Oval,
tournament: “For a player who has made millions on tour, you’d
                                                                       Bell made a cultured, measured 75 from 113 balls, by no means
think Andy would have deeper pockets.”
                                                                       racy but appropriate to England’s pursuit of 252 for their second
    Beyond Cilic there is the likelihood of matches against Juan
                                                                       win of the series, before he was bowled attempting to cut the
Martín del Potro in the quarters, then Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He
                                                                       first ball sent down by the Australian captain Michael Clarke.
is 5-1 against both the ninth-seeded Argentinian and Tsonga,
                                                                           These are runs that go with successive previous scores of 126
seeded fifth. He is also playing better than both of them.
                                                                       and 53 against West Indies and 41 at Lord’s last Friday. It was
    “[Cilic] and Andy had tough matches yesterday,” Lendl
                                                                       a disappointing end, careless really, for there was an another
said, “and I’m glad they both finished, otherwise it would have
                                                                       hundred beckoning and he will castigate himself for not seeing
played havoc with the schedule. Now let’s give it our best and
                                                                       the job through to the end as is required by a side that plays
see if Andy can come out on top again.”
                                                                       a full hand of specialist bowlers with a consequent weakness
                                                                       to the batting. Andy Flower has given the batsmen extra
                                                                       responsibility and expects absolute concentration in return.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                        Monday July 2 2012            00:15 GMT

   By the time of Bell’s dismissal though, in the course of a
90-run partnership for the third wicket, Ravi Bopara, after a
nervous start, was well into playing one of his best innings,
                                                                     Tour de France 2012: Ice cool Peter
perhaps even the best, for England. It is possible, probable         Sagan gives rivals cold shoulder
even, that had Pietersen been playing, one or the other of this
pair would have missed out. England, through happenstance,           • Slovakian outfoxes Fabian Cancellara to
are making do very well.                                             win first stage
   Bopara was not quite able to see things out himself either. He
                                                                     • 22-year-old is threat to Mark Cavendish’s
and Eoin Morgan, who was within the merest smudge of a mark
on Hotspot of being lbw to the second ball he faced (Aleem Dar,
                                                                     Olympic hopes
the third umpire may have heard a noise as well for it transpired    William Fotheringham in Seraing
that the inside edge was scarcely detectable by Snicko either),
had added 79 in 73 balls for their fourth-wicket partnership
when, having made 82, with eight fours, from 85 balls and
with the testing total of two runs needed from 29 deliveries, he
attempted the sharpest of singles to Brett Lee at mid-off, who
flung down the stumps with the batsman still well short in his
dive.
   Two balls later, Morgan’s under edge brought the win with
4.2 overs in hand, the lefthander finishing unbeaten on 43 from
40 balls. Bopara, who sent down five tidy overs as well, for the
wicket of Clarke, was man of the match.
   So England take a two-nil lead in the five-match series and,
astoundingly are therefore still on course for a whitewash and
elevation to an unprecedented position at the top of the world
                                                                     Slovakia’s Peter Sagan celebrates on the finish line as he wins
rankings in all three formats.
                                                                     the first stage of the 2012 Tour de France. Photograph: Pascal
   The third game is at Edgbaston on Wednesday and Australia
                                                                     Pavani/AFP/Getty Images
will do well to bounce back from this match. Both sides made
changes from the first match with Jimmy Anderson not risked          Watching Peter Sagan surge up the final hill and play cat and
with a slight groin strain – Jade Dernbach his substitute – and      mouse with Fabian Cancellara and Edvald Boasson-Hagen
Australia omitting Steve Smith in place of Peter Forrest and         before winning here, it is clear that the hulking Slovakian will
losing the teenage fast bowler Patrick Cummins to a side strain      prove a potent threat in the Olympic road race on July 28.
for which he is returning home, although it is said to be more to    Mark Cavendish has high ambitions for that event, but on this
do with good management than a serious problem.                      evidence, Sagan has everything going for him: the ability to
   Australia won the toss, batted and either misread the pitch       climb at high intensity, a fearsome sprint and an ice cool head
and what would constitute a workable total, or got their tactics     on his vast but youthful shoulders.
wrong for they foundered horribly in the middle overs, in which          The 22-year-old came to this race with high expectations
they were stifled, and ultimately came up 20 or so runs short of     having reeled off 13 wins already this year including five of the
the minimum this excellent pitch demanded.                           eight stages in the Tour of California. Here, he was stunningly
   This they managed despite England putting in one of their         alert when Cancellara made what should have been the stage-
more lacklustre performances in the field, with three catches of     winning attack – an unlikely move for the yellow jersey wearer
varying degrees of difficulty going down, misfields and nothing      – on the steepest part of the mile and a half long climb to the
short of a fine effort from Steve Finn, after his own fumble,        finish. The Swiss surged as the field clattered over a stretch of
hitting the stumps.                                                  cobbles and through a chicane, and what followed was a brief,
   For a while it appeared that Shane Watson might play the          enthralling poker game enacted at 30mph.
definitive innings that so often he promises but fails to produce,       The peloton was behind, Cancellara threshing away ahead of
and he disappointed once again, making 66 before chipping to         Sagan, Boasson-Hagen chasing in between. Cancellara visibly
deep midwicket. George Bailey attempted to steer the innings,        wanted the youth to contribute to the pacemaking, flicking
but he too hit the sandbanks, made a sluggish 65 and then            his elbow in the usual signal a rider makes when he wants a
perished when he tried to add late impetus. There was little else    breakaway companion to come past and ride hard, but the
of consequence.                                                      gesture was made more in hope than expectation. Sagan stayed
                                                                     put, until the critical moment 150m from the finish, by which




