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Summary

  1. England 'could be persuaded' to bid for 2026 World Cup
  2. Kevin Pietersen cleared for county return
  3. New Zealand into Cricket World Cup final
  4. Kane progress sensational - Carrick
  5. Get involved: Your sporting motivator

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose and Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

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Goodbye!

Euro 2016
Getty Images

They think it is all over - it is now! The final whistle goes on Sportsday for another day.

But with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland all returning to international action this week - and all with have realistic hopes of qualifying for Euro 2016 - we will be back tomorrow to look ahead to the matches.

In the meantime, fill your boots with this feature

looking at each of the nations' chances. See you tomorrow!

Challenge Cup draw

Rugby League

Four Super League teams have entered the Challenge Cup at the fifth round stage - and the draw has just been made! Here it is...

Hunslet Hawks v Dewsbury Rams

Leigh Miners Rangers v York City Knights

Bradford Bulls v Hull Kingston Rovers

Sheffield Eagles v Hull FC

Batley Bulldogs v Swinton Lions

North Wales Crusaders v Featherstone Rovers

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Halifax

Leigh Centurions v Salford Red Devils

Delph joins England squad

Football

Is it still fashionable to be late? Probably not if it is because you've had a stomach bug.

Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph finally linked up with the England squad earlier this afternoon after being delayed due to a dodgy gut.

England will recover stronger - Robshaw

Rugby Union

England may have fallen short for the fourth successive Six Nations, but skipper Chris Robshaw insists they will learn from their experience. Which is handy with a World Cup on home soil looming....

Robshaw
Twitter

I didn't know I was going to City - Robinho

Football

Robinho
Getty Images

Arguably it is one of the Premier League's most eye-catching signings. Few Premier League fans could quite believe that Brazil superstar Robinho was leaving Real Madrid in 2008 for...Manchester City.

City, of course, were then simply just a mid-table top-flight side. Almost seven years on, Robinho admits he was quite surprised by

the £32.5m move too.

"I knew I was going to play in England but I didn't know for which club!" says the 31-year-old, who was also linked to Chelsea before going to City.

Now back at Santos, Robinho discusses his brief, but sometimes brilliant, time at Eastlands

on City's official website.

Robbie Savage

BBC Sport football analyst

"Steven Gerrard called emotional/frustrated, whereas Diego Costa got hammered! Double standards?"

Ekstrand likely to miss rest of year

Football

Watford defender Joel Ekstrand

is expected to be out until December with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

The 26-year-old Swede, who has played 25 times for the Championship promotion chasers, will undergo surgery on his left knee.

He suffered the injury in Saturday's 1-0 loss to Ipswich.

"The feeling for this type of injury is around the nine months mark to get back," said Hornets head of medical Richard Collinge.

England have talent to win World Cup - Carling

Rugby Union

England have the talent to win this year's World Cup says former skipper Will Carling - but he questions whether they have got the mental strength.

"We have a world-class front five, found some great talent in the backs which has transformed the way we play," Carling tells BBC Radio 5 live.

"But England have to learn to be consistent and perform three and four games in a row. That's a huge challenge for the players and the coaching staff."

Brighton are not safe yet - Kayal

Football

Brighton & Hove Albion

still have work to do to ensure their Championship status for next season, according to midfielder Beram Kayal.

The Seagulls are currently 10 points above the relegation zone with seven games of the season remaining.

"The job is not finished yet. We need to get more points to be safe," the 26-year-old Israeli told

BBC Sussex.

"The gap means we are more secure and gives us more confidence, but we still have work to do."

Gary Lineker

MOTD presenter

Martin Skrtel has denied stamping on David de Gea. And I don't have big ears.

England players 'must take responsibility'

Rugby Union

Stuart Lancaster
PA

The players, not head coach Stuart Lancaster, must take the blame for England's failing to win the Six Nations for the fourth successive year, says ex-skipper Will Carling.

"The players are the one who have got to be driving the team, leading the team and taking responsibility," he tells BBC Radio 5 live.

"Stuart has been controlling in getting England back up off the floor since 2011 and he has done a very good job.

"But the next stage, the crucial stage, is handing over the responsibility - and the accepting of responsibility - from the players."

Every minute important for England - Carling

Rugby Union

More from ex-England skipper Will Carling on RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie's comments that four straight Six Nations near misses are "not acceptable".

