Sportsday - Wednesday 20 November as it happened

Ashes news ahead of series, Kevin Pietersen set for 100th Test and how will England fare in Brisbane?

20 November 2013 Last updated at 08:06 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 1855: 

    That is all for Sportsday Live for today, but of course, there is plenty still to come with the Ashes first Test in Brisbane getting under way at midnight. You can listen to ball-by-ball commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and there will be live text commentary online.

    There is also plenty of build up over the next few hours, starting with Flintoff's Ashes Roadshow on BBC Radio 5 live from 1900. Enjoy the rest of the evening!

  2. 1850: 

    Captain Nili Latu says Shaun Edwards' demands for the referee to protect Wales from Tongan indiscipline are an "insult" to his players.

    Prop Sona Taumalolo and French lock Yoann Maestri were sent off for fighting in their 38-18 loss to France and Sea Eagles scrum-half Taniela Moa was sin-binned. Wales face Tonga on Friday with defence coach Edwards calling for referee Mike Fraser to protect his players.

    "For me that is an insult," says Latu.

  3. 1840: 

    Former Inverness boss John Robertson reveals he would be interested in a return to management with the Highland club.

    Caley Thistle are on the lookout for a new manager after Terry Butcher quit to take over at Scottish Premiership rivals Hibernian. Robertson - who has been coaching with former club Hearts - was manager of Inverness between 2002 and 2004 and guided them into the top flight for the first time in the club's history, as well as winning the Challenge Cup.

    Asked if he would be interested in a return, he told STV's website: "Absolutely. I've had success there in the past with the championship and the cup win and a couple of semi-finals as well."

  4. 1830:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveASHES

    It's Ashes from 1900 GMT with Mark Chapman in London for Flintoff's Ashes Roadshow & Mark Pougatch in Brisbane.

  5. 1827: 

    London Broncos confirm their intention to appoint administrators as speculation over the embattled Super League club grows.

    The Londoners have been racked by uncertainty in the past few months, with rumours swirling that owner David Hughes was set to withdraw his support after failing to receive guarantees over the club's Super League status following the decision to re-instate promotion and relegation from the end of next season. However, Wednesday's announcement has been made to resolve the club's future.

    "London Broncos Rugby League Club have today instructed lawyers to file a Notice of Intention to appoint administrators over the club," said a statement on behalf of the Broncos.

  6. 1820: 

    South Africa waste a sparkling 72-run opening partnership between Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla to post a modest 153-7 in the first Twenty20 against Pakistan on Wednesday.

    De Kock made 43 off 33 and Amla added 31 off 20 to send South Africa racing away in the first match of Pakistan's short limited-over series at the Wanderers.

    Pakistan's spinners pulled it back with Mohammad Hafeez (2-25) removing Amla and De Kock within nine runs of each other. Shahid Afridi's quicker ball then rattled into Henry Davids' stumps. Captain Faf du Plessis attempted to re-ignite the innings with his 22 and David Miller helped with some big hitting from No. 6. The left-hander struck a six and two fours in his 19 from 11 balls.


    Andrew Priestley: Really looking forward to the Ashes. England look very strong and Australia have a point to prove on home soil. Goodbye sleep!

    Adu: Australia to put up a much better fight this time. They look a much better side with Bailey and Mitch in the squad!!

    Siva Iyer: Steak bought, beer chilled, sleeping pattern corrected. Its Ashes time! Bring it on!

  8. 1807: 

    Earlier we asked the following Question of Sport Teaser: Who are the nine men to play in an Ashes Test since 2000 whose surnames start with the letter S?

    The answers are Siddle, Silverwood, Slater, Smith, Starc, Stewart, Strauss, Swann and Symonds.

  9. 1758: 
    Vanishing Spray

    Fifa will let referees use a vanishing spray to mark out the distance for a defensive wall from a free kick during matches at the Club World Cup in Morocco next month.

    Referees paint a white line 9.15 meters (10 yards) from the ball which defenders must stay behind at a free kick. The line disappears within one minute.

    Fifa's head of refereeing Massimo Busacca says feedback from Morocco and trials at Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups this year will help decide if the tests are extended. The spray is popular in South America but is not widely used elsewhere.

  10. 1752: 

    Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes will be sidelined for six weeks after injuring his right calf in Spain's humbling 1-0 defeat to South Africa.

    The 31-year-old Valdes's problem adds to growing injury woes at Barcelona, with four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi heading a lengthening list on the treatment table. Medical tests in Barcelona on Wednesday confirmed that Valdes had a torn right calf, the club said in a statement.

    "The approximate time off is about six weeks," Barcelona said.

  11. 1749: 

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter described the labour rights situation in 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar as unacceptable and agreed that the situation had to change.

    Blatter met International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) president Michael Sommer three days after Amnesty International became the latest organisation to publish a scathing report on the treatment of migrant workers in the country. Fifa said in a statement it agreed that "fair working conditions must be introduced quickly, consistently and on a sustained basis" in Qatar.

    "Economic and political leaders must contribute to improving the unacceptable situation in Qatar," Blatter said in the statement.

    GET INVOLVED- They played both
    Chris Balderstone

    Richard Pierce: The late, great Chris Balderstone - football for Doncaster Rovers, cricket for Yorkshire and England.

    Bruce Bignell: Chris balderdtone played county championship for Derbyshire and league football for Doncaster rovers on the same day!

    With the Ashes beginning at midnight, and Premier League football back this weekend, we are asking for you to name players to have played both sports. #bbcsportsday

  13. 1730: 

    Leeds defender Scott Wootton will spend the next few weeks on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury.

    Yeovil and Reading have mutually agreed to cut short goalkeeper Stuart Taylor's loan stay in Somerset for personal reasons after just 48 hours. Meanwhile, teenage defender Liam Kelly, 17, has signed a professional contract with the Royals which will keep him at the Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2015.

    Rotherham have signed Wigan forward Nouha Dicko, 21, on a short-term loan deal until January, while Newport have signed Gloucester City striker Joe Parker on a pre-contract agreement. The 18-year-old will join County in January but the deal will see him loaned back to the non-league club for the remainder of the season.

  14. 1720: 

    Hamburg's Dutch captain Rafael van der Vaart will miss Sunday's Bundesliga clash at home to Hanover and faces a lengthy lay off after damaging his ankle while on international duty.

