Sport In a stew: Downing is counting on a Cup win to build confidence

Being known as a "Cup team" is a mixed compliment, implying the ability to raise your game for one-off occasions, but never to sustain it. If Wigan Athletic, FA Cup winners relegated within a week, are newcomers to the genre, West Ham United have been at it rather longer.

Football: Grazioli bashes Barnet

GIULIANO GRAZIOLI had to be content with five goals rather than the six he was originally credited with as Peterborough United crushed Barnet 9-1 to set a Third Division record.

Football: Shearer's game of catch-up

Norman Fox says England's pair of formidable forwards need time to gain a full understanding

Football: Batty and Ince must get close to Romania

THERE IS a great deal of satisfaction in the England camp after the victory over Tunisia and rightly so. We looked solid throughout and in the end were comfortable winners of a game that was always going to be awkward because it was the first of the competition. It set us up nicely for Romania on Monday, a make-or-break game because it should decide who comes out on top of Group G.

Sweet inspiration waits at the final frontier

ALREADY, there is a discernible scent of adventure about this World Cup that suggests we are in for a spell-binding month of spectacularly unpredictable football. I am driven to this rash hyperbole not so much by the exciting quality of what we have witnessed thus far in the first flush of group matches but by the gnawing feeling that we are in the presence of 32 teams most of whom don't seem to have the faintest idea of how good or bad they are.

Leading Article: Irrelevant honours

IT'S THAT time of the year again. Yes, honours are more often than not an award for toadying or a reward for past behaviour. Welcome to the peerage, Lord Marshall. Yes, they are a perk of some jobs. Arise, Sir John Birt. And yes, they can come in very useful as a bargaining tool. Hello, Lord Burns.

Rich pickings at the executive dining table

After-dinner speaking can be a lucrative alternative career for some celebrities.

France '98: Shadow Of Gazza

A hero of 1966 warns the class of 98 may be short of the highest quality. Alan Ball talks to Stephen Brenkley

Football: England at the World Cup: 1966 England - The day Alf Ramsey stood by his hard man

Nobby Stiles, one of the heroes of 32 years ago, tells Ken Jones how he turned the other cheek

A voice that takes off like a homing pigeon


Football: The best goal of all? Maradona tops poll

HE MAY be regarded as one of the most notorious figures in English sporting history, but it seems that football people are a forgiving lot.

Football: In search of the perfect partner for Shearer

As Glenn Hoddle's men prepare to meet Chile at Wembley tonight, the spotlight will dwell upon those chosen to fill the striking roles. Ken Jones looks back at England's World Cup forwards.

Football: Dublin delivers echo of a glorious era

Dion Dublin has been cast as a latter-day Geoff Hurst since being called up for England's friendly against Chile tomorrow but, reports Glenn Moore, he is just as likely to fill the role once played by Jackie Charlton.

Football: Havelange backs land of gold and diamonds

The 1998 World Cup draw may be the centre of attention in Marseilles but, behind the scenes, the 2006 candidates are seeking to win friends and influence people. Glenn Moore reports.

Rugby Union: All Black cloud cast by Brooke

Tim Glover at Wembley sees the Welsh overwhelmed by Kiwi awareness
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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine