I’m living a cash-only life in a tap-and-go world


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “I’m living a cash-only life in a tap-and-go world” was written by Brigid Delaney, for theguardian.com on Thursday 19th July 2018 06.34 Asia/Kolkata

Many years ago I rented the ballroom of a grand old Victorian mansion in a picturesque seaside town.

The ballroom had been converted into a flat. In the mansion above lived my landlord – a very rich man, who was said to be one of the inventors of Eftpos, the first electronic card payment system.

Eftpos may have been one of the greatest things ever invented, but it’s also been a gateway drug for other products, such as “tap-and-go” technology which has put a whole generation of people in debt because they were tapping for three coffees a day, in transactions that are too quick and easy to feel tangible.

Before ATMs and electronic payments, people had to walk into a bank to get money out. I remember my mother with her passbook, the teller entering amounts in a small column, his script neat, and the rush to get to the branch before it shut at 5pm.

The way we do currency has changed so much in a relatively short amount of time. Who uses cheques or even traveller’s cheques anymore? Who goes into a bank? Who carries cash? Only the very poor and stateless.

At a major food festival last year held in Sydney, it was card only. You couldn’t buy a four-pack of dumplings if you didn’t have paywave. Vendors claim that paywave streamlines service and makes the outlet less of a target for robberies or employee theft.

Now it’s expected, particularly in busy bars, restaurants and service stations, that you’ll tap and go. The arm holding the machine juts out before you even have the chance to pull out your wallet. China is leading the world in the cashless revolution – there are some millennials who haven’t been to the ATM in a year.

The other night a barman told me that most customers tap their cards when they buy drinks. “On weekends we used to get $180 cash in tips per worker,” he said. “It covered my rent. We don’t get tips anymore because no one carries cash.”

Twenty years ago I got a credit card for my first overseas trip and put big things on it – like a plane ticket. Lately I’ve been looking at my credit card statements and it’s all small tap-and-go stuff: coffees, lunches, top-ups for my travel card. All little sums, and they add up. Over the last couple of years I’ve rarely carried cash, but my spending has gone up.

Does the way we pay for things change the way we spend?

With tap and go, my credit card was hitting the ceiling with increasingly regularity (no matter, my bank would always generously offer to extend my limit). The technology – and laziness (who can be bothered pulling out the correct change?) – made it even easier to mindlessly spend.

Then three weeks ago I lost my ATM card and decided not to replace it (it would be my fourth lost or stolen card in a year). I decided to live a cash-only life in a tap-and-go world.

Now, once a week I race into a bank branch before it shuts at 4pm and get out a sum of money to last me all week. It’s annoying, but so is going into the weekend with no money.

So wherever I am on a Friday, there is a scramble to find a branch, and get there before 4pm. Then I have to queue up for my wad of cash that’s going to last me all week.

With an allocated amount of cash to spend each week, I find I’m spending less because I am not just mindlessly tapping my card every time I want to buy something.

A finite amount of cash in your wallet changes how you spend – it makes you less reckless and more deliberate. My friends throw their cards down at brunch, scarcely looking at the bill. I look and carefully count out my cash.

While I’m saving money by using a strict cash allocation as a budgeting tool, I’m finding that I am excluded from some things due to my cash-only lifestyle: flying on a budget airline last week (ticket bought before I lost my card), I wanted to increase my luggage limit – something I couldn’t do online without a credit or debit card. Instead I had to queue up (people who are cash-only find they spend a lot of time in queues) and I had to pay a premium with cash at the airport.

There are also fewer self-service grocery aisles or transport card top-up centres available for people without cards. In order to keep using ride-sharing services, Spotify and Netflix, I have set up direct debit via PayPal.

The move to a cashless economy is happening now without much questioning of whether or not it’s a good thing (it’s certainly good for banks).

But there is a subtle psychological benefit to using cash.

One of the problems of modern capital is its increased alienation from the fruits of labour. The modern knowledge worker that traffics in ideas or strategies doesn’t actually produce anything tangible to account for the hours at their desk. For many workers, it is only the numbers in the bank account that is proof of their labour.

Cash was only ever a token, but by handing it over the counter there was a clear trade: here is a percentage of my day’s labour in return for the labour you have undertaken to make, say, my sandwich.