    The 30-year-old had to be helped off just before half-time in the Netherlands' goalless draw with Colombia in Amsterdam on Tuesday and an MRI scan in Hamburg confirmed a severe ligament injury in his right ankle.

  15. 1718: 

    Australia captain Michael Clarke only has a few hours to wait to see if his prediction about England's XI for the first Ashes Test comes true.

    Clarke quipped last week that he already knew what side England would line up with in Brisbane for the opening salvo of the five-match series, which begins overnight.

    "I saw Alastair Cook at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Sydney, and fortunately enough he gave me their team as well for the first Test match. So I know he hasn't announced it yet, but I thought this was a good opportunity for me to announce it."

    GET INVOLVED- They played both
    CB Fry

    Pal Spurs: CB Fry captained England cricket and played in FA Cup final. Was nearly King of Albania too! Greatest English polymath ever!

    Keeleboy: No mention of Mr C B Fry. Played for England in both ad potential king of Albania. Croydon and national legend.

  17. 1711: 
    BBC coverage

    The first Ashes Test in Brisbane may still be seven hours away but we have plenty of build-up to keep you entertained in the interim.

    First up, at 1900 GMT, Flintoff's Ashes Roadshow is on BBC Radio 5 live, with Andrew Flintoff and Mark Chapman look ahead to the start of the winter Ashes series. That is then followed by Not Just Cricket at 2030 - Greg James presents the first in a special Ashes series of shows featuring special guests, music, cricket chat and insight ahead of the start of the day's play.

    Finally, at 2330, Test Match Special coverage gets under way on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, ahead of play beginning at midnight.

  18. 1703: 

    Britain's Chris Kermode is the new head of men's tennis after being appointed executive chairman and president of the ATP.

    Kermode is the man behind the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena and the tournament director of the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club, and was the unanimous choice of the ATP board.

    GET INVOLVED- They played both
    Andy Goram

    David Ragg: Andy Goram played cricket in the Saddleworth League when he played for Oldham, before playing for Scotland at both sports.

  20. 1645: 

    Scotland and Arsenal Ladies star Kim Little joins Seattle Reign on a long-term contract.

    Since breaking into the Gunners' senior side at 17, the midfielder, 23, has helped the team to four league titles, three FA Cups and four League Cups.

  21. 1643: 

    Tonga will field a team showing four changes from the side beaten by France for Friday night's match with Wales.

    Prop Sona Taumalolo, who is serving a four-week suspension after being sent off for striking Les Bleus lock Yoann Maestri four days ago, is replaced by Melbourne Rebels' Eddie Aholelei.

    Two other switches in the pack see starts for tighthead prop Sila Puafisi and number eight Viliami Ma'afu, while Latiume Fosita gains a place at fly-half.

  22. 1637: 

    Juan Agudelo's hopes of joining Stoke in January look to be over after the club were denied a work permit for the USA international striker.

    The 20-year-old signed a pre-contract agreement with the Potters in August and had been expected to move to the Britannia Stadium in January when his deal with Major League Soccer side New England Revolution expired.

    Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes and manager Mark Hughes presented the case at a hearing in London on Wednesday but the panel rejected it and the Potters have no right to appeal the decision.

    GET INVOLVED- They played both
    Denis Compton

    Chris Baldwin: Denis Compton. Played for Arsenal and of course an English cricket legend

    Tony McMahon: Viv Richards played football for Antigua and cricket for...well, you know the rest

    Fahad Khan: Gary Neville was going to be the next England cricket superstar if he hadn't joined some football club named Manchester United.

    With the Ashes beginning at midnight, and Premier League football back this weekend, we are asking for you to name players to have played both sports. #bbcsportsday

  24. 1630: 

    Former Leeds defender Lucas Radebe has confirmed he is part of a consortium looking to buy a stake in the Yorkshire club.

    The 44-year-old made over 250 appearances for the Whites during his playing career and returned to Elland Road in October as a special guest for the game against Birmingham.

    And now the South African has revealed on his personal website he is looking into buying a part of the club.

  25. 1625: 

    James Hook will make his final appearance of Wales' autumn Test series on Friday night against Tonga and insists he has no regrets about moving to French club rugby.

    Wales coach Warren Gatland cannot consider Hook for next week's finale against Australia because it falls outside the International Rugby Board autumn window.

    "For me, it's been great," said 28-year-old Hook. "I've no regrets about it (moving to France), it has enhanced my rugby and I think I'm a better player because of it."

  26. 1618: 
    GET INVOLVED- They played both
    Ian Botham

    The Premier League swings back into action this weekend after the international break, meaning football and of course the Ashes are likely to dominate the headlines in the coming days.

    As a bit of fun in the build up to both - which players can you think of who have famously played both sports. To kick things off, how about Ian Botham. The former England Test cricketer and captain also played as centre half for Yeovil and Scunthorpe during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    Who else has played both sports? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  27. 1613: 

    The Brisbane-based Courier Mail has announced a "Broad Ban" - it will not feature Stuart Broad's name in its match reports, with the story subheading "Gabba fans' silent weapon against smug Pommie cheat".

    Read about this and more in the BBC Sport Ashes Gossip column.

  28. 1604: 

    Brian O'Driscoll says Ireland will endure another humiliation against New Zealand if they do not improve hugely from the defeat by Australia.

    New Zealand routed the Ireland 60-0 in their last clash 17 months ago and the Irish have never beaten the All Blacks.

    "We were poor against Australia and that level isn't acceptable," added the 34-year-old ahead of Sunday's Test.

    "If we play anything like that level against the All Blacks there is the potential for a cricket score."

  29. 1558: 

    Southampton forward Adam Lallana has said he is desperate to earn a place in the England squad for next summer's World Cup.

    "Playing in the two games has given me even more drive to go back and perform week in week out with Southampton because I'm desperate to be in the next squad and get to Brazil," said Lallana, who played against Chile and Germany.

    "The hairs on the back of my neck stood up when I walked out in front of a packed crowd. To get two caps at Wembley against tough opposition is a proud moment for me and my family but I don't want that to be it. I want more."

  30. 1552: 
    Cricket in China

    In 2012, 24-year old Jiang Shuyao made sporting history when he became the first mainland Chinese cricketer to play for an English league side.

    Jiang's debut season with Cleethorpes Cricket Club drew attention to the rising popularity of the quintessentially British sport in the People's Republic of China.

    The Chinese Cricket Association has set itself the target of achieving Test match status and playing against the likes of England, Australia and South Africa by 2020.