  *
                                                                     time Cancellara knew he had been completely outsmarted.
                                                                         Sagan could, on this evidence, win a hatful of stages in
                                                                     the coming weeks, while in the future, who knows? He is the
                                                                     first rider 22 years old or under to win a Tour stage since a
                                                                     brash Texan named Lance Armstrong sprinted into Verdun in
  The Guardian digital edition                                       1993 aged 21. No one would have imagined the trajectory that
  Read the Guardian on the web exactly the                           Armstrong’s career would take after that – and you would have
  way it was printed.                                                to be a brave man to bet where his story will end now – but
  With award-winning Guardian                                        Sagan has the same killer instinct under a more placid exterior.
                                                                         The most telling moment as he spoke after the stage was
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                      guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                          Monday July 2 2012             00:15 GMT

an aside when he was asked whether he felt stressed at his
first Tour. His result had spoken for itself, but he added “what
pressure? It’s a bike race” before going back on message.
                                                                      Ravi Bopara hails ‘best’ England team
    There is more than a hint there of the young Eddy Merckx          after second win over Australia
being asked whether he had set out to win a certain race, and
responding that he had not intended to come second. Today he          • Rejuvenated batsman relishes ‘incredible’
could well be in the mix again on flatter roads as the race heads     top order
across Belgium to Tournai for a finish which will suit Cavendish,
                                                                      • Alastair Cook praises all-round effort of
who dropped out of the lead group two kilometres from the top
of the climb.
                                                                      Essex team-mate
    On the heels of Sagan, Cancellara and Boasson-Hagen, a            Press Association
select lead group of 45 men had closed in by the line. They
included all the candidates for overall victory with one key
exception: Chris Froome, Sky’s possible back-up for the overall
title if Bradley Wiggins falters or falls. The Kenyan-born climber
suffered a puncture late in the stage and finished 1min 25sec
behind, in 95th place. It is not the end of his hopes of a high
placing in the race, but it is a blow nonetheless.
    The finale to the stage was as intense as on any first stage of
the Tour, but physically this was a more demanding opening
day than usual, constantly climbing and descending through
the Ardennes before the final drag to the finish, on the south
side of the river Meuse from Liège. For most of the stage, there
was a six-man group in front, of the kind that is typical on an
early Tour stage, with the French teams there in force along
                                                                      England’s Ravi Bopara, who scored 82 off 85 balls in the second
with Saxo Bank, who have been prominent in abortive escapes
                                                                      One Day International at the Oval, feels he is now in his best
since their leader Alberto Contador was banned in February
                                                                      ever form. Photograph: Jed Leicester/Action Images
leaving them with no great sense of purpose. The sextet
dominated the hills counting for the King of the Mountains            Ravi Bopara is playing his best cricket and so are England,
prize as well as the intermediate sprint, where Mark Cavendish        according to the batsman. “I think this is probably the best side
finished eighth, gleaning a few points. That does not, his Team       we’ve ever had,” he said.
Sky manager Sean Yates insisted, mean he is going for the green           “The bowlers are performing really well, putting pressure on
jersey, but the points will come in handy should the maillot vert     [opposition]batsmen – and then there’s always someone in the
come the Manxman’s way.                                               top six [for us] that goes on and gets a big score.
    There were two crashes in the hectic run-in to the foot of the        “The amount of hundreds we’ve scored in the last however
finish climb, the first involving Wiggins’s team mate Michael         many games has been incredible.”
Rogers, who regained the bunch to finish in the front group.              Bopara was pretty pleased with his own performance too. “I
Froome’s puncture came a few kilometres later, and appeared           enjoyed myself out there,” he said. “I told myself just to watch
to throw Sky briefly off kilter a little.                             the ball, and hit it, and I play my best when I do that. I think I’m
    Wiggins had been prominent at the front of the peloton all        batting the best I ever have. A few changes that I’ve made over
day, usually in the slipstream of the German Christian Knees,         these last six months have really worked for me.”
who appears to be his appointed “minder”, but with Knees                  The captain, Alastair Cook, gave his Essex and England team-
and Ritchie Porte waiting for Froome, he dropped back before          mate due credit but was even more impressed with his bowlers
reappearing on the climb where his climbing legs were clearly         – albeit on a pitch which was not quite as good for batting as he
up to the task.                                                       first expected.
                                                                          “There was a little bit of nibble in that wicket, which was
