Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

World records, cramp and crashes; Olympic velodrome’s got it all

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Excited Britons Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish interrupted their post-race media interviews to roar on four-times Olympic champion Chris Hoy after demolishing the women’s team sprint world record at the World Cup on Friday, one of four world-record breaking rides around the 2012 Olympics velodrome on day two of the test event’s competition.

Having sat down to avoid leg cramps, rather than standing like the other cyclists while reporters hustled them for a quick word, they paused as Hoy whizzed past at the Olympic velodrome amid a cauldron of noise and then promptly joined in.

“Go Chris!” they screamed at the top of their lungs, the pair having just slashed 0.074 of a second off the world record set minutes earlier by Australian world champions Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch.

“It’s just unbelievable, this track is amazing,” Varnish said as the partisan crowd cheered despite 10-times world champion Hoy only managing bronze in the men’s team sprint.

Ibrahimovic answers critics but questions remain about Milan

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Phil O’Connor

It’s taken a long time, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has finally delivered a performance worthy of his talent against an English team in the Champions League.

Long scoffed at by British fans and journalists  for his pale imitation of a  top-class striker in Europe’s top competition, Zlatan delivered something of a virtuoso performance as Milan thrashed Arsenal 4-0 at the San Siro, rendering the last 16 return leg in London next month all but meaningless.

Barca tired? Not on this evidence

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Men tuning in for lots of action in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg ties would have rued the decision to stay in front of the TV on Valentines’ Night when Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen and Olympique Lyon against APOEL Nicosia reached the 40-minute mark.

Both were 0-0. APOEL had not registered a shot on goal. Barcelona had dominated their German opposition with 78 per cent of possession, yet no opening score.

What can England achieve at Euro 2012?

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Whoever takes over from Fabio Capello either as a caretaker manager or a long-term replacement faces the dauting task of living up to somewhat unrealistic hopes that England will land their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

Let’s face it, the Three Lions have entered every tournament since, bar Euro 1996 on home soil, as one of the dark horses to bring the silverware back home but never as the top contenders among a plethora of more talented if not more resourceful nations taking centre stage either in European Championships or World Cups.

Mumbling Capello never at home in England

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By Mitch Phillips

Fabio Capello arrived in London four years ago with a sparkling CV but for all his club success he departed still barely able to speak English and with his adopted country frought with division and long shots for success at Euro 2012.

It is ironic that his tenure was effectively ended by an interview given in his native Italian, when he said he disagreed completely with the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.

from Photographers' Blog:

The fight of their lives

By Kai Pfaffenbach

Steve Marcus, our Boxing expert in Las Vegas, is maybe the one and only photographer within the company who has shot more World Championship title bouts than I have throughout the last couple of years.

I shot “Iron” Mike Tyson in Copenhagen, South Africa’s “White Buffalo” Francois Botha on several comebacks, I got my picture taken with Lennox Lewis after a fight I photographed and I followed the untouchable Klitschko brothers on their way to dominate the heavyweight class as only “The Greatest of All Times” (Muhammad Ali) did before!

NFL Superbowl live blog – New England Patriots against New York Giants

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Click here to join our Superbowl liveblog where we will bring you all the latest from one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.

Whether you are a New England Patriots fan, a New York Giants supporter or a neutral, give us your views on the Indianapolis showpiece.

Should Terry go to Euro 2012 at all?

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So now we know. John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy (again) but is available for selection for Euro 2012, which ends days before the start of his trial for alleged racist abuse.

Of course, Terry is innocent until found guilty and most fans would agree he should not be dropped from the team because of a so far unproven allegation, which he denies.

Best Australian Open semis and final – Rusedski

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By Greg Rusedski

Again, in the men’s draw it turned out to be all about the top four in the world. In the semi-finals it was Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic versus Andy Murray. Could Federer finally beat Nadal in a major again? The last time he beat Nadal at a major was 2007 in the Wimbledon final. Nadal leads Federer in their Grand Slam matches 7 wins to 2 losses.

Federer started like a house on fire to win the first set, but Nadal wasn’t worried. He knew he could not lose to Federer in a major because he knew that physically he would wear him down. When that happens Federer loses his concentration ever so fractionally and that is when Rafa pounces and turns the match in his favor. The strategy against Federer is simple for Nadal. Nadal’s left handed high heavy topspin forehand moves Federer all over the court and breaks down Federer’s backhand side. Physically, Federer cannot keep up with Nadal in a three out of five set match anymore. Federer has to beat Nadal in three sets, which is nearly impossible. Also on his serve Rafa can start the point on his terms because Federer cannot really attack his serve with the one-handed backhand.

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