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Man Utd's Bailly banned for two more European games

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has been given a three-match ban for his red card against Celta Vigo in the Europa League.The 23-year-old was sent off after a mass brawl in the semi-final on 11 May and missed the final against Ajax, which United…

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Lovingly taking turns to land a punch on their new friend | The Fiver

Today: Mr Wimpy, Ronald McDonald, Antonio Cassano, Phil Jones and Skegness

When The Fiver was young and bright-eyed in the early 1990s, it would sometimes attend birthday parties at Wimpy restaurants. Its own parties, obviously, because the dog apparently ate any invites to others’ as soon as they came through the letterbox. Halfway through the salty feast a weirdly taciturn character in oppressive layers of plasticky fancy dress would emerge from a doorway and engage in mime-based badinage with the children present, some of whom would lovingly take turns to land a punch on their new friend. The Fiver mentions Mr Wimpy because it therefore knows exactly how Manchester United and Real Madrid’s players must have felt when, undertaking the deadly serious business of pre-match handshakes before their under-attended friendly in Santa Clara, they were obliged to clench flesh with a certain Ronald McDonald – which sadly wasn’t the name of a Scottish referee flown in for the occasion.

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Lovingly taking turns to land a punch on their new friend | The Fiver

Today: Mr Wimpy, Ronald McDonald, Antonio Cassano, Phil Jones and Skegness

When The Fiver was young and bright-eyed in the early 1990s, it would sometimes attend birthday parties at Wimpy restaurants. Its own parties, obviously, because the dog apparently ate any invites to others’ as soon as they came through the letterbox. Halfway through the salty feast a weirdly taciturn character in oppressive layers of plasticky fancy dress would emerge from a doorway and engage in mime-based badinage with the children present, some of whom would lovingly take turns to land a punch on their new friend. The Fiver mentions Mr Wimpy because it therefore knows exactly how Manchester United and Real Madrid’s players must have felt when, undertaking the deadly serious business of pre-match handshakes before their under-attended friendly in Santa Clara, they were obliged to clench flesh with a certain Ronald McDonald – which sadly wasn’t the name of a Scottish referee flown in for the occasion.

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Derrick Rose holds talks with Cleveland Cavaliers, according to reports

Eastern Conference champions have had troubled off-seasonRose talks come as reports indicate Kyrie Irving wants to leave CavsTwo people familiar with the negotiations have told the Associated Press that former MVP Derrick Rose is meeting with the Cleve…

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Benjamin Mendy: It’s a dream to play in the Premier League – video

Manchester City’s latest signing Benjamin Mendy says he has dreamed of playing in the Premier League since he was a child. The full-back joins City from Monaco on a five-year contract in a deal worth £52m, a world record fee for a defender. ‘I bring a lot of creativity to the game,’ the Frenchman says

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Women’s World Cup moves cricket closer to Olympic return in 2024

• Popularity of women’s tournament has helped sway the ICC and the IOC
• India’s BCCI will meet on Wednesday to discuss its support, seen as vital

The success of the Women’s World Cup won by England on Sunday and watched by millions around the globe has propelled cricket closer to a return to the Olympic Games in 2024. The International Cricket Council is determined to capitalise on recent advances in the women’s game and push on with a bid for Twenty20 competitions, for both genders, to be included. Agreement with the Games is considered closer than ever.

After the World Cup, the ICC recognises how cricket featuring in the Olympics would give the women’s game even greater profile and open up new funding from national governments. There is stronger support for the concept among the ICC’s 104 members than ever before, recognising the opportunity that the Olympics presents.

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Women’s World Cup moves cricket closer to Olympic return in 2024

• Popularity of women’s tournament has helped sway the ICC and the IOC
• India’s BCCI will meet on Wednesday to discuss its support, seen as vital

The success of the Women’s World Cup won by England on Sunday and watched by millions around the globe has propelled cricket closer to a return to the Olympic Games in 2024. The International Cricket Council is determined to capitalise on recent advances in the women’s game and push on with a bid for Twenty20 competitions, for both genders, to be included. Agreement with the Games is considered closer than ever.

After the World Cup, the ICC recognises how cricket featuring in the Olympics would give the women’s game even greater profile and open up new funding from national governments. There is stronger support for the concept among the ICC’s 104 members than ever before, recognising the opportunity that the Olympics presents.

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Why I don’t think Chris Froome will win a fifth Tour de France | William Fotheringham

Team Sky’s champion never looked dominant in the 2017 race despite a lack of seasoned contenders and, at 32, he cannot go on defying the years

With no disrespect to Chris Froome immediately after his fourth Tour de France win I do not believe the Team Sky leader will make it five and thus join the ranks of the immortals: Indurain, Merckx, Hinault and Anquetil – not next year and probably not the year after. I appreciate that accusations that I am indulging in anti-Team Sky, anti-Froome wishful thinking will flood in but I would like to think the judgment is based on logical analysis as well as emotion. That is not emotion in the tear‑your‑hair‑out sense but on the feeling you get in your bones.

This was not actually the closest of the Froome Tours: that was 2015, when Nairo Quintana had the form to win and might well have done so if Movistar had been more dynamic before unleashing him at L’Alpe d’Huez. However, the 2017 race was a Tour in which Froome never looked dominant. Not winning a stage is not a sign of a lack of charisma – winning bike races is hardly simple, as everyone knows – but it is usually an indication that a champion is not quite what he was.