That transaction has now been squeezed into a split second of time – the time it takes to “tap”. And in doing this, something is being devalued.

• Brigid Delaney is a Guardian Australia writer and columnist

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Cliff Richard wins £210,000 in damages over BBC privacy case


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Cliff Richard wins £210,000 in damages over BBC privacy case” was written by Jim Waterson Media editor, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 18th July 2018 16.19 Asia/Kolkata

Cliff Richard has won his privacy case against the BBC and will be awarded an initial £210,000 in damages following a lengthy legal battle after the broadcaster reported that the singer was being investigated over historical child sex assault claims.

The judgment, handed down in central London on Wednesday morning, comes almost four years after the BBC broke the news that South Yorkshire police had searched the singer’s home in relation to the accusation.

In a decision that will have enormous implications for how the British media report on ongoing police investigations where no charges have been brought, Mr Justice Mann awarded Richard £190,000 damages. The singer was also awarded a further £20,000 aggravated damages for the BBC’s decision to nominate the story for the Royal Television Society’s scoop of the year award.

Further damages relating to the financial impact on Richard – such as cancelled book deals or concerts – are yet to be assessed but could be substantial. The judge said the damages “for which both parties are responsible” would be borne 35% by South Yorkshire police and 65% by the BBC.

The judge said the BBC had reported the story in a “somewhat sensationalist” way.

Richard appeared in court to hear the verdict, accompanied by his friends Gloria Hunniford and Paul Gambaccini. Reacting to the judgment afterwards, he said: “I’m choked up. I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful news.”

The singer cried with relief after the ruling was announced. As he left with his legal team, fans gathered outside and sang a refrain of the singer’s hit Congratulations. He said he was too emotional to talk in detail, adding: “I hope you’ll forgive me.”

In a statement released after the ruling, the BBC director of news, Fran Unsworth, apologised to Richard and said there were things about the story that should have been handled differently. But she said the corporation could appeal against the judgment, and she warned about the wider consequences of the ruling for for press freedom.

“We are sorry for the distress that Sir Cliff has been through,” she said. “We understand the very serious impact that this has had on him.” But, she added, “the judge has ruled that the very naming of Sir Cliff was unlawful. So even had the BBC not used helicopter shots or ran the story with less prominence, the judge would still have found that the story was unlawful, despite ruling that what we broadcast about the search was accurate.”

Warning that the judgment created new case law and represented a “dramatic shift” against the ability of journalists to report on police investigations, Unsworth continued: “We don’t believe this is compatible with liberty and press freedoms, something that has been at the heart of this country for generations. For all of these reasons there is a significant principle at stake.”

Richard’s lawyer, Gideon Benaim, was highly critical of the BBC. He said the singer had never expected after 60 years in the public eye to have his “privacy and reputation tarnished in such a way”.

The BBC had refused to apologise and insisted it had run a “public interest story”, Benaim added. He said serious questions should be asked about why the organisation had tried so hard to preserve its “exclusive” story.

Unsworth and Jonathan Munro, another senior manager who was also involved in the decision to broadcast the footage in 2014, looked on as they listened to the judge criticise the decision.

The judge concluded that Richard had privacy rights and the BBC “infringed those rights without a legal justification”.

“It did so in a serious way and also in a somewhat sensationalist way,” he said. “I have rejected the BBC’s case that it was justified in reporting as it did under its rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”

Richard strongly denied the claims against him and no charges were brought, prompting the singer to sue the BBC for a “very serious invasion” of his privacy after it flew a helicopter over his home to film police during the raid.

The singer, 77, is one of the most successful recording artists in British history. His legal team said he had suffered “possibly permanent damage to his self-esteem, standing and reputation” by the coverage of claims he sexually assaulted a young boy following a Billy Graham rally in Sheffield in 1985.

The story broke at a time when several of the UK’s veteran celebrities were facing accusations of child sex abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Richard has said he spent £3.4m bringing the privacy case, which the BBC said it had felt obliged to fight because it insisted its coverage was fair and proportionate. He had been demanding damages at the “top end” of the scale from the corporation.

The singer had already settled out of court with South Yorkshire police for £400,000 before the start of the trial. The police worked with the BBC and provided the broadcaster with advance knowledge of the raid following an approach by one of the corporation’s journalists, who had learned of the ongoing investigation.