                                                                      pretty much there all game,” he said. “There was a little bit in it



  *
                                                                      for the bowlers – probably a little more than we thought.
                                                                          “But where we were really quite strong today was when
                                                                      Swanny [Graeme Swann] came on. We squeezed really, really
                                                                      well – with a few overs from Ravi as well.
  Eat right                                                               “From 20 to 35 overs we did that really well, picked up
  Join the Guardian’s health and dieting                              the odd wicket and never really allowed them to get that
  club, Eat Right and we’ll design you a                              momentum going to get a big score.
  personalised healthy eating plan from                                   “At The Oval 250 is always gettable. We chased 230 against
                                                                      West Indies and tried to stick to that same platform – and it was
  just £2.99 a week. Membership includes
                                                                      another really solid batting performance.”
  shopping lists, menus, expert advice and
  24 hour support to help you achieve your
  health and fitness goals.
  guardian.co.uk/eatright
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                         guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                           Monday July 2 2012             00:15 GMT

                                                                      victory here last year.
                                                                          Alonso, who is 62 points ahead of Button in the
Silverstone win would be emotional,                                   championship, was recently described by Hamilton as
says McLaren’s Jenson Button                                          “probably the best driver out there”, and most neutrals would
                                                                      go along with that. Button says: “There’s been a lot of arse-
• Button aiming for home win at 13th                                  kissing going on lately. I don’t know what’s happening. It’s quite
attempt                                                               strange.
                                                                          “But Fernando is one of the stand-out drivers. When you
• Top of podium at British Grand Prix
                                                                      race against him, and beat him, it feels special. I respect him a
would be ‘special’                                                    lot because he is not just very quick. He is a clever driver, so that
Paul Weaver                                                           is why he is dangerous.
                                                                          “His talents are more in the race than in qualifying. And he
                                                                      surrounds himself with the right people in the team. You look at
                                                                      the last race and say Fernando did a great job to win.”
                                                                          Alonso became the first driver to win two races this season
                                                                      with his victory in Spain and Button said: “I hope his winning
                                                                      is over. He has won his home grand prix and hopefully we can
                                                                      take over now.”
                                                                          According to Button, however, the “scary one” is Red Bull.
                                                                      “The pace that Sebastian had [in Valencia] was amazing. He was
                                                                      on fire. He had such a massive difference in pace to the rest of
                                                                      the field and we haven’t seen that before for a while. And they
                                                                      have done well at Silverstone.”
                                                                          But even if he wins, and even if he blubs, there will be no
                                                                      celebration party for Button on Sunday. “I’m going back to
Jenson Button says it would be a special year to stand at
                                                                      Monaco to train with friends from Hawaii. You don’t book
the top of the podium as winner of the British Grand Prix
                                                                      celebratory parties, like you don’t take a black tie outfit to
Photograph: David Davies/PA
                                                                      Monaco. We will just have to go wild in the paddock.”
They have only just finished mopping up Fernando Alonso’s
tears, which dampened the streets of Valencia a week ago, and
if Jenson Button’s wins his home grand prix next Sunday, at his
13th attempt, it will be another highly charged atmosphere.
    “If I win at Silverstone, I will get really emotional,” the
McLaren driver said. “I’m not sure I will be blubbing like a girl
but I will be emotional. It will mean so much more. That was
what it felt like after winning the world championship [in 2009]
after so many years trying to get the right car and the right
team. It meant so much.”
    Asked when he had last cried after a race, Button quipped:
“The last four.” It seemed mean to point out that he should
have said five, for in those races he has gathered just six points
from a possible 125, so steep has been his decline since winning
the first in Australia and coming second in the third in China.
    All that will be forgotten, though, if he wins on Sunday; he