    Fred Dove has been meeting some of China's finest cricketers for BBC Radio 4, and talking to those attempting to make the game of WG Grace and Donald Bradman part of the Chinese way of life.

  31. 1546: 
    Olympic Stadium

    West Ham's Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble, Joe Cole and Mohammed Diame stand in the terrace at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford as heavy lifting cranes sit idle at the after weather conditions delayed the removal of the first floodlight panels.

    Work is under way to transform the stadium into a year round multi-use venue and the permanent home of West Ham and the new national competition stadium for UK Athletics.

  32. 1539: 

    British number one Laura Robson is to work with veteran American coach Nick Saviano and Jesse Witten, the teenager's agent has confirmed.

    Robson has been without a coach since splitting from Miles Maclagan last month and has been training at Saviano's academy in Florida during the off-season.

    She has worked briefly with 57-year-old Saviano as a junior and has since gone through a string of coaches, including Martijn Bok, Patrick Mouratoglou, Zeljko Krajan and Maclagan.

  33. 1531: 
    ASHES- Remember 1986?

    Where were you when England last beat Australia in Brisbane? You have to go back to 1986 for England's last victory at the Gabba, when Ian Botham hit 138 as tourists rattled up 456 after being asked to bat first.

    Graham Dilley then took 5-68 as Australia followed on and five wickets from John Emburey in the second innings left England chasing 75 to win, which they duly did.

    It has been a long wait for an England victory in Brisbane. Can this current team end Australia's unbeaten run?

  34. 1526: 

    Fifa will await the official report from Croatia's World Cup play-off victory over Iceland before deciding whether to issue disciplinary charges after claims of pro-Nazi chants.

    Footage shows Croatia defender Josip Simunic rallying fans over a microphone after the 2-0 win by shouting "for the homeland" - the fans respond "ready".

    That chant appears to originate from the Ustashas, the Croatian pro-Nazi regime that ruled during World War II.

    Simunic says he "did nothing wrong", adding: "Some people have to learn some history. I'm not afraid.

    "I'm supporting my Croatia, my homeland. If someone has something against it, that's their problem."

  35. 1521:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveASHES

    Got two minutes to spare and fancy reliving England's win of the summer Ashes series? Listen to the highlights in bite sized form on the BBC Radio 5 live website.

  36. 1518:  
    Alec Stewart, BBC Test Match Special commentator on the Ashes

    "These are the days you dream of as an international cricketer.

    "Walking out to play for your country in an Ashes Test makes all the sacrifices you've made to play the sport at the highest level worthwhile.

    "As ever with an Ashes contest, the build-up has been more intense than before any other series. Words have been exchanged, articles written and there has been plenty of flak flying in the direction of the England team from the Aussie press, players and fans alike.

    "But now the time for talking is over. It is essential England's cricketers overcome any pre-match nerves and are able to show off the talents that we all know they have."

    Read more of Alec Stewart's column ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

    GET INVOLVED #bbcsportsday

    Chris Parker: With this Ashes being brought forward it could be the last one for some (Prior, Bell, KP) 5-0 too much to ask? I hope not

    How will you be following the Ashes action? Will you be heading anywhere at midnight to watch with others, or following live text and listening to Test Match Special commentary? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  38. 1510:  
    Ben Smith, BBC Sport

    "West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino is expected to sign a new long-term contract with the club in the coming days.

    "The 20-year-old, who has scored 12 goals for club and country this season, will earn a significant pay rise on his current £850-per-week deal. Talks between the parties have been ongoing for some time, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton understood to have been monitoring the situation.

    "But Berahino is now preparing to commit his future to West Brom much to the relief of manager Steve Clarke, who feared he could lose the player with his contract due to expire at the end of the season."

  39. 1459: 

    Who will be the key players? What are the crucial battles? And where will the urn be heading? BBC Test Match Special commentator Simon Hughes has assessed where the Ashes series will be won and lost.

    The Urn

    "Negotiating the new ball will be key because England cannot afford as many poor starts as they did at home," Hughes tells BBC Sport.

    "Plus, if Kevin Pietersen, at number four, gets in against the old ball, he scores so quickly he can change the momentum of a game - and the series."

  40. 1447: 

    Portsmouth have signed versatile defender Dan Potts from Premier League club West Ham on a month's loan.

    The 19-year-old played two Premier League games last season after a loan spell at League One side Colchester.

    His only senior appearance so far this term came in West Ham's 2-0 Capital One Cup win at Burnley last month.

  41. 1440: 

    Former world champion Dai Greene has Kriss Akabusi's 21-year-old 400m hurdles British record in his sights as he bids to fight back after two years of injury-plagued disappointment.

    The 2011 World Champion was hampered by a knee injury in his home Olympics and suffered the agony of finishing fourth in both his favoured event and the 4x400m relay.

    He said: "For me it would be fantastic to beat the record because I've been so close to it for a number of years.

    "I know Kriss very well. He's always been incredibly supportive and he's even nicer than when you see him on the TV. But the main focus is always on winning medals first and then the times will follow, so you can't get too hung up on it."

    Ben Dirs, BBC SportRUGBY UNION

    "While most of England's 2003 World Cup winners were gathered at Twickenham a fortnight ago, celebrating the 10th anniversary of that famous victory in Sydney, Ben Cohen was dancing a whole-hearted Paso Doble.

    "Chest out, twirling a cape, making "angry eyes" at judge Craig Revel Horwood, who was impressed by Cohen's "power and machismo". Cohen's team-mates missed a Strictly masterclass, although Martin Johnson presumably records it.

    "From waltzing down wings to waltzing across ballrooms, life has a peculiar way of panning out. But all that power and machismo has to have an outlet."

    Read more of Ben Dirs' interview with Ben Cohen on the BBC Sport website.

  43. 1427: 

    Eleven-time Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey will return to competitive cycling next week for the first time since having a baby at the end of June.

    "I can't wait to race again, and it's great that British Cycling, UK Sport and Newport City Council have come together to provide this opportunity," said Storey, who will compete at a three-day event in Newport from 29 November.

    "I'm looking forward to being able to measure my fitness against the best in the world, as well as being able to once again compete in front of a home crowd."

  44. 1420: 

    Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has not set a date for his return from injury but says he feels better.

    The Argentine, 26, was ruled out for between six and eight weeks this month because of a hamstring injury.

    "I'm better, improving little by little, I'm nearly without any pain and starting to do little things," he said after being presented with the Golden Boot award.

    "I haven't put a return date. If everything goes well this will be the date (first game of next year) to return, but we'll see how the recovery goes. It will happen when it has to happen."

  45. 1414: 

    Nottinghamshire have signed Australian batsman Phil Jaques on a short-term contract for the start of next year's LV County Championship season.

    The 34-year-old, who scored 770 Championship runs for Yorkshire last season and has also played for Worcestershire, will be available until mid-June after Notts gave opener Alex Hales permission to seek an Indian Premier League contract.

    Director of cricket Mick Newell said: "Phil has scored runs consistently for Yorkshire over the past couple of seasons and he is highly regarded within the game for his ability and for his character."

  46. 1409: 
    The Ashes

    Alastair Cook's England intend to storm fortress Brisbane in pursuit of a remarkable fourth successive Ashes series victory.

    Not since the days of WG Grace, back in 1890, have England managed to complete a sequence of four or more series wins over their oldest opponents.

    Australia have not lost in Brisbane for quarter of a century, and Cook says: "Australia have a very good record in Brisbane, and it's our job to try to change that. We've spoken about their record here - not losing for 25 years is a good achievement."

  47. 1400: 

    Ex-England seamer Steve Harmison thinks Durham's Ben Stokes has a good chance of playing in the second Ashes Test.

    All-rounder Stokes is unlikely to be selected for Thursday's opener in Brisbane as England are expected to use an orthodox four-man bowling attack. The wicket at Adelaide, the venue for the second fixture, has a reputation for being flat and high-scoring.

    "For that pitch, I think there's a spot up for grabs to have a fifth bowler and Ben is that player," says Harmison.

  48. 1355: 

    Paul Di Resta admits his Formula 1 future is out of his hands as speculation mounts that he will be without a drive in 2014.

    The Scot's Force India team are said by sources to be poised to re-sign Nico Hulkenberg from Sauber and have also been linked with McLaren's Sergio Perez.

    Di Resta said: "They know what I'm capable of, they know what I can deliver. I feel like I'm an asset to the team. But I can't make the decision for them, and I have to respect their decision."

  49. 1350: 
    Ashes weather

    Those of you currently sat in a chilly UK might want to look away now. This is the weather forecast for the opening day of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane - clear skies and a high of 28 degrees. In November. It's alright for some.

  50. 1343: 

    Record-breaking jockey AP McCoy will miss his five rides at Warwick on Wednesday after suffering severe bruising in a fall.

    The 18-time champion, who passed the unprecedented milestone of 4,000 winners earlier in the month, was injured at Fakenham's Tuesday meeting. "The doctor wasn't willing to pass him fit today," says Warwick clerk of the course Sulekha Varma.

    McCoy, 39, hopes to be back in action at Chepstow on Thursday.

  51. 1339: 
    WHAT THE PAPERS SAID- France 3-0 Ukraine

    The simple headline in big, bold letters on the front page of sports daily L'Equipe summed it up best: "Respect."

    After France overturned a two-goal deficit to qualify for the World Cup with a 3-0 win over Ukraine, the local press united in praise of the national team. Written off by a scathing media, France somehow found the resources to produce its best performance in many years in a passionate atmosphere at Stade de France.

    "This will stay with us for life," France winger Franck Ribery said. "It's a match we'll never forget."

  52. 1331: 
    Mike Gatting

    New MCC president Mike Gatting has been given the task of staying up and guarding the Ashes urn in an all-night vigil.

    Gatting, who captained England to success in 1986-87 Ashes, has popped on a pair of red and yellow MCC pyjamas and will be joined by 50 cricket fans from across Britain in aid of a cricketing charity.

    How will you be following the Ashes action? Will you be heading anywhere at midnight to watch with others, or following live text and listening to Test Match Special commentary while pretending to be asleep at home? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  53. 1321: 

    Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels will be out until January while Marcel Schmelzer will miss Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich after they were injured in Germany's 1-0 win over England on Tuesday.

    Already hit by a string of injuries that have forced coach Jurgen Klopp to search for another central midfielder, the news could not be worse ahead of the derby with leaders Bayern.

    Hummels picked up a heel bone injury in the friendly at Wembley and has been ruled out for the rest of the year while fellow defender Schmelzer suffered a calf muscle injury and will be sidelined for three weeks, Dortmund said on Wednesday.


    Beau Edwards: Massive insult from Harmison to many players, chiefly Beefy Botham and Jack Hobb.

    Joel Fentem: Australia can talk all they like, England batsman in better form than the summer and England will comfortably.

    What are your predictions for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane? Sir Ian Botham believe England can win 5-0 but will it be as straightforward as that? Let us know, #bbcsportsday

  55. 1313:  
    Tom Fordyce, BBC Sport in BribaneASHES

    "The first thing you notice on arriving in the Australian summer from an English winter is the light: sharp, unrelenting, rebounding off every surface.

    "The next is the colour - bright greens, unbroken blues. Then there is the prevailing mood: bullish, aggressive, at the same time both welcoming and decidedly punchy.

    "For a nation that has lost the last three Ashes series by a combined margin of eight wins to two, Australia seems remarkably chipper about its chances this time around."

    Read more from BBC Sport's chief sports writer Tom Fordyce, who is in Brisbane for the first Ashes test.

  56. 1305: 
    Australia The Ashes

    Like Kevin Pietersen, most of those in Brisbane will be bedding down for the night to ensure they are well rested ahead of the Ashes series getting under way at midnight.

    That gives us the chance to have a sneak peek inside the Australia dressing room. They could have tidied up a bit!

  57. 1300: 

    Want to know how you can follow the Ashes? There will be ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary from 23:30 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and via the BBC iPlayer Radio app, BBC Sport website & BBC Sport app.

    There will also be updates on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website, app & mobile devices. Wherever you might be when it gets under way, you can follow the action via the BBC.

    Then after play, there is the choice of our highlights programme on 5 live sports extra or Mark Pougatch co-hosting "Ashes Breakfast" on 5 live. Plus, for the first time from 11:00 GMT you will be able to relive all the action and TMS banter as we replay the whole day's play on 5 live sports extra and online. It will be like listening to TMS in the summer!

  58. 1257: 

    It has just gone 11pm in Brisbane and England batsman Kevin Pietersen has decided to get some sleep ahead of the Ashes series getting under way.

