Tuesday 24 October 2017

FIFA to assess English efforts

FIFA inspectors will visit Manchester, Sunderland, Newcastle and London next week as they assess the merits of England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

All 12 candidate host cities will be involved in making presentations during the visit.

The inspection team have already travelled to 2022 hopefuls Japan, South Korea and Australia and were most recently in Russia, considered by many to be England's main rivals to host the 2018 finals.

The team will go on to inspect the facilities of the joint Spain-Portugal bid before moving on to the United States and Qatar in September. A decision on which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 finals will be taken by FIFA's executive committee on December 2.

Bellamy gets off to a flyer

Craig Bellamy announced his arrival at Cardiff in style with a goal and two assists as they cruised to a 4-0 victory over Doncaster at the Cardiff City Stadium yesterday.

It was almost inevitable that Bellamy would get a debut goal and so it proved when Jay Bothroyd was upended, allowing the 31-year-old Wales striker to flash home a superb free-kick from 35 yards in the 84th minute. He also picked up a booking for dissent two minutes earlier.

Meanwhile, Simon Grayson admitted Davide Somma has given him a major selection headache after the South African striker came off the bench to score twice in Leeds' 3-1 victory over Championship rivals Millwall yesterday.

Elsewhere, David James had to pick the ball out of his net three times as Bristol City drew 3-3 with Barnsley.

Ireland's Kevin Kilbane was booked as Hull drew 0-0 at home to Watford, while Portsmouth were beaten 1-0 away to Preston.

Mackie saves Aberdeen

Darren Mackie sprang off the bench to ensure Aberdeen built on their opening-day win over Hamilton with another three points against St Johnstone. The match appeared to be heading for a disappointing stalemate, until Mackie's goal only five minutes from time.

In a league encounter of few goalscoring opportunities, Mackie's solitary strike was enough to give the Dons back-to-back victories after their headline-grabbing 4-0 hammering of Hamilton seven days earlier.

Andrew Considine had the ball in the net in the first half for the Pittodrie outfit only for referee Steven McLean to rule his header out for a foul. The home side were left to rue Kevin Rutkiewicz's costly first-half miss six yards out.

Speed's new life in fast lane

Gary Speed admits his first few days as Sheffield United manager have been "hectic" as he prepares for the Blades' trip to Middlesbrough today.

The former Leeds, Newcastle and Everton midfielder was appointed as new boss on Tuesday following the departure of Kevin Blackwell in the wake of the humiliating 3-0 home defeat by Neil Warnock's QPR.

Of his first few days in the job, Speed said: "They've been hectic, tiring but enjoyable. I've been on the phone for a lot of the time which is different, but it has been really good. "

Krasic heading to Juventus

Juventus have signed Serbia winger Milos Krasic from CSKA Moscow on a four-year contract for a fee of €15m.

"Krasic is a Juventus player after an agreement with CSKA Moscow has been finalised and it envisages the payment of €15m by Juventus in three installments," read a club statement.

Krasic won two Russian league titles, four Russian Cups and the 2005 UEFA Cup with CSKA after joining them from Serbian side Vojvodina Novi Sad in 2004.

Spanish halt fixing probe

The Spanish football federation [RFEF] has dropped investigations into alleged match fixing by promoted La Liga club Hercules, after being denied access to evidence from a separate judicial probe.

Taped conversations, collected by a judge as part of an investigation in Hercules' hometown of Alicante, have been widely reported in local media, allegedly suggesting the club tried to influence the outcome of matches. Hercules have denied any wrongdoing.

The judge ruled that releasing the tapes would violate the privacy and individual rights of those involved. Without any further evidenced, the RFEF's competitions committee "decided unanimously not to open a disciplinary investigation".

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport