Weekend sport round up
After another action packed weekend of sport in London and England here’s our weekly summary of the highlights.
There were no Premier League or Championship fixtures this weekend due to the on-going international break.
England were in action at Wembley for their European Championship qualifier. After a dull first half England came from behind to beat Slovenia 3-1 and maintain their unbeaten start to the European Qualifiers.
It was also a memorable day for Wayne Rooney as Sir Bobby Charlton presented him with a golden cap, accompanied by his sons Kai and Klay, before kick-off to celebrate a landmark 100 international appearances. Rooney also scored his 44th goal for England from the penalty spot, putting him joint-third with Jimmy Greaves in the all-time standings and moving him to within five of Charlton’s record.
His goal sparked a comeback a minute after England went behind to a Jordan Henderson own goal. Danny Welbeck grabbed the next two goals, securing England’s fourth successive win, one a scuffed finish and the other an angled shot, bringing his tally to an impressive five goals in qualifying. Despite the dire first half manager Roy Hodgson said he was not “disappointed in any way about our performance and would be surprised if the crowd were”.
England now lead group E by six points, their next fixture is the highly anticipated friendly with Scotland at Celtic Park tomorrow evening. Hodgson is expected to experiment with his side for the match and has confirmed first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart will return to his club leading the way for either Fraiser Forster or Ben Foster to start. There should also be a debut for striker Saido Berahino in what is the latest edition of the world’s oldest fixture.
Scotland also celebrated victory this weekend gaining a hard fought 1-0 win over Ireland. Shaun Maloney scored the superb goal in what was otherwise a close contest. They are now level with the Irish and Germany on seven points after four games, while Poland are three points clear.
Wales battled to a goalless draw with Belgium to maintain their unbeaten start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. The Welsh fought hard during the first half to keep their opponents at bay with Eden Hazard impressing in particular. Bale could have given his side the lead in the second half but narrowly missed having passed most of Belgium’s defenders. Belgium almost took the lead near the end of the game through Christian Benteke but the striker’s header was cleared off the line.
England suffered their fifth defeat in a row after being beaten by South Africa 31-28.
In another disappointing display at Twickenham, which was struck by a local power outage just hours before kick-off, England were already down by 12 points early in the second half, there was a response however as driving mauls from David Wilson and Ben Morgan secured back-to-back tries. Despite this, a try from Schalk Burger and a drop goal from fly-half Pat Lambie added to England’s miseries.
The defeat followed last week’s 24-21 loss to New Zealand and will now cause concern for Stuart Lancaster’s side’s chances at next Year’s World Cup where his side will be hosts. Lacaster remained positive after the match saying, “I believe in the coaches, I believe in the players and I believe in what we’re doing”.
England’s next big test will be against Australia who are also their rivals in Group A at next year’s tournament. Lancaster’s side will be hoping for a good performance to rescue their autumn campaign.
Wales also struggled to overcome Fiji, winning 17-13 in unconvincing fashion while Scotland were beaten by New Zealand 24-16.
Novak Djokovic was crowned the winner at the ATP World final for a third consecutive time by default after Roger Federer’s decision to withdraw from the match following a back injury. The Swiss announced he was “not match-fit” and came out to apologise in person to the crowd at the O2 Arena.
Federer had reached the final the day before after a thrilling three-set semi-final against Stan Wawrinka, 4-6 7-5 7-6 (8-6), that lasted two hours and 48 minutes.
Two exhibition matches were arranged to take place instead of the final. Djokovic beat Andy Murray 8-5 in a pro set in the first match before the British number one paired up with John McEnroe to beat Tim Henman and Pat Cash 8-6 in a doubles contest.
Picture Credits: @england, @EnglandRugby, @SkySports