"What Ian is saying to the players is that against Ireland they weren't good enough and against Scotland they weren't ruthless enough - and that's where Championships are won or lost," Carling tells BBC Radio 5 live.

"Every minute of every game is important - it's not just the finale. When you're playing for England everyone wants to beat you. You have got to have intensity and focus in every moment."

Ritchie criticism right - Carling

Rugby Union

England
Reuters

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie is right to describe England's fourth straight Six Nations runners-up finishes

as "not acceptable", says former skipper Will Carling.

"His criticism is harsh - but it is also true," Carling tells BBC Radio 5 live. "You have got to set the bar high and aspire to it.

"What Ian has said is right, not from an arrogant point of view, but from the resources that England has and from the standard of the Premiership. Ian, quite rightly, is putting pressure on the players."

The 6 o'clock (sporting) news

Leaving work and not seen today's sporting news? Don't worry, you can catch up with our whistlestop tour of today's best content. Here are the 18:00 GMT headlines...

Top story: England "could be persuaded" to bid to host the 2026 World Cup, says Football Association chairman Greg Dyke.

Top video: Fenerbahce striker 'subs himself' after receiving abuse from his own fans.

Top feature: All four UK teams & the Republic of Ireland have never qualified for the same European Championship. Could that be a step closer?

Top Tweet: Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has his say on South Africa's last-gasp defeat by New Zealand...

Kevin Pietersen
Twitter

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Ben Lewis-Bloor: Skrtel has a point... No difference between Costa on Skrtel earlier in season which wasn't charged... FA set a precedent!

Saunders out of Ryan title fight

Boxing

Bradley Saunders

has pulled out of April's Commonwealth super-lightweight title fight with Dave Ryan in Newcastle after rupturing tendons in his hand.

Saunders, 29, had surgery on Monday and promoters Matchroom told

BBC Tees it is "too early to know when, or if, the fight will be rearranged."

The rest of the card at the Arena on 4 April is unaffected.

Unbeaten Saunders defeated Stephane Benito in Hull earlier this month to extend his professional record to 12-0.

Tour tees up new Madeira date

Golf

Madeira
Getty Images

The Madeira Islands Open is rescheduled for the end of July after last week's event was postponed due to extreme weather.

The tournament will tee off again on 30 July after strong winds, dense fog and heavy rain made play impossible following the opening round.

"We were very keen to reschedule the tournament and the fact that we have managed to do so this quickly is testament to the desire and commitment of all parties to reach an agreement," Keith Waters, chief operating officer of the European Tour, says.

Golf
Getty Images

No risks with injured players - O'Neill

Scotland v N.Ireland (Wed, 19:45 GMT)

Northern Ireland have minor injury concerns over Aberdeen forward Niall McGinn and Blackburn defender Corry Evans ahead of Wednesday's friendly in Scotland.

Michael O'Neill's side, who have earned nine points from four matches, continue their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign when they host Finland on Sunday.

"Scotland is not a game to take a risk with players' fitness, not only because of the game on Sunday but also out of respect to the players' clubs as well," says O'Neill.

O'Neill relishing Hampden test

Scotland v N.Ireland (Wed, 19:45 GMT)

Northern Ireland
@OfficialIrishFA/Twitter

Northern Ireland will use the trip to the "iconic" Hampden Park to give more young players the chance to prove they can handle international football, says boss Michael O'Neill.

"It will be a good test for us because, often with a friendly international, it can be a little bit low key," he says ahead of Wednesday's friendly.

"We have had a couple of those in the last few years and didn't get very much out of them. I think we will get a lot out of this game.

"The nature of it being Scotland-Northern Ireland will add to that as well and hopefully a big crowd at Hampden."

Striker Agyemang leaves Portsmouth

Football

Striker Patrick Agyemang

leaves League Two side Portsmouth by mutual consent.

Agyemang, 34, initially arrived at Fratton Park on loan in February 2013, having previously played for Gillingham, Preston, QPR and Stevenage.

He scored eight goals in 69 appearances during his time at Pompey and played 14 times this season.

"Portsmouth Football Club would like to thank Patrick for his efforts while at Fratton Park and wish him well for the future," a

club statement said.

Get involved

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Sahil Oberoi: Martin Skrtel, like Jonny Evans in denial it seems. When will footballers learn to accept responsibility?

