i

Gerrard discovers new tension in Mersey rivalry

Alex Ferguson predicts open Premier League title race

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes any one of six teams could win the Barclays Premier League this season.

Macheda delighted to be back at United

Federico Macheda is relieved to be back with Manchester United after a nightmare spell in Italy, and believes he can make the grade for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Leading article: Faster, higher, stronger – and more Celtic

And that's a fact, as football fans say when they want to brook no dissent. The words were used again yesterday by the president of the Welsh Football Association, Phil Pritchard, loudly protesting that the English FA did not speak for Wales. Unfortunately, international football authorities have decided that this is precisely what it does do – at least when it comes to selecting the home side for the football team in the 2012 Olympics. A Team GB will be chosen from the best of English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish players. No sooner had this been announced than ancient war-cries were issuing from Celtic throats. The non-English teams fear that, if judged a success, it might spell the end of separate home nations sides. The game's governing body, Fifa, denies this, but the Celts fear a dastardly plot by the Continentals.

Stuart Pearce bemoans tough European Under-21 draw

Stuart Pearce claimed England had been "lumped" with the worst possible draw after his side crashed out of the European Under-21 Championship with defeat to the Czech Republic last night.

United front beckons for burgeoning Welbeck

England Under-21 striker has backing of Ferguson as he seeks to break into Old Trafford forward line

Under-17s will fly the flag with Hope

Whatever the fate of the Under-21s tomorrow night, an England age-group team will still be in contention for honours as the Under-17s will be around 30 minutes into their World Cup campaign.

Five problems for Pearce to solve if England are to make progress

After two limp draws, the underperforming Under-21s must beat the Czech Republic on Sunday to avoid an embarrassing early exit. Steve Tongue in Herning asks where they can improve

Ukraine hold Pearce's toothless young Lions

Ukraine Under-21 0 England Under-21 0

Gibbs withdraws from England Under-21 squad

Stuart Pearce's dream of fielding the strongest possible England side at the European Under-21 Championships suffered yet another blow today when Kieran Gibbs pulled out of the squad.

Sturridge: Bolton loan spell made me

The loan system has its critics, notably for encouraging bigger clubs to buy up and keep more players than they need, but do not expect England's Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce to be among them. Of the 40 players he selected in his provisional squad for the forthcoming European Championships, more than a dozen were out on loan from Premier League clubs, gaining invaluable playing time and, in many cases, renewed self-belief.

Pearce's side see off Norway but sterner challenges lie ahead

England Under-21 2 Norway Under-21 0

Michael Owen signs new deal at Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has sprung a major surprise by handing Michael Owen a one-year contract extension.

England are left feeling light up front

The domestic season is almost over but there is much football to be played – too much of it for many club managers. As well as the final European Championship game of the season against Switzerland on Saturday, England teams are preparing for the European Under-21 and Under-19 tournaments and the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico. Their respective coaches are having to come to terms with seemingly inevitable withdrawals.

Defoe's wrist injury compounds striker crisis for Capello

Fabio Capello's striker shortage for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland a week on Saturday became more acute yesterday when Jermain Defoe became the latest player to pull out of the squad.

Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll omitted from England Under-21 squad

Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll were today controversially omitted from the England squad for next month's European Under-21 Championship finals.

Sport
World Cup 2014
Sport
Rihanna celebrates Germany's win
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Sport
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
Bruges
three nights from £259pp Find out more
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?