Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: England to play India in Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals and Liverpool look to strike back at Chelsea

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 3 March

1. Women’s T20 semi-finals confirmed

England women’s cricket team will play India in the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.

This morning’s match between South Africa and the West Indies was washed out, meaning that South Africa finished top of group B ahead of England.

With India finishing top of group A, runners-up Australia will face South Africa in the other semi-final on Thursday in Sydney.  

The Women’s T20 World Cup final will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday 8 March (7am GMT). 

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup: Thursday’s semi-finals 
  • India vs. England (Sydney, 4am GMT; live on Sky Sports)  
  • South Africa vs. Australia (Sydney, 8am GMT; live on Sky Sports)

2. No shaking hands in Sri Lanka

England Test cricket captain Joe Root says the players will not shake hands during this month’s tour of Sri Lanka because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Root said: “After the illnesses that swept through the squad in South Africa, we are well aware of the importance of keeping contact to a minimum. We are washing hands regularly and wiping down surfaces using the anti-bacterial wipes and gels we’ve been given in our immunity packs.”

England play two warm-up matches and two Tests on the tour of Sri Lanka. 

3. Six Nations to go ahead as scheduled 

This weekend’s Six Nations matches between England and Wales and Scotland and France will go ahead after an emergency meeting of the rugby championship’s committee in Paris.

Italy’s visit to Ireland on Saturday was postponed last week after pressure from the Irish government, and there were fears that the two other matches would also be shelved as the number of coronavirus cases continue to grow throughout Europe.

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4. Football games behind closed doors?

As for the football authorities’s plan against the spread of coronavirus, The Times reports that The FA, Premier League and English Football League bosses “have held initial discussions over what steps to take if measures are introduced to limit mass gatherings”. 

France, Italy and Switzerland have introduced restrictions and their English counterparts fear that there could be similar measures taken by the UK government. 

One option under consideration is to play matches behind closed doors and broadcast them as normal. However, says the Times, there is concern that such a scenario “would potentially lead to people gathering in numbers outside stadiums anyway”.

5. Sturridge ‘devastated’ by ban

Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has said he is “devastated” after being banned from football for four months for breaching betting rules.

The 30-year-old was initially handed a six-week ban last summer, four of which were suspended, but The FA appealed the decision and they won their case with the appeal board also doubling Sturridges’s fine to £150,000.

In response to the ban, Turkish club Trabzonspor terminated Sturridge’s contract.

6. Klopp: players deserve my trust

Despite two defeats in three matches, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp does not doubt the character of his players. 

After the 3-0 loss at Watford on Saturday, the Reds will look to bounce back when they return to action tonight in the FA Cup fifth round at Chelsea. 

Speaking ahead of the cup clash at Stamford Bridge, Klopp said: “Of course they want to strike back. This is an exceptional group of players, they did outstanding stuff. I am not a little bit in doubt about the character of the boys. I would be a real idiot if I would be, to be honest, because they deserve my trust, my faith, and they don’t lose it after a bad game.”

FA Cup fifth round results and fixtures 
  • Last night: Portsmouth 0 Arsenal 2  
  • Tonight: Chelsea vs. Liverpool (7.45pm, live on BBC One); Reading vs. Sheffield United (8pm, live on BBC iPlayer); West Bromwich Albion vs. Newcastle United (8pm, live on Facebook) 
  • Tomorrow: Leicester City vs. Birmingham City (7.45pm, live on Facebook); Sheffield Wednesday vs. Manchester City (7.45pm, live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer); Tottenham Hotspur vs. Norwich City (7.45pm, live on BBC iPlayer)  
  • Thursday: Derby County vs. Manchester United (7.45pm, live on BT Sport)

7. DJ to skip Olympics 

Dustin Johnson will not play in this year’s Olympics Games, the American golfer’s agent has confirmed. Johnson is ranked No.5 in the world but the busy PGA Tour schedule and FedExCup play-offs means he will have to miss out on Tokyo 2020.

Agent David Winkle said: “You just can’t do it all, given the newly compressed schedule. Dustin and others learned a lot about themselves and what works for them last year, so I applaud him for not overextending himself and keeping his personal priorities in line.”

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8. Gerrard is ‘all in’ at Rangers 

Steven Gerrard is not considering his future as Rangers manager following the Glasgow club’s 1-0 Scottish Cup loss at Hearts on Saturday. 

The former Liverpool player said: “If you want to survive at this level you have to bounce back. Saturday was a low and I won’t deny that. I will always be honest. 

“I am all in, I signed up to something here and I knew there would be real setbacks. This is when the club needs me most to stay on, fight and push forward on the progress we have made in a lot of areas whilst learning to ensure the mistakes don’t happen again.”

9. Pulev: it’s my destiny to beat Joshua

Bulgarian boxer Kubrat Pulev says it’s his “destiny” to beat Britain’s Anthony Joshua and become the new IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world heavyweight champion. 

The title bout takes place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 20 June and 38-year-old Pulev said: “Becoming a heavyweight world champion has always been my mission in life and on 20 June 2020 I will fulfil my destiny.”

Joshua replied: “The belts go back up in the air and nothing will stop me from being victorious.”

10. Back pages: Young Gunners reach the quarters 

Arsenal’s 2-0 win at Portsmouth in the fifth round of the FA Cup last night dominates the back pages with most newspapers illustrating the victory with a photograph of a smiling Eddie Nketiah. 

The youngster scored the second of the Gunners’s goals and was one of six players in the Arsenal line-up aged 20 or under. 

One of the old-timers, 31-year-old Sokratis Papastathopoulos, had given the visitors the lead at the end of the first half with a crisp volley and Nketiah then doubled the advantage shortly after the break.

Today’s back pages

Arsenal’s young guns ease into FA Cup quarter-finals

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