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Joe Root hits century as England beat India to win third ODI and series – as it happened


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Joe Root hits century as England beat India to win third ODI and series – as it happened” was written by Tim de Lisle (now) and Daniel Harris (India innings), for theguardian.com on Wednesday 18th July 2018 01.12 Asia/Kolkata

So that’s the last of the summer white-balls, at least in terms of internationals – plenty of T20s to come around the country if you feel like a Blast. England wobbled badly in the T20i series, started this one abysmally, and then bounced back in great style, led by Eoin Morgan and Joe Root, two captains for the price of one.

The last word goes to John Starbuck, writing half an hour ago. “Nobody has much to say about this game as England are going to win it and the series. There will be a bit of a ceremony after which we all forget about it until we reconvene for the proper stuff in August. It’ll be worth while seeing how many of the present sides make it to the long form but I doubt anyone has learned much, except perhaps that Stokes isn’t quite back to his best yet and MSD may be playing his last tour, so will India try another keeper? Hoping Anderson and Broad both are on the money. How much influence will the new selector Taylor have?” And will England recall Moeen Ali, who took 19 wickets against India last time they were here.

That’s it from us. Thanks for your company, your emails, tweets and terrible cover versions.


“I think outstanding,” is Eoin Morgan’s verdict on England’s performance. “David Willey and Mark Wood almost set the tone for the innings. We know the conditions here really well so we managed to take advantage of that. Probably a 300, 320 ground.” So, in his book, India were more than 30 short, though he doesn’t put it so bluntly.

“As a captain, you’re only as good as your team. I thought we got better as the series went on.” Especially at playing Kuldeep? “He set a completely different challenge for us and it’s satisfying that we went through our plans and executed what we wanted to do.” Asked about the World Cup, he points out that it’s still a year away. Well, nearly.

“I thought we were never on the mark,” Kohli says. “We were 25-30 short. England thoroughly deserved to win today.” He congratulates the England spinners on bowling as a partnership. He’s gracious in defeat, which, as Gareth Southgate observed the other day, is harder than being magnanimous in victory.


Player of the Series is, of course, Root. A massive turnaround for you, says Isa Guha. “It feels fantastic,” says Root. “Testament to the hard work the guys do…” He almost sounds like a Test captain. “Great to bat with Morgs, he’s so calm.” The pitch was on the slow side but pretty good. “It was just about making sure we built that partnership.” They put on 186, unbeaten. “Knowing it was a must-win game, being able to stand up to that pressure. It’s going to be a great [Test] series.”

Player of the Match is not Root, or Morgan, but Adil Rashid, who flummoxed Kohli and took two other wickets. Good choice. “Me and Mo, we kept it tight,” he says, going out of his way to share the credit with his mate. He’s not a natural public speaker, but he made the ball talk today.


Here’s my colleague Ali Martin, on Twitter. “Joe Root goes past Marcus Trescothick to become England’s all-0time hundrediest ODI cricketer.”

Also on Twitter is Ravi Nair. “Thanks Tim.” Well, thank you, Ravi. “It’s been.. no, epic is not the word… ummm.. nor emotional… let’s just settle for this: it’s been cricket. Of a sort.” Indeed it has.

It means that in their last nine bilateral series (or one-off matches), England’s ODI team have lost to only one foe: the mighty Scotland.

That was a strange match. England were excellent, but India allowed them to be, starting with their selection, which aimed to give fringe players a game, as if this was a meaningless group match, not a series decider. Kohli was up for it, but after Adil Rashid bowled him with a Shane Warne special, MS Dhoni seemed to give up the ghost, for the second match in a row.

Root doesn’t just have the most one-day hundreds among England’s big names: he also has by far the highest average, 51, when some other greats (KP, I’m talking about you) are in the low 40s. More than just a stat, that average is a tribute to Root’s ability to stay in while keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Saturday’s hundred has been retrospectively declared not-out, just like today’s. Morgan was excellent in both games too, and a series that could have been all about India’s spin twins ended up belonging to England’s two captains.


England win! And Root gets another hundred (England 260-2)

Root clubs Pandya over midwicket for four, and becomes the first Englishman ever to make 13 hundreds in one-day internationals. England win the match by eight wickets, with 33 balls to spare, and end up cruising to victory in a series that they started very poorly.


