In Brief

Sport shorts: Wales star Gareth Bale trolls Real Madrid with flag celebration and it’s all change at Tottenham

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 20 November

1. ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order’

Gareth Bale has angered Real Madrid fans after holding up a controversial flag following Wales’s qualification to next summer’s European Championship. 

Welsh forward Bale has a frosty relationship with Real supporters and his future in Spain has been questioned in the past year. 

Former Real star Predrag Mijatovic recently said: “The first thing he thinks about is Wales, then golf and after that, Real Madrid. I haven’t spoken to him but that’s how he comes across.”

Aaron Ramsey scored twice in the 2-0 victory over Hungary in Cardiff and in the celebrations afterwards Bale held a fan-made flag which said “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order”. 

Spanish newspaper AS says Bale has “courted controversy with his actions” and ESPN reports that the La Liga giants have labelled his flag celebration “a joke in very bad taste”. 

Videos and Twitter reactions: Wales celebrate Euro 2020 qualification 

2. Who has qualified for Euro 2020?

Wales and England are two of the 20 teams that have qualified for next year’s Euro 2020. Four more nations will join them via the play-offs in March. 

Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will compete in the play-offs and will find out their opponents at the draw on Friday. 

The main Euro 2020 tournament draw takes place on 30 November. 

Who has qualified? 
  • Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Wales.
Who are in the play-offs? 
  • Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Norway, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia

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3. Sibley to make England Test debut 

England have named their team for the first Test against New Zealand starting tonight at Mount Maunganui. 

Opening batsman Dom Sibley is handed his Test debut while Sam Curran, Joe Denly and Ollie Pope are also included. Play starts at 10pm (GMT) and is live on Sky Sports Cricket.  

England team to face New Zealand
  • Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad

4. IndyCar team rule out Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg is not in the running for a switch to IndyCar team Ed Carpenter Racing. Formula 1 driver Hulkenberg is set to leave Renault at the end of the season but he won’t be going to the American outfit.

Ed Carpenter said: “I will be continuing as oval driver in the #20 Chevy next season. It’s amazing: every year someone starts a rumour or predicts that I’m retiring, but that’s absolutely not the case. 

“Maybe we’ll have the other #20 driver confirmed just before Thanksgiving, but most likely it will be the week after. But no, it’s not Nico Hulkenberg.”

5. Hong Kong Open postponed 

Next week’s Hong Kong Open golf event has been postponed by the European Tour due to the civil unrest in the city. The Tour says “an attempt will be made to reschedule the tournament to early 2020”.  

6. Sky Sports to show all Masters coverage

Sky Sports has won the rights to be the exclusive UK broadcaster of next year’s Masters golf major at Augusta National. This means the BBC will not show any live golf in 2020.

Sky Sports managing director Rob Webster said: “We are proud of our 10-year association with Augusta National, and our golf team does a great job sharing the magic of the Masters with our viewers.”

7. Sterling and City in contract talks

The Daily Mirror reports that Raheem Sterling has opened talks with Manchester City over a bumper new contract. The England international has been in fine form for club and country and has already scored 18 goals in all competitions this season.   

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8. Wallabies appoint Kiwi Rennie 

Glasgow chief Dave Rennie will become the new head coach of the Australian rugby union team. The New Zealander, 55, replaces Michael Cheika, who resigned after Australia’s loss to England in the Rugby World Cup. Rennie said: “It’s an exciting opportunity to coach at international level and an added bonus that we’ll be a little closer to home, near our kids and grandkids.” 

9. Federer sees no reason to retire 

Roger Federer admits that he first thought about retirement ten years ago but the 38-year-old is keen to carry on playing top-level tennis.

The 20-time grand slam champion said: “My retirement will depend on my health. At the moment I do not see any reason to retire. 

“I did not think I would play beyond 35, 36 years and here I am. I am doing well physically. I cannot predict when it will be the time to stop. 

“I think in 2009 I questioned it for the first time. [It has been] ten years and here I am. I’m exactly where I wanted to be at this age.”

10. All change at Tottenham

All of today’s newspaper back pages focus on Mauricio Pochettino’s sensational sacking by Tottenham Hotspur.

This morning it was also confirmed that Jose Mourinho will take over as the new Spurs manager.

Following his appointment Mourinho said: “I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters. The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”

North London crisis part one: Spurs shock as Mourinho replaces Pochettino

North London crisis part two: Arteta and Pochettino linked with Arsenal job 

Today’s back pages

‘Goodbye Pochettino… hello Mourinho’ at Spurs

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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