                                                                        *
has never even made a podium appearance at the old airfield.
“Victory this year would be particularly appropriate,” he said.
    “It is a massive year for the UK, with the Queen’s Jubilee and
the Olympics. It would be a special year to stand at the top of
the podium as winner of the British Grand Prix.
    “Every year is special to win your home grand prix, but this
year we have the best opportunity. I have imagined it many              Are you getting the best deal on
times. I am sure it feels very special because you see the fans
excited and celebrating with you.”
                                                                        your mortgage?
    There are worrying signs that Red Bull and Ferrari are getting      Compare over 8500 mortgages
things together a little better than McLaren in what is a difficult
season for all teams, with even more challenging tyres to work
                                                                        online to find the best deal for
with. But Button feels optimistic. “The car should suit the             you.
circuit. It is a bit random but I feel it should work.”                 guardian.co.uk/money/
    His biggest rivals on Saturday will be his team-mate, Lewis
Hamilton, the double world champion Sebastian Vettel – for              compareandbuy
Red Bull have shown a special liking for this track – and the
championship leader Fernando Alonso, who scored his solitary
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                          guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                         Monday July 2 2012         00:15 GMT

                                                                     entertainment on Centre Court in the early evening against his
                                                                     Serbian compatriot Viktor Troicki, who is also unseeded.
Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray fired up                                    Murray, who fell to the floor on three occasions and three
for Marin Cilic in fourth round                                      times also let his reserve service ball spill from his pocket
                                                                     before gathering his composure at the end, admitted later: “I
• Late-night win against Marcos Baghdatis                            was hustling my way through the match and I am going to need
raises Scot’s spirits                                                to play better if I want to go deep into the tournament.”
                                                                        The Scot’s coach, Ivan Lendl, was not getting carried away
• ‘Every game will feel like a cup final now,’
                                                                     either, even though Murray’s side of the draw has been opened
says British No1                                                     up considerably by the shock defeat of Rafael Nadal by the
Kevin Mitchell at Wimbledon                                          world No100, Lukas Rosol, in the previous round.
                                                                        “When the draw came out,” the former world No1 Lendl
                                                                     said, “you could see there were no easy opponents. Davydenko
                                                                     knows how to play tennis, he has been three in the world,
                                                                     Karlovic has won big matches and he was averaging 119mph
                                                                     between his first and second serve. Baghdatis is also a good
                                                                     player, former finalist of the Australian Open.
                                                                        “To me it doesn’t really matter who your opponent is,
                                                                     providing he knows how to play tennis. These days you have to
                                                                     be at your best.”