44th over: England 253-2 (Root 94, Morgan 88) Morgan is beaten by Thakur, who has shown perseverance, if not much else. He finishes with figures of 10-0-51-1, the only Indian bowler with a wicket.

43rd over: England 250-2 (Root 93, Morgan 87) Morgan is dropped off a slow full-toss from Pandya – a simple chance to Kumar at mid-on, not that it matters.

On Twitter, Ravi Nair is back for more. “Since you asked: Brexit is going as well as India are in this game.” True enough.

In my inbox, Ian Copestake has something more important to say. “What is Love Island?”


42nd over: England 244-2 (Root 91, Morgan 85) Root plays a handsome straight drive off Thakur. Perhaps he does fancy a hundred after all.

“Anything to say?” Alan Kirkup retorts [40th over]. “When’s the football on?” Fair comment.

41st over: England 239-2 (Root 86, Morgan 85) Kumar contines, and Morgan tries to keep everyone awake by attempting a big yahoo that produces only a Harrow cut. Root, in no such hurry, picks up a couple of singles. At this stage, India were 199-6.

40th over: England 236-2 (Root 84, Morgan 84) Only three off the over from Thakur. Has anyone got anything to say?

39th over: England 233-2 (Root 82, Morgan 83) Morgan sneaks ahead of Root, not that it will bother either of them. There’s unlikely to be time for a hundred, but they’ve both played well enough to deserve one. Only 24 needed now. Get them off one over!

Eoin Morgan and Joe Root
Eoin Morgan and Joe Root Photograph: Alex Davidson/REX/Shutterstock


38th over: England 229-2 (Root 81, Morgan 80) Root picks Kuldeep’s googly and plays it quite beautifully, opening the face to glide it for three, off middle and off. Morgan, sensing that Kuldeep might be feeling crestfallen, rubs it in with a six to long-on.

And here’s Tom Adam. “I am listening to TMS in the background (so sorry darling, it’s not you, it’s me) and the crowd sounds on the effects mikes are just as if we are playing away. So Root smacks a glorious boundary … and there is utter crowd silence. India go up for a dodgy LBW appeal … and the crowd bays for blood. I find this rather disconcerting. There’s something very odd about an English crowd watching England in England and cheering the opposition.” We’re not applying the Tebbit test, though, are we? Fans can cheer for whoever they want, and the vibrant support for India has been part of the fun of this series.


37th over: England 219-2 (Root 78, Morgan 73) Back comes Bhuvi Kumar, as Kohli fiddles with the stable door and the horse heads off into the distance. That’s drinks, with England needing only 38 off 13 overs, at a rate fractionally below three. I’m not sure they could mess this up if they were managed by Sam Allardyce.

And here’s Ian Copestake. “Can cricket be used to explain Brexit, or used to cure the divisions?” he wonders. “Do Brexiters despair watching English Indian fans at Headingley (and elsewhere)? I think I have answered my own questions. Carry on.”

36th over: England 213-2 (Root 75, Morgan 70) Another decent over from Kuldeep, but decency is not enough. It’s all over bar the presentation.

35th over: England 210-2 (Root 74, Morgan 69) Reprieved by the no-ball, Root celebrates with a lofted on-drive for four to leave Chahal nursing some wounded pride and figures of 10-0-41-0.

Not out!

It’s a no-ball. Got to feel for Chahal there – it would have been out.


Mid-35th over: England 200-2 (Root 68, Morgan 69) Morgan thumps the first ball of Chahal’s last over for four to deep square, only to be beaten by a beauty that turns like something out of a song by Duckworth-Lewis. Then there’s a review for a stumping against Root…

34th over: England 196-2 (Root 68, Morgan 64) A better over from Kuldeep, who has answered the commentators’ plea and dropped his pace below 50. His series average, once in single figures, has ballooned to 15.

33rd over: England 193-2 (Root 67, Morgan 62) A few more singles off Chahal, who has kept the boundaries down, to just two off his nine overs, without providing the cutting edge that India were crying out for.

“Brexit metaphors?” snorts Ravi Nair. “Brexit is going as well as an eggless flourless cake being cooked by focussed sunlight in an Antarctic winter snowstorm.”

32nd over: England 188-2 (Root 65, Morgan 59) Kuldeep returns too, but he has gone from a magician to something manageable. England’s two captains take four off the over, which is now marginally more than they need.