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Championship, League One and League Two: how will your club do this season?

The new Football League season kicks off in less than a fortnight. How will your club fare this year?

With the arrival of August comes the promise of another Football League season. It’s time to draw a line under disappointments from last year and find new optimism before your club’s first fixture. We’d like to hear your thoughts on the new campaign.

Has a successful pre-season instilled a new belief that this might be your year to shine? Maybe a necessary change of manager or an inspired bit of transfer business has changed your club’s prospects? Whether you’re a Forest Green Rovers fan preparing for your first Football League season or a Sunderland supporter preparing to watch your team slog it out in the Championship, we’d like to hear your views on the season ahead. We’ll use the best submissions to put together a club-by-club guide before the big kick-off in August.

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Michael Phelps races a great white shark (sort of) – video

Olympic great Michael Phelps races a ‘great white shark’ on Sunday as part of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. The shark was in-fact a computer simulation rather than a actual great white but its swim speed was calculated using data collected from the real thing. Phelps finished the 100m course in 38 seconds, two second slower than the ‘shark’

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‘His head isn’t right’: Antonio Cassano leaves Verona but vows to play on

• Former Italy striker looking for new cub after leaving Serie B side
• ‘There’s an up and a down with him, he talks and then he’s silent’

Antonio Cassano’s shortlived spell at Verona is at an end after the Italian club’s president confirmed the veteran striker has left the club because “his head isn’t right”.

Cassano, who won 39 caps for Italy, joined Verona on 10 July but decided to retire from football a week later, before being persuaded to perform a dramatic U-turn within hours of announcing his decision. Less than seven days later, however, the 35-year-old has now decided to go through with his threat to leave the Serie B club.

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Manchester City sign £52m Benjamin Mendy to take spending over £200m

• Mendy signs five-year contract from Monaco
• Transfer fee is world record for a defender

Manchester City have announced the signing of Benjamin Mendy from Monaco on a five-year contract for a fee of around £52m (€57.5m). The France international had been identified as a key target by Pep Guardiola following the departure of left-back Gaël Clichy, while Aleksandar Kolarov also left for Roma last week.

Mendy came through Le Havre’s youth system before a move to Marseille in 2013. The 23-year-old switched to Monaco last summer for £11m where he established himself as one of the best full-backs in world football with his powerful and direct style of play, during a season in which the club claimed the French title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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Soccer – United trio to miss start of season

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young will not have recovered from their injuries in time for the start of the Premier League season in less than three weeks’ time.

Shaw is continuing his reco…

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Soccer – United trio to miss start of season

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young will not have recovered from their injuries in time for the start of the Premier League season in less than three weeks’ time.

Shaw is continuing his reco…

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County cricket talking points: Ross Whiteley hits six sixes … and loses

Ross Whiteley scored 37 in one over for Worcestershire but David Willey’s 118 helped Yorkshire win the match and climb to the top of their T20 Blast group

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Kevin Pietersen’s Surrey (see what I did there) top the South Group after a couple of strange matches at The Oval. On Wednesday, a raucous (but not too raucous) capacity crowd saw him almost single-handedly get Surrey up to 150, a score that proved good enough on a slow pitch exploited with Yorkshire nous by Gareth Batty, whose four overs brought him 2-19. But back to Pietersen, as always seems to be the case. Having been badly dropped at cow corner by Dan Lawrence and “running” like a stiff Alastair Cook, he appeared to decide to hit sixes and five of the match’s eight flew off his bat. In more ways than one, he played like a right-handed version of Chris Gayle – whether that is a good look these days remains to be seen. It worked in this match, no other batsman crossing 30, as Essex fell 11 short of their target.

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Soccer – Pellegrino admits to transfer struggles

Mauricio Pellegrino has admitted that he is finding it difficult to add some depth to his Southampton squad this summer.

The former Alaves coach has been in charge at St Mary’s for a month and is keen to bring in some new faces, particularly as Virgi…

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Soccer – Pellegrino admits to transfer struggles

Mauricio Pellegrino has admitted that he is finding it difficult to add some depth to his Southampton squad this summer.

The former Alaves coach has been in charge at St Mary’s for a month and is keen to bring in some new faces, particularly as Virgi…

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Soccer – Koscielny has no desire to leave Arsenal

Central defender Laurent Koscielny says he is not interested in leaving Arsenal even though he continues to be linked with a transfer to Marseille.

The 31-year-old moved to the Gunners seven years ago from Lorient and has started more than 200 Premie…

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Soccer – Koscielny has no desire to leave Arsenal

Central defender Laurent Koscielny says he is not interested in leaving Arsenal even though he continues to be linked with a transfer to Marseille.

The 31-year-old moved to the Gunners seven years ago from Lorient and has started more than 200 Premie…

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‘David slew Goliath’: Jamaica upset Mexico to reach Gold Cup final

  • Kemar Lawrence’s 88th minute free-kick seals game for Reggae Boyz
  • Jamaica will play USA in Wednesday’s final in Santa Clara

After Kemar Lawrence ripped an exquisite shot over Mexico’s wall and into the top corner for one of the biggest goals in Jamaican football history, the defender hushed his team-mates and refused to celebrate. Lawrence’s 25-yard free kick came in the 88th minute, and Jamaica advanced to the final with a 1-0 upset victory over Mexico on Sunday night.

“I think our guys were hungry,” Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said. “They needed it more than the Mexicans, and we did what we had to do.”

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