                                                                     Rufus, the Wimbledon hawk, found safe
                                                                     and well
Andy Murray, who beat Marcos Baghdatis in a tense late night
third round match, feels every game at Wimbledon will now            Harris hawk handed in to RSPCA and
feel like a ‘cup final’. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images      returned to his owners after he was stolen
As Andy Murray prepared for what could be the defining week          during first week of tournament
of his tennis career he reflected on the phenomenal victory that
                                                                     Press Association
catapulted him into the fourth round and said: “I guess every
game will feel like a cup final now.”
   The player who has grown from diffident teenager to
enigmatic sports celebrity realises he was part of something
special when he raced the clock to the 11pm deadline in beating
Marcos Baghdatis under the roof on Centre Court on Saturday
night.
   Now he plays Marin Cilic, the talented young Croatian he
has known since they met as teenagers on the junior circuit,
and thereafter there is the prospect of a quarter-final against
the former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and a
semi-final against the Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is in
sensational form and is the only player left in the draw yet to
lose serve, having held 48 times.
   Murray, meanwhile, can reflect on stirring wins over Nikolay      Rufus, the Harris hawk who patrols the skies at Wimbledon,
Davydenko, when he blew the Russian off court in the first           has been found. Photograph: Stephen Pond/PA
round, a tense struggle over four sets against the 6ft 10in Ivo      The hawk that patrols the skies of Wimbledon has been
Karlovic and Saturday night’s nip-and-tuck four-setter against       returned to its owners after he was snatched by thieves during
Baghdatis.                                                           the first week of the tennis tournament.
   Murray revealed later he would have gone to unusual lengths          Rufus, a harris hawk who keeps pigeons away from the All
to prevent the referee from stopping the match as the deadline       England Club, was stolen along with his cage between Thursday
approached in the frenetic final set, which he took 6-1.             night and Friday morning.
   “I was going to say at 5-1 that I would have been happy to           He has been handed in to the RSPCA in Putney, south-west
spot any fine the club may get as long as we could finish the        London, and is safely back in his owners’ hands, police have
match. The officials seemed pretty relaxed about it all at 11pm. I   confirmed.
was just glad they let us finish.”                                      Rufus’ twitter account, written by his owners, said: “We
   The match was watched by eight million people on the              can confirm the news is true RUFUS HAS BEEN FOUND safe
BBC, yet the feelgood momentum will be doused a little , as          and well & reunited with family!! Thank you so much for your
Murray has been consigned to Court No1 in the middle of the          support #FindRufus”.
afternoon – with no protection from rain, which is on the cards.        Rufus was taken from a car parked on a private drive in
The main stage goes to Roger Federer, who plays the unseeded         Dunstall Road, Wimbledon, with the rear window open for
Xavier Malisse first up, with Novak Djokovic rounding out the
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                    guardian.co.uk
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                                       Monday July 2 2012              00:15 GMT