An email entitled “Machines of doom” arrives. It’s Brian Withington. “Would that dastardly Fate-Tempt-o-Meter [27th over] share any design features with the Mockers-Max-o-Matic (patent pending)?” Ha.

31st over: England 184-2 (Root 62, Morgan 58) Chahal commands respect, as he has all afternoon, without finding the breakthrough. In the absence of a decent contest, we need a new topic of conversation. How do you feel Brexit is going, then?

30th over: England 181-2 (Root 60, Morgan 57) Morgan plays a pull for four off Thakur, who is then a touch unlucky as he persuades Root to edge a leg-glance and Dhoni misses a half-chance. That looks like that, but Kohli is trying spin again.

29th over: England 175-2 (Root 59, Morgan 52) Root drives Pandya, loosely but not dangerously, to third man, to bring up the hundred partnership off 119 balls. It’s the second game in a row that Morgan and Root have done that. Root is heading for Man of the Series, but Morgan would be just as good a choice, after that brave decision to bat first at Lord’s.

28th over: England 170-2 (Root 58, Morgan 50) Morgan, noticing that there’s no slip for poor old Thakur, plays a dinky deflection for four. A couple of singles later, he plays a more full-blooded shot outside off to reach fifty off 58 balls. Come on India, do something.

27th over: England 165-2 (Root 57, Morgan 43) Back comes Pandya, who doesn’t concede a boundary. The trouble is, it’s all about wickets now. Only a classic English collapse will do, and there’s no sign of one – at the risk of setting off what was known in the press box during the 2005 Ashes as the Fate-Tempt-o-meter.

26th over: England 159-2 (Root 55, Morgan 40) Thakur continues, for reasons I can’t explain, and Morgan helps himself to a cut that is more of a shredding.

And here’s Kimberley Thonger again. “Hugely impressed with John Starbucks’ filmic knowledge [19th over]. Have started plagiarism action against Lasse Halleström, the movie’s director, although due diligence suggests if he’s prepared to settle out of court he could be an excellent reserve wicketkeeper for the tour, and could make a fly on the igloo wall documentary to boot, thus immortalising the actual combatants.”

25th over: England 152-2 (Root 54, Morgan 35) Root, spotting Kuldeep’s length early again, takes a big confident stride and cover-drives for four to bring up yet another fifty, his 41st in 116 ODIs (including the 12 hundreds). Morgan, not to be outdone, whacks a straight four with a shot that’s straight off the hockey field, all eye and wrist and self-belief.


24th over: England 143-2 (Root 49, Morgan 31) Kohli, in desperation, goes back to seam in the form of Thakur. He concedes a few singles and when he tries a bouncer, it’s given as a wide, which rather sums up India’s day. They need to manufacture a wicket, by hook or by crook: then they’re down to Ben Stokes, who is well out of form.

23rd over: England 138-2 (Root 47, Morgan 29) Kuldeep returns, and after a couple of dots Root plays a classy sweep, all along the ground and fine enough to beat short fine leg.

“Afternoon Tim.” Afternoon, Nick Parish. “This is a slightly different riff – obviously this is a terrible cover but it firmly crosses over into ‘so bad it’s good’ territory. After all, who wouldn’t want to hear Lemmy singing about how hard it is to be a woman on this cover of Stand By Your Man?” Who indeed.


22nd over: England 134-2 (Root 43, Morgan 29) Chahal keeps it tight again. He’s conceded only 21 off seven overs, but he hasn’t been able to give Kohli the one thing he craves: a wicket.


21st over: England 131-2 (Root 41, Morgan 28) Morgan, facing Raina again, is like a man returning to the hotel buffet. He gives himself room outside off to play a lofted cover drive, and follows it up with something more orthodox, and just as clinical, in the same direction.

“Here’s the link,” says John Starbuck [previous over].


20th over: England 121-2 (Root 40, Morgan 19) A tidier over from Chahal, but it will take more than tidiness to turn this round.

19th over: England 119-2 (Root 39, Morgan 18) Kohli turns to his third spinner, Raina – the option Morgan didn’t go for with Root. Raina drops too short and after Root misses out, Morgan thumps him to the square-leg fence. That’s drinks, with England nearly half-way to a big win.

