Australia’s chances of defending the World Cup crown will depend on how well they play spin and use it, feels Ricky Ponting. “The thing that will define Australia’s success in the World Cup is, one, how well they bowl spin and, two, how well they play it,” Ponting told The Telegraph.
FIFA shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the world football body’s president Gianni Infantino. Infantino had proposed expanding the tournament and explored the idea of adding additional host nations.
Pakistan are pinning their hopes for World Cup glory on a crop of youngsters who have the talent to beat anybody but could also pay for their lack of experience. The side have only won the showpiece 50-over tournament once -- under the captaincy of current Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in 1992.
England selection chief Ed Smith hailed fast bowler Jofra Archer as an “outstanding” talent after including him in the tournament favourites’ World Cup squad on Tuesday. Barbados-born quick Archer only qualified for England in March and has played just three one-day internationals for the host nation of the showpiece event.
Veteran Carli Lloyd became the first player to score in six consecutive women’s World Cup matches as the US eased to a 3-0 win over Chile on Sunday and joined Sweden in securing their passage to the last 16.
Women’s World Cup hosts France survived a scare to beat Brazil 2-1 in extra time and reach the quarter-finals on Sunday as captain Amandine Henry scored a dramatic winner in Le Havre.
Norway went through to the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup alongside China and Spain on Monday after beating South Korea 2-1, while France and Germany topped their groups with wins over Nigeria and South Africa.
Germany became the first team to secure their place in the last eight of the Women’s World Cup after Lea Schueller’s late strike completed a hard-fought 3-0 win over underdogs Nigeria on Saturday.
Barbara Bonansea ensured Italy a dramatic return to the women’s World Cup after a 20-year absence on Sunday with a stoppage time winner that gave her team a last-gasp win over tournament dark horses Australia.
England’s women have their sights set on ending their semi-final curse after a stunning strike by Lucy Bronze helped Phil Neville’s team to a 3-0 win over Norway in Le Havre on Thursday and took them into the last four of the World Cup.