Skrtel denies De Gea 'stamp'

Football

Some more breaking news....

Skrtel 'stamps' on De Gea
Reuters

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel denies a charge of violent conduct over an alleged stamp on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

The incident happened in injury-time during the Reds' 2-1 Premier League defeat at Anfield on Sunday.

The Slovakian, 30, was charged on Monday and faces a three-match suspension. But he claims the incident was accidental and not intentional.

FA could change 2026 World Cup stance

Football

The FA does have the appetite to host the World Cup if the conditions are right, says chairman Greg Dyke.

"All of us would love to have another World Cup. We would love it. But there's no point if you haven't got a chance and you've got to recognise that early on," he says."

FA could change 2026 World Cup stance

Football

Greg Dyke
Getty Images

A lot of circumstances would have to be right for the FA to consider bidding for the 2026 World Cup, adds Greg Dyke.

"To make a bid you've got to get whoever is the government onside, and we don't know who that is yet because they have to underwrite it.

"And certainly in the current government you wouldn't have got them onside because they were so badly scarred last time.

"In the future if the government is onside, if David Gill says 'I think this is a straight and fair process' then obviously the FA board will look at it again but that doesn't mean to say we'll bid.

"Also, there's a lot of money involved so if you haven't got a chance don't do it."

FA could change 2026 World Cup stance

Football

Convincing "badly scarred" people to support an English bid to host the 2026 World Cup is not going to be easy, warns FA chairman Greg Dyke. Here's what he tells BBC Sport's Richard Conway....

Conway: "So you could be persuaded to launch a bid for the World Cup?"

Dyke: "It depends on the timetable really. It depends on how quickly it has to be done. But remember you have to get an awful lot of people onside and that's not going to be easy in England now because a lot of people got badly scarred in the process last time."

FA could change 2026 World Cup stance

Football

The FA has previously said it would not bid to host another World Cup while Blatter remains in office.

That stance was taken after England lost out to Russia in the race for the 2018 tournament.

"At the moment the policy is, while Sepp Blatter is controlling it we won't bid," says FA chairman Greg Dyke.

"Now if

David Gill being in the executive committee can assure us there's a proper system and it's fair and all those things then we could be persuaded otherwise."

The bidding process for the 2026 World Cup will conclude in May 2017. If Sepp Blatter wins re-election in May he will, in theory, be in office when the decision is made.

FA could change 2026 World Cup stance

Football

England would love to bid to host another World Cup if the circumstances were right, says FA chairman Greg Dyke.

But he says the FA will not bid for the 2026 tournament if Sepp Blatter is still the Fifa president.

Germany to honour plane crash victims

Football

Germany's players will wear black armbands during Wednesday's friendly against Australia in honour of the victims

of the Germanwings air crash.

The plane, which was carrying 150 people, crashed in the French Alps on its way from Barcelona to Dusseldorf earlier today.

There will also be a minute's silence before kick-off in Kaiserslautern.

"It's had an impact on everyone and it overshadows everything," said German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach. "As a football family, we owe it to the victims and their families to pay our respects."

Homegrown players going down

Football

England
@THEFA/Twitter

After the FA announced new proposals to

limit the number of non-EU players in English football, the governing body has produced this snazzy bar chart to illustrate the decline in the average number of homegrown players.

Cuthbertson may be 'one of the best'

Rugby League

Prop Adam Cuthbertson's bright Super League start suggests he could be

"one of the best" Leeds Rhinos imports, according to team-mate Jamie Peacock.

Cuthbertson, 30, has scored three tries in six games for the Rhinos since his winter move from NRL side Newcastle.

"He's one of the best signings we've had, he fits straight into the team," forward Peacock told the

BBC's Super League Show. "He's brilliant, he's a great worker but has great touches with the ball."

On top of the world

Olympics

Olympics
Getty Images

Here's Vinicius, the mascot of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, atop a Sugar Loaf mountain cable train car in Rio de Janeiro. Today marked the start of the 500-day countdown to next year's Games.

Rubbish view, eh?

Football

BBC Sport's Shamoon Hafez: "In London today to speak to Mark Noble and Winston Reid as West Ham announce a commercial marketing deal at the Olympic Stadium.

"The Hammers, of course, will be leaving Upton Park and moving there as they look to break into a European qualification spot.

"This season, they look set to improve on the 13th-place finish of last term, and it will be interesting to see what the the two players have to say about Sam Allardyce with the manager yet to agree a new contract that ends in the summer."

Cech to leave Chelsea?

Football

Goalkeeper Petr Cech's long-term future at Chelsea is in doubt after he suggested he could not spend another season as understudy to Thibaut Courtois.

The 32-year-old Czech Republic international has started just four Premier League games this season, with Courtois preferred as Chelsea's number one.

"I don't know what the club's idea will be. It looks like it works well with me and Thibaut as a duo," Cech told the Idnes newspaper. "But that can work for one season only. I don't want another one like this."

Get involved #bbcsportsday

Your sporting motivator

Parul Sharma: Roger Federer. Not a team sport player but simply his presence would do!

Earlier you might have read that Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke is considering asking Liverpool's Steven Gerrard to

address his Europe side when they play the United States in 2016.

So we want to know who you would pick to deliver an inspirational team-talk. Would you go for a rabble-rouser

in the mould of Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday? Or a more explosive, expletive-ridden, effort a la Neil Warnock?

Tell us which sporting hero you would like to hear in your dressing room and why. Tweet #bbcsportsday or text 81111.

Scotland and Spurs legend Mackay remembered

Football

Dave Mackay
PA

Footballers past and present attended the funeral of former Hearts, Tottenham and Scotland captain Dave Mackay today.

Dave Mackay
PA

The Edinburgh-born midfielder died in hospital earlier this month at the age of 80 after a long illness. A cortege travelled from Hearts' Tynecastle Stadium in Edinburgh for a remembrance service in the city.

Hearts described him as their greatest-ever player, while Tottenham called him the "heartbeat" of their 1961 side.

Dave Mackay
PA

Sir Alex Ferguson led the tributes to Mackay at the service.

Cup cancellation disappoints Exeter

Rugby Union

Exeter Chiefs coach Ricky Pellow says

plans to cancel next season's LV= Cup is bad news for the club's youngsters.

They lost to Saracens in Sunday's final, having won the trophy 12 months earlier, but the tournament is set to be cancelled next season because of a club fixtures pile-up following on from the World Cup.

"For our younger guys it'll be a shame that they don't get a chance to have a go at this next year," Pellow told BBC Radio Devon.

500 and counting for Armitstead

Road Cycling

Lizzie Armitstead
Twitter

Commonwealth road race champion Lizzie Armitstead: 500 days to go until Rio 2016, most days between now and then will look like this, a lot of hours chasing still to do!

Fit-again White aiming for World Cup

Football

England striker Ellen White has

not given up on her World Cup dream after scoring on her club return for Notts County at the weekend after an 11-month injury lay-off.

The 25-year-old missed most of 2014 with a serious knee injury and made her Notts debut in Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round win over Tottenham.

"You can't not think about the World Cup because it is such an amazing achievement to be involved in it," White, who has 17 goals in 47 games for her country, told BBC Radio Nottingham. "Now I'm looking for form for Notts and minutes on the pitch and goals. Anything else is an absolute bonus."

England's first match at the World Cup in Canada is against France on 9 June.

Get involved #bbcsportsday

Your sporting motivator

Michael Jordan
Getty Images

Cameron France: Ray Lewis, he gets you pumped up without fail , just look how he inspired Baltimore Ravens to the 2013 Superbowl.

Ekara: Michael Jordan. Reason - Michael Jordan! #sportinghero.

'Get ready to think you are useless'

Football

Speaking of motivational speeches, how about this one - Gordon Strachan says up and coming Scottish managers should "get ready for a lot of long nights where you think you are useless."

Dundee boss Paul Hartley, Alan Archibald of Partick Thistle, Hearts' Robbie Neilson and Norwich City boss Alex Neil, who are part of a group undertaking their UEFA Pro Licence, watched Scotland's training session on Tuesday.

Asked if he had any advice for the next generation of managers, current Scotland boss Strachan said: "Get ready for a lot of long nights where you think you are useless. I'm serious. And you have to deal with that.

"You can only be called a good manager or a great manager, like Sir Alex Ferguson and those people, if you can hang in there for a long, long time. But it is a good way to learn. The best way to learn is being a manager and making mistakes."