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

SPORT ON TV

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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