    He tweets: "Night guys! Cannot wait to hear the The Barmy Army tomorrow! The best team will win of course.. Hope it's us!"

  59. 1251:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveASHES

    It is just under 12 hours until the Ashes gets under way in Brisbane. Need a quick cricket fix now? Then why not listen to the BBC Radio 5 live podcast of our pre-Ashes Your Call.

    Michael Vaughan and Mark Pougatch take calls from England and Australia cricket fans - full of light-hearted sledging and national team bravado.

  60. 1248: 
    The Ashes

    England will attempt to win a fourth consecutive Ashes when the series starts in Brisbane at midnight, with batsman Kevin Pietersen set for his 100th Test.

    In front of a crowd of 42,000 at the Gabba, Alastair Cook's team will defend the trophy they retained in the summer by beating Australia 3-0. With Pietersen set to reach a significant milestone, ex-England pace bowler Steve Harmison claims he is England's greatest player. "Kevin is the best player ever to wear an England shirt," he tells BBC Sport.

    Is Pietersen the best player to play for England? If not, who is? Have your say on #bbcsportsday

  61. 1243: 

    Scunthorpe United confirm that they have terminated the contract of manager Brian Laws with immediate effect.

    The 52-year-old, who first took charge of the club in 1997, returned to Glanford Park for a third spell as manager in October 2012 but could not prevent his side from dropping to the fourth tier in his first season back at the helm.

    United sit 12th in the League Two table, two points off the play-off places but are without a win in their last five matches.

  62. 1242: 

    New Zealand half-back Shaun Johnson says England's Sam Tomkins has a "point to prove" when the two sides meet in the World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

    Johnson plays for the New Zealand Warriors, who paid a world-record fee to sign Tomkins in September.

    Full-back Tomkins, tipped to be one of the stars of the World Cup, is yet to score a try in the competition.

    "There has been a lot said about facing Sam and I am sure he will be wanting to prove a point," Johnson told BBC Sport.

  63. 1235: 

    The Daily Mail reports that French television viewers may get a bit more than they bargained for after Dora Tillier vowed to present the weather forecast naked if France qualified for the World Cup.

    With France 2-0 down after the first leg of their play-off against Ukraine, Tillier promised to take her clothes off if Les Bleus recovered to qualify for next year's Finals in Brazil.

    And ratings are expected to go through the roof on Canal+ as people tune in to see if Tillier fulfill her promise after Didier Deschamps' side beat Ukraine 3-0 at Stade de France.

  64. 1230: 

    Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been awarded a record third Golden Shoe trophy after finishing with the most league goals in Europe last season.

    The Argentina forward scored 46 times in La Liga as the Catalan side reclaimed their title back from Real Madrid.

  65. 1225: 

    Scotland have made four changes to their forward pack for this Saturday's Test match against Australia at Murrayfield.

    The Glasgow pair of prop Ryan Grant and lock Tim Swinson replace Alasdair Dickinson and Richie Gray, while in the back-row Johnnie Beattie and captain Kelly Brown are in for Alasdair Strokosch and John Barclay.

    However, Scotland are waiting on the fitness of wing Tommy Seymour before finalising their back division.

  66. 1221: 

    Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels (heel) will be out until January while Marcel Schmelzer (calf) will miss Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich after they were injured in Germany's 1-0 win over England on Tuesday.

  67. 1217: 

    It's time for today's Question of Sport teaser.

    Who are the nine men to play in an Ashes Test since 2000 whose surnames start with the letter S?

    Send your answers to #QSTeaser and the answers will be revealed at about 1400 GMT.

  68. 1211: 
    WHAT THE PAPERS SAY- England 0-1 Germany

    "Home win at Wembley," says a front-page article about Germany's 1-0 win on the website of tabloid Bild. "This was a great way for our national squad to round off its year. And no wonder - we're almost playing at home at Wembley these days, not having lost there since 1975."

    Under the headline "Always enough against England", the Sueddeutsche Zeitung can't resist rubbing it in a bit more. "Six away wins in a row [for Germany] - add to that last year's Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and Wembley can be seen as the most successful venue for German football in recent years."

    "One man, one mission," writes Peter Ahrens on Spiegel online about defender Per Mertesacker's match-winning performance. "The Arsenal player was the outstanding player in a German team that coasted to victory against the harmless English."

  69. 1208: 

    Everton boss Roberto Martinez has told Ross Barkley to concentrate on his club form and let a potential World Cup trip look after itself.

    "In football a week is an eternity so for a few months it is going to be a waste of time thinking about what can happen in the future," said Martinez.

    "In football you need to concentrate on the day-to-day work and that's where Ross is."

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    Ash: Organised but lacking in quality, execution, creativity and control. Lallana deserves to go. Cleverely should stay home.

    Tom Devlin: Ronaldo has deserved far more over the last 3/4 years anyway, best in the world by a mile when winning la liga

  71. 1202: 

    Mamadou Sakho insisted he was not a hero after his two goals helped France come from behind and secure a 3-2 aggregate victory over Ukraine to reach the World Cup.

    The Liverpool defender, 23, said: "A lot of people didn't believe in us but there were also plenty who did. France showed a lot of virtues and it was extraordinary for everybody.

    "I don't see myself as a hero. The team was the hero in this one."

    Mamadou Sakho
  72. 1156: 

    Hull owner Assem Allam has offered to refund any of the club's season ticket holders who are unhappy about the name change he has proposed for the Yorkshire side.

    Despite protests led by Hull fans' group City Til We Die, Allam has made clear his determination to press on with his plans to alter the club's name to Hull Tigers next season.

    He told the Hull Daily Mail: "There's no need for a referendum. The crowd we get inside the stadium is the perfect referendum. Fans can choose to vote with their feet. If they are not happy, they can stay away."

  73. 1147: 

    Celtic's new signing Holmbert Fridjonsson will be unveiled to the media at a press conference at Celtic Park at lunchtime on Wednesday.

    The striker, signed from Icelandic team Fram, told the club's official website: "I'm really delighted to sign for such a big club like Celtic and it's just a dream come true."

    Celtic boss Neil Lennon said: "He is one for the present. The season is just finished in Iceland so he may need a little bit of a break so we may not see him immediately but I'd like to think he would be making inroads around Christmas time."


    Sal Patel: Got a bad feeling Ronaldo will win Fifa ballon d'or 2013 but that doesn't make him better than Lionel Messi.

    Jake Pincombe: Messi has deserved every one of his awards. But with Messi out of the race Ronaldo is, by a distance, the best of the rest.

  75. 1140: 

    Fifa extend the Ballon d'Or voting deadline, improving Cristiano Ronaldo's chances of winning after his superb performance for Portugal in World Cup qualifying.

    World football's governing body says the contest is now open until 29 November because too many voters failed to meet last Friday's original deadline.

    Ronaldo, the 2008 award winner, scored all three goals in Portugal's 3-2 victory in Sweden on Tuesday to advance to the World Cup. Lionel Messi has won for the past four years.

  76. 1137: 

    Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has a clear warning for his players after two stunning home losses in a week: Make sure you play regularly for your club, or you could miss out on the World Cup.

    After Japan outran and outwitted Belgium for a 3-2 victory in a friendly late Tuesday, Wilmots believed a lack of match fitness among some regular starters contributed. Kevin De Bruyne was outstanding for the Red Devils during their qualifying campaign, but has been a shadow of his former self since Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho sidelined him for English Premier League games.

    Wilmots says: "We first have to settle the problem that players play for their club."

  77. 1130: 

    England second rower Ben Westwood says he is ready to go head to head with the world's best forward.

    The Warrington favourite knows England must combat the threat of Sonny Bill Williams if they are to get past holders New Zealand in Saturday's World Cup semi-final and he is ready for the challenge.

    "There's no two ways about it, he's a world-class athlete," Westwood said of Williams. "The things he does a lot of people can't do.

    "It's exciting. I've never played against him before. It's good to test yourself against the best in the world and that's probably what he is. It's one I'll look forward to. I'll try to do my best against the best. It will be a good contest I'm sure."

  78. 1124: 
    Andy Murray

    Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is back playing tennis after back surgery and the British number one has posted on his Facebook page: "Sun is shining, back on the courts, today is a good day."

  79. 1119: 

    Everton manager Roberto Martinez acknowledges the game against Liverpool is a "special derby" but says it is vital his players do not become affected by the occasion.

    The two sides meet on Saturday, and Martinez says: "From the outside I have always been intrigued by this fixture. You do feel it's a special derby, it's the feeling of being a blue or red within the same family, within the city, and that develops a real competitive edge of how you follow your football club.

    "I just realised after five minutes at the club how much this fixture means to the fans. But I think the important aspect from our point of view is just to make sure we are ourselves in the game, that we don't get affected by the occasion, that we don't play the derby and we play the game, and then realise that the three points are important enough to be concentrating on those and that will look after the whole occasion by itself."

  80. 1112: 

    West Brom have received an apology from referees' chief Mike Riley for the penalty awarded against them in the draw with Chelsea earlier this month.

    The Baggies looked set for a famous victory at Stamford Bridge before referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty deep into injury time and Eden Hazard scored to earn Chelsea a 2-2 draw.

    Clarke told West Brom's official website: "We've had a phone call from Mike Riley to apologise.

    "It doesn't get us any more points but it's nice of Mike to phone. If he's apologising, he obviously feels it was the wrong decision. We have to put it behind us now and move forward."

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    Kevin Boulter: England went from possible surprise package to written off. France went from rubbish to don't write them off. Such fickle fans

    Sal_Patel: Ronaldo will be best player this season because Messi is injured. But Messi overall better than Ronaldo. That's a fact

    Anthony Orrell: That England still haven't changed and will disappoint as usual at Brazil 2014

  82. 1103: 
    Mexico win

    An Oribe Peralta hat-trick booked Mexico a spot in their sixth successive World Cup as El Tri beat New Zealand 4-2.

    Peralta, who also scored two when Mexico beat the All Whites 5-1 at home in last week's first leg, effectively killed off the return leg before the break, with Carlos Pena making the aggregate score 9-3 at the death.

    Victory in the intercontinental play-off means Mexico have now made 15 of the last 20 World Cups, making them one of the most consistent teams in international football.

  83. 1057: 

    Celtic have confirmed the signing of Iceland striker Holmbert Fridjonsson on a pre-contract agreement and he will join the club in January.

    The 20-year-old currently plays for Fram in his homeland.

  84. 1052: 

    BBC Sport has taken a look at some of the reaction to Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick against Sweden, as well as considering some of the statistics from an increasingly impressive campaign.

    Former England defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: "Cristiano is at it again. The Ballon d'Or has to be handed over now!"

    One of the statistics in the article is that Ronaldo has scored four hat-tricks in league football in 2013, twice as many as any other player in the top five European leagues.

  85. 1047: 

    "You have made us super proud" and "Greece go worldwide" are just two of the jubilant headlines splashed across the front pages of Greece's sports papers on Wednesday as the country celebrate qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals.

    A 1-1 draw in the second leg of their play-off tie with Romania in Bucharest on Tuesday completed a 4-2 aggregate victory for Fernandos Santos' team and a third appearance at a World Cup finals.

    "Brazil, we are coming!" declares popular sports tabloid Sportday on Wednesday, adding details of "Greece's fully deserved place in the 2014 World Cup finals".

    Greece celebrate
  86. 1044: 

    Dynamo Moscow manager Dan Petrescu, who has been linked with Crystal Palace recently, dismisses rumours he is set to move to a Premier League club, saying he would honour the terms of existing contract.

    "I have not been in talks with any club being under contract with another outfit," the former Chelsea midfielder says. "And I'm not set to do it in the future. Probably the clubs contacted my agent, not me.

    "I love England and I'm really pleased with the fact that English clubs still remember me, but currently a move for me to England is absolutely impossible as I'm still under contract with Dynamo."

  87. 1037: 

    Alex Gray is set to make his first appearance in the Sevens World Series after being named in the England squad for the Dubai tournament at the end of the month.

    Gray captained an England U20 side including the likes of Owen Farrell, Christian Wade, Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury to the final of the 2011 Junior World Championship, and signed a full-time England Sevens contract last summer.

    He is one of four changes to the 12-man squad that finished third at last month's Gold Coast Sevens, the opening leg of the series. Jeff Williams, Sam Edgerley and Marcus Watson have also been called up.

  88. 1032: 
    FOOTBALL- #AskJason

    BBC 606 are speaking to Jason Roberts this morning, reflecting on the international break. We'll ask him your questions so get them in via #AskJason and on the BBC 606 Facebook page.

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    Isaac Ogabu: Spain are not invincible after that loss to South Africa

    Gav Sanders: That England aren't very good. Ronaldo is a brilliant player, and the French shouldn't be written off

    Adam Thomas Aubrey: Too many mediocre England players! We'll be lucky to get out of the WC group stages. 9th best team in Europe for me

  90. 1028: 

    Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell expects to play for Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

    McDowell is representing Ireland at this week's World Cup in Melbourne, which rules out the option of playing for Team GB in Brazil.

    "With Olympic regulations I'll have to play for Ireland when it comes to the Olympics - if good enough," he said.

    Graeme McDowell
  91. 1023: 

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insists there is no reason for anyone within his organisation to feel guilty about their level of domination.

    The team has won the last four drivers' and constructors' championships and Horner feels critics should focus more on Red Bull's rivals for not doing a good enough job.

    "We compete in a championship to the same regulations as all the others," said Horner.

    "So, we do the best job we can and then we measure ourselves against our opponents every couple of weeks. It is not down to us to help the others to succeed."

  92. 1019: 

    Team England has confirmed its 18 team leaders for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

    England Chef de Mission Jan Paterson said: "I am delighted to welcome such a high quality group of team leaders to Team England and look forward to working with each of them in the coming months."

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    Fahad Khan: No one expects England to win the WC. So yes, Hodgson is right. Expectations are already low. There is no need to panic

    Pinda Mann: England are overhyped and don't have enough world class players. CR7 is best player in the world and always better than Messi

    James Bene: Had we stumbled through the play offs we'd be delirious today. Instead we topped group, tried new players out. Perspective?

  94. 1011: 
    THE NIGHT THEY ROCKED- Gibraltar make history
    Gibraltar's Danny Higginbotham

    A piece of history was made on Tuesday night as Gibraltar marked their debut as a Uefa member with a hugely credible goalless draw with Slovakia.

    Playing in the 30,000 capacity Estadio Algarve in Portugal - a stadium that could hold the entire population of Gibraltar - they held their own against their more experienced opponents.

    Former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham, making his international debut at the age of of 34, was named man-of-the-match and he said: "Now we have the belief we can do something because Slovakia are a good side and we should take a lot of positives. We are moving in the right direction and this was a result no one expected but we are very proud."

    Read more on Gibraltar's journey on the BBC Sport website.

  95. 1006: 

    Six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt claims the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada) investigation into Jamaica could cost him a lucrative sponsorship deal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

    A senior drug tester told the BBC last week that Jamaica's recent failed drug tests might be the "tip of an iceberg".

    "There was a rumour going around saying they were going to try and ban Jamaica if they did not have the Jamaican drug testing facility in order," said Bolt.

    "But I'm saying if you're going to say that, you've got to be very careful of how you're saying it because now my sponsors say that if I don't run at the Olympics 'why should we sponsor you?' It's costing me money so they should sort this out and then there's no problem."

  96. 1002: 

    Fernando Alonso is fit and raring to go for the final race of the season in Brazil this weekend.

    The Spaniard had complained of back pain after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but was given the all clear to race at the US Grand Prix.

    Alonso tweeted: "I finally returned training without back pain, from Abu Dhabi! Recovered completed. Happy!"

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    Alfie Langlands: 3 clean sheets, 2 wins and 1 draw against Croatia, USA and Norway - not a bad wee run for Scotland. Bring on the Euros!

    Sahil Oberoi: Messi plays with Xavi, Iniesta for club & Aguero, Tevez for country. Ronaldo's carried Portugal to the WC, best in the world

    William Spray: To be honest, I'm bored of the constant hammering everyone gives England. Its the same after every game!

  98. 0953: 

    Every footballer in the world wanted to be playing in Brazil next summer but some of the world's finest have missed out the chance to compete at one of football's grandest stages.

    BBC Sport has compiled a picture gallery, looking at the biggest names - from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Gareth Bale - who will have to watch from afar. Go on, take a peek.

  99. 0946:  
    BBC Radio 5 live
    Michael Vaughan

    Michael Vaughan is chatting about all things cricket on Your Call this morning. He has just been discussing the importance of Graeme Swann, saying: "England won the last Ashes series with four bowlers because Graeme Swann is such a good spinner.

    "There will come a time when we need five when Swann retires but at the moment England do perfectly well because of Swann."

  100. 0940: 

    Crystal Palace intend to appoint a new manager before Saturday's Premier League match away to Hull - with former Stoke boss Tony Pulis in advanced talks to succeed the departed Ian Holloway.

    The Palace hierarchy are hopeful of completing negotiations in the next 24 hours, returning to Pulis after privately being disappointed by the calibre of other candidates who applied for the position.

    Bottom-placed Palace were reluctant to appoint a young up-and-coming coach for fear of giving fans and players the impression they were already planning for relegation.

  101. 0938: 

    BBC Sport's chief football reporter Phil McNulty says Roy Hodgson's England were outclassed again at Wembley.

    McNulty writes: "Two defeats without a goal. A defeat without a shot on target against Germany - even though Hodgson indulged in a spot of straw-clutching by suggesting Andros Townsend's shot against the post actually qualified under that category. Sorry Roy, not really.

    "England eventually negotiated their way out of their World Cup qualifying group but Chile and Germany represent the sharp end of what they might face in Brazil, and the indicators were not good."

    Tom Cleverley
    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    andy owens: Sturridge needs to change his game - not as much space behind defence in internationals. Needs to look interested too!

    Halim Oscar Junior: @Cristiano was denied the Golden Ball BallondOr last year. If he doesn't win it this time, then the award has lost its value.

    Florian Kezilahabi: Hodgson has a Small(ing) pool of players to choose from and most of his choices are not Clever(ly).

  103. 0929: 

    "It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me," Zlatan Ibrahimovic said after Sweden's defeat by Portugal.

    "One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worthwhile to wait for the World Cup.

    "Everybody wants to play at a World Cup but at the same time I'm realistic in saying that Portugal are a better team than Sweden.

    "Congratulations to Portugal but both teams deserved to get to the World Cup."

  104. 0925:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveBBC coverage

    You can get into the mood for the start of the Ashes this evening by listening to BBC Radio 5 live with the Flintoff Ashes Roadshow from 1900 GMT, Not Just Cricket from 2030 and Ashes build-up from 2130 live from the ground.

    Also go to the cricket index on the BBC Sport website during today to get all the latest news.

  105. 0921:  
    BBC Radio 5 live5 LIVE'S YOUR CALL

    More from Michael Vaughan on Australia captain Michael Clarke: "This is a big series for Clarke. We all know what he is like in the middle but what is he like in the dressing room and in the hotel?