ventilation.                                                        running the second leg alongside him, and made such a sharp
   His family were left distressed after the four-and-a-half        start that Malcolm could not catch up.
year old, reared as part of the family-run business Avian               The only consolation, as Malcolm said, was that: “If you’re
Environmental Consultants and seen as a pet, was taken.             going to make a mistake, you’d rather make a mistake here
   Rufus, an American harris wawk, has become a well-known          than in the Games.” Both he and Chambers felt that they had a
fixture at the south-west London club, with visitors often          good chance of winning the race, which the Netherlands took
stopping to ask for photos with the hawk.                           in 38.34sec. Despite that, Van Commenee insisted that most
   Hawking was first introduced to the All England Club in 1999     people in Holland thought their own relay team were “a bunch
as an environmentally-friendly method of pest control.              of wankers” because, like Britain they had dropped the baton so
   Pigeons are not the harris hawk’s natural prey, and they are     often.
trained not to attack but to circle and fly around the courts to        “We’re gutted,” said Malcolm, “Just gutted. We really
scare the birds.                                                    wanted to put it down today.” They did, just not in the way
   Rufus is flown each morning and evening of the                   they intended. To his credit, Malcolm did not complain about
championships before and after play, but not during, to avoid       the tightness of the bends, or a lack of practice, but took all the
any distraction.                                                    blame himself. “It is always the incoming runner’s job to get it
                                                                    in.”
                                                                        Chambers was not having that. “As much as Chris wants
Great Britain’s men make mess of                                    to, we all take the blame here. We came in as a team and we go
4x100m relay ahead of London 2012                                   out as a team. We’ll bounce back.” At least they will be at the
                                                                    Games, unlike the female 4x100m team. The quartet there will
                                                                    surely to be a little different, with Van Commenee confirming
• Mistake in Helsinki does not bode well for                      that 18-year-old Adam Gemili is likely to come in alongside the
Olympic Games                                                       more experienced team-mates.
• Third time in last four years GB team have                            There was disappointment, too, in the women’s 4x400m,
erred                                                               where the quartet of Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell
                                                                    and Eilidh Child could only finish fourth behind Ukraine. But
Andy Bull in Helsinki
                                                                    it was not all bad; there were a pair of silvers, too, for the men’s
                                                                    4x400m team and the 10,000m runner Jo Pavey.
                                                                        The relay quartet of Nigel Levine, Conrad Williams, Rob
                                                                    Tobin, Richard Buck led the race from the start to the final
                                                                    100m. And then Buck was overtaken by the Belgium’s Kevin
                                                                    Borlée, whose brother Jonathan had run the second leg. The
                                                                    brilliant Borlées, whose sister Olivia was running in the sprint
                                                                    relay, have more sub-45sec 400m runners in their own family
                                                                    than are in the entire UK team.
                                                                        Pavey, 38, is back on track after two years spent running
                                                                    on the road, but she feels that missing out on selection for the
                                                                    Olympic marathon has actually worked out well for her. She
                                                                    has switched back to shorter distances, and is likely to make
                                                                    the Olympic team in both the 5,000m and 10,000m. She never
Christian Malcolm attempts to pass on the baton to Dwain            came close to catching Portugal’s Dulce Félix, who had held
Chambers in the men’s 4x100m relay at the European                  on to a 60m lead right through the final 2,500m. But Pavey did
Championships. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty                  produce a good sprint finish to overtake the Ukrainian Olha
Images                                                              Skrypak, who she had been shadowing for much of the race.
                                                                    “It’s made me feel young again to go on the track,” Pavey said.
To slip once is unfortunate, and to do it twice suggests
                                                                    The prospect of the home Olympics has, she added, had kept
carelessness. Err three times and you begin to look inept. Once
                                                                    her going.
again, Great Britain’s men made a mess of the 4x100m relay
                                                                        That was what these Championships were all about for the
in a major championship, bungling the first changeover from
                                                                    British team. The tally of seven medals was almost incidental.
Christian Malcolm to Dwain Chambers. Anyone would think
                                                                    As Van Commenee has said, a lot of dreams were shattered
they were trying to pass on a bar of soap rather than a baton. It
                                                                    this week, as a succession of athletes tried and failed to qualify
is the third time in the last four years that they have made such
                                                                    for the team at the last opportunity. “There have been a lot of
a mistake – they were disqualified in the Beijing Olympics, and
                                                                    tears,” he said, with evident distaste.
dropped the baton in at the European Championships in 2010
                                                                        Too few did what they needed to do. Some, though, showed
and World Championships in 2011. The head coach Charles
                                                                    remarkable commitment. Carl Myerscough took the ferry
van Commenee could only laugh, and say that “there will be
                                                                    across to Estonia for the day just so he could find a shot put
practice, much more practice,” between now and the Games.
                                                                    competition to compete in after he learned that his rival Abdul
    For Chambers there was a depressing familiarity about it
                                                                    Buhari had thrown an “A” standard back in Britain and was
all. He was back in the quartet for the first time since 2006 and
                                                                    threatening to beat Myerscough to Olympic selection in the
must have felt like he had never been away. His first thought, he
                                                                    discus.
said, was “Oh, no, not again”. Chambers was worried about the
                                                                        Ireland, meanwhile, ended without a single medal after
fact that France’s European champion Christophe Lemaitre was
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page 11 G24 Sport                                                 Monday July 2 2012   00:15 GMT

Fionnuala Britton had to settle for fourth place in the women’s
10,000m. She was unable to stay with the eventual winner Félix
when the Portuguese made a break with eight laps remaining.




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                    guardian.co.uk

								
To top