I’M English through and through, but on Saturday I will be supporting Wales – along with thousands of other Brits!
In last weekend’s quarter-finals, the Principality’s Red Dragons roared with fire as they defeated Ireland 22-10 while England stuttered along (again) when losing miserably 19-12 to France.
So this weekend, four countries will battle it out for a place in the seventh Rugby World Cup final with both semis taking place at Auckland’s Eden Park.
The first on Saturday (9.30am Spanish time) will feature Wales against France and 24 hours later (10am) Australia, who ousted the holders South Africa 11-9, will be chasing a record fourth final appearance when they meet favourites New Zealand who k’od Argentina 33-10.
Wales have yet to play in the final; Australia’s previous three came in 1991, 1999 & 2003 (winning the first two) while hosts New Zealand were champions in 1987.
After England’s dismal performances coach Martin Johnson’s position is on the line!
Photo credit: rugbyworldcup.com
RED FOR ROONEY – AGAIN
Wayne Rooney said ‘sorry’ to coach Fabio Capello for his red-card madness as England stuttered into the Euro 2012 finals with a 2-2 draw in Montenegro. The Manchester United striker, sent-off in the 73rd minute for kicking Dzudovic, could now miss the first two games of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Capello said: “He made a silly mistake; it was a red card offence. I’m not happy.” It was Rooney’s second dismissal for his country – his first was in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final defeat by Portugal.
England, 2-0 up, conceded goals in the 45th and 90th minutes as Montenegro also qualified as group runner’s-up.
Hopefully the Republic of Ireland have made the play-offs. They required a point from Tuesday’s clash with Armenia, but Scotland, who played Spain two nights ago, could be out with Wales and Northern Ireland, who have won only twice in 23 games.
Spain, Germany, Portugal, Holland, Sweden, France, Italy and Russia have all qualified.
It was a formality once the tenth race of the season was over, that Sebastian Vettel would win the 2011 driver’s title to become the youngest-ever double champion. The German clinched top spot for the second year running by finishing third behind Jensen Button and the last driver to win back-to-back titles, Fernando Alonso, in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix. This weekend it’s off to South Korea for race 16.
English referee Howard Webb took both teams off the field for six minutes when masked troublemakers threw missiles and petrol bombs at visiting fans during last Friday’s Greece-Croatia Euro 2012 qualifier in Piraeus.
Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground will be increased from 25,700 to 30,000. Last Saturday Leeds beat St Helens 32-16 to win Rugby’s Super League Grand Final for the fourth time in five years.
Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 in Japan’s Open tennis final – his first victory over the Spaniard in six attempts. Andy and brother Jamie then won the men’s doubles title.
The FA said that goal-line technology will not be used next season. It’s thought that three Germans failed drug tests after the 1966 World Cup final.
GB’s Mo Farrah is the 2011 European Athlete of the Year; Dai Greene was third. Ex-Kent, Worcestershire & England quickie Graham Dilley has died of cancer, aged 52. He played in 41 Tests and 36 ODIs, took 138 Test wickets and featured in two Ashes wins, helping Ian Botham put on 117 for the 8th wicket in the Third 1981 Test at Leeds when England beat the Aussies by 18 runs. Great guy. R.I.P.
Steve Finn took a hat-trick in England’s warm-up game before tomorrow’s ODI cricket series opener against India.
DID YOU KNOW?
Only five footballers have scored 1,000 career goals (a) Artur Friedenreich, 1,239 (seven clubs & Brazil: 1910-35), (b) Pele, 71 later this month, 1,283 (two clubs, army & Brazil: 1955-78), (c) Franz Binder, 1,006 (Rapid Vienna, Germany & Austria: 1926-55), (d) Romario, 1,006 (ten clubs & Brazil: 1985-2009) and (e) Josef Bican, 1,007 (eight clubs, Austria, Czechoslovakia & Bohemia: 1928-55).