    "Can he get his players' mindsets right enough to win out in the middle. Clarke is brilliant at setting fields but not as effective as Alastair Cook at getting his team's together."

  106. 0919:  
    BBC Radio 5 live5 LIVE'S YOUR CALL

    Former England captain Michael Vaughan is on BBC Radio 5 live's Your Call now, giving his views on the Ashes. He kicks off by claiming Australia captain Michael Clarke looks like a man feeling the strain.

    He said: "Michael Clarke is interesting because he was cranky in his press conference. You wonder if whether Clarke knows this is his series as an Ashes skipper. The majority of Australians think they will win the series 2-1. But this is an England team with so much experience. They have won the last three series against Australia. Maybe Clarke is not as confident as the Australia public."

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    Jonny Christmas: Losing 1-0 to Germany's second-string shows how weak we are against the big boys. I can't see us getting past the quarters.

    Si Hawkes: Sturridge, Smalling, Cleverley not good enough and should not be picked to start just because of who they play for!

    Jon Morrison: England have no goal threat. Lallana should be on the plane to Brazil. Smalling is not ready for England Internationals.

  108. 0909: 

    Time to divert our attention away from international football for a moment because BBC Sport has learnt that Tony Pulis has held further talks with Crystal Palace.

    The Premier League strugglers are closing in on appointing a new manager and the former Stoke City boss has been among the front runners since Ian Holloway left the club some four weeks ago.

    Initially, the Welshman did express reservations about a number of aspects of the post. But talks have now reopened and Palace are hopeful of a positive outcome.

  109. 0902: 

    Cristiano Ronaldo said Portugal deserved to go to the World Cup, saying: "To be honest I think in both games we played better than Sweden.

    "I respect a lot Sweden, I think they have a fantastic team, they have experienced players, they have a good coach, but in both games we played better than them. We created more chances. We played solid."

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sporting in defeat, adding: "Of course I'm disappointed. I wanted to play the World Cup. We did our best. Unfortunately, we played against a better team, better than us no doubt."

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    Phil Thompson: England struggle against any team that can keep possession and have a little bit of quality

    Ross Parker: Let's put the Eng game into perspective: We are a team in transition and only marginally lost to a quality team in Germany

    Cristiano Messi: If CR7 doesn't win the Ballon D'or then I don't know what he has to do? CR7 is the greatest ever footballer!

  111. 0850: 

    BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty has assessed the individual performances of the England players during the 1-0 defeat by Germany.

    Goalkeeper Joe Hart was McNulty's star man, with the Manchester City player receiving eight out of 10.

    "England's outstanding performer," says McNulty. "Excellent display that will give England manager Roy Hodgson and the goalkeeper himself great confidence after a poor run of form."

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    James Anthony Finn: If aliens ever come to our planet and want to see the perfect human specimen, we'd show them Ronaldo. He's just got it all.

    Football Column: End of the road for Iceland but they must hold their head high and must not look back from her even though I think they will

    Neil Rose: Any England team with Smalling and Cleverley starting won't do anything at the world cup

  113. 0840: 

    England manager Roy Hodgson insists he has had a "great year", despite ending 2013 with the country's first back-to-back Wembley defeats since 1977.

    Following Chile's 2-0 friendly win on Friday, Germany inflicted another defeat courtesy of Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker's first-half header.

    "I'm not prepared to accept for one minute that two friendly defeats in which I have used a lot of players in two tough games is going to take the shine off what has been a very good year," said Hodgson.

  114. 0834: 

    According to BBC Sport's Alasdair Lamont, Scotland emerged from their final match of the year with a narrow and "somewhat ill-deserved victory" over Norway.

    Scott Brown scored the only goal of the evening after the Scots had survived several scares, with the visitors having 19 shots on goal.

    Manager Gordon Strachan admits his team were lucky at times, but is Strachan helping the Scots turn a corner?

    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned

    David Brierley: Fifa will probably award their favourite Messi world player of the year award, but honestly what more does CR7 have to do???

    Megacles: Townsend needs to be braver in front of goal, Sturridge and Rooney don't link up and Gerrard is still a top player

    Allen Green: After seeing our 1st team fail against an 2nd string Germany we proved our players can't compete. So send the kids instead

  116. 0825: 
    GET INVOLVED #whatwelearned
    Cristiano Ronaldo

    But what did we learn from Tuesday night's football?

    Will the World Cup be worth watching even though Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be in Brazil? The PSG striker doesn't think so. Is Cristiano Ronaldo now the best player in the world? And what have we learned about England and Scotland after their friendlies?

    You can tweet us using the hashtag #whatwelearned

  117. 0819: 

    And who will ever forget Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick against Sweden to ensure Portugal qualify for a fourth straight World Cup finals in a thrilling play-off.

    The Real Madrid man certainly came on top in the so-called battle between himself and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, though the Swede played his part with two goals.

    Remarkably, Ronaldo has now scored 28 goals in 20 games for club and country.

  118. 0811: 

    All but one of the places for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil have been filled, but who is going?

    France can confirm their hotel reservations after becoming the first European team to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit to reach the World Cup with a thrilling 3-0 win.

    Ukraine, though, were reduced to 10 men and some sympathy must surely be reserved for Ukrainians whose play-off misery continues.

    The Ukrainians have now lost four World Cup play-offs, against Croatia (1998), Germany (2002), Greece (2010), France (2014). Sacreu bleu.

  119. 0806: 

    Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City are hoping to sign youngster Toni Sanabria, 17, from Barcelona. The Paraguay forward has a £2.7m buy-out clause in his contract. (Daily Star)

    Swansea hope to pip Cardiff in the January transfer window to the signature of £8m-rated Blackpool striker Thomas Ince, 21. (Daily Mirror)

    Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is set to slap a £20m price tag on goalkeeper Tim Krul. Italian Serie A side Juventus are believed to be tracking the 25-year-old, who is under contract at St James' Park until 2017. (Sun - subscription needed)

  120. 0800: 

    Hello and welcome to Wednesday's Sportsday.

    What an evening of football we had on Tuesday, when the usual suspects came back from the brink to secure their places in next year's World Cup. There was a touch of drama all around Europe, except for Wembley where England suffered another defeat.

    But let's not forget about events down under as we edge ever closer to the first Ashes Test. There's a lot to chat about so let's begin.

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