And John Starbuck is back for another spell. “If Kimberley Thonger [11th over] wants to know what a Nordic version of ‘I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts’ sounds like, he should check out the film My Life as a Dog (1985), where the Swedish version is the only record played.”


18th over: England 112-2 (Root 38, Morgan 12) Chahal half-deceives Morgan, twice, but fortune is favouring England after their bold start.

“Afternoon Tim.” Afternoon, Brian Withington, where on earth have you been? “Talking of Iceland and cover versions, you would need to travel a very long way indeed to find a better cover of anything than this collaboration between Todmobile and Jon Anderson. Like a Vince cover drive on a sunny afternoon – sublime.”


17th over: England 112-2 (Root 38, Morgan 12) More of the same. Kohli is trying to make something happen, but it’s just not working: the spin twins have none for 38 off eight overs.

16th over: England 108-2 (Root 35, Morgan 11) Root plays an uppish tuck, not unlike the one that did for Bairstow, but he evades the man at midwicket. He’s motoring along at a run a ball, right back in form.

15th over: England 103-2 (Root 31, Morgan 10) The Indians have been guilty of a few misfields and another one brings Root two overthrows, to turn a single into three. Morgan feels relaxed enough to pull out the reverse sweep, which brings another three, and that’s the hundred up, off 88 balls. England are well on top, but they still have a wobble in them.

England batsman Joe Root
England batsman Joe Root Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


14th over: England 96-2 (Root 27, Morgan 7) Root, using his feet like a dancer, spies a low full toss from Chahal and sweeps it for four. That’s five overs of spin that England have survived already, and they’ve taken 22 off them, which is all they need.

13th over: England 91-2 (Root 22, Morgan 7) Root is continuing with the masterclass in footwork that he began at Lord’s. He goes right forward to cover-drive Kuldeep for four, then right back to work him to midwicket’s right.

A tweet from Ravi Nair. “If we’re talking about cover versions of cricketers [8th over], then the grand daddy of them all is Sachin Tendulkar as the cover version of Sunil Gavaskar – The Little Master handing the baton over to the Little Master.” A rare case of the cover being even better than the original. Like Tainted Love.


12th over: England 85-2 (Root 17, Morgan 6) Chahal has another shout for LBW against Morgan, but his leg-break is doing a bit too much. But he gets a moral victory, and a row of five dots before Morgan pushes up to long-on.

11th over: England 84-2 (Root 17, Morgan 5) Kohli, spotting that England only need four and a half an over, goes for spin at both ends. Root seizes on a short one from Kuldeep, goes right back and somehow pulls it for four without hitting his wicket.

Meanwhile Kimberley Thonger is getting ever keen on the idea of an Icelandic tour. “Combining the Iceland and cover version themes, I vouchsafe the proposed touring side team song could be I’ve Got A Luvverly Bunch Of Coconuts in a Björk style, accompanied by Sigur Rós on the marimba.”

10th over: England 78-2 (Root 12, Morgan 4) Chahal’s first over has it all: the run-out, a strong shout for LBW as Morgan misses a big leg-break (off-break to him), and then a cracking four as Morgan latches onto a long hop. “Indian curry,” says a banner, “make England worry.”

Wicket! Vince run out 27 (England 74-2)

It was tight, but not tight enough to save Vince, who was undone by some smart work from Dhoni, grabbing a throw and flattening the stumps in one motion. So Dhoni redeems himself, and poor old Vince, who hesitated fatally after Root’s call, is left to rue yet another elegant 20-odd.



An appeal for run out against Vince, which looks very tight.

9th over: England 74-1 (Vince 27, Root 12) Root pulls Thakur for an imperious four, then takes a single and tells Vince that Thakur has resorted to cutters. Kohli is so grumpy that he’s off the field, presumably discussing what the hell he can do next. It looks straightforward from here: either the Indian spinners rip through England, or the series is lost. It’s all down to Kuldeep and Chahal.

8th over: England 67-1 (Vince 26, Root 5) Vince at his Vinceyest, standing up straight and creaming an off-drive, before going back to whip to long leg. Kumar has now gone for eight fours off four overs, and to add insult to insult, Dhoni is standing up to him.

“My brain has been trying to take the intersection of cricket and cover versions to a new level,” says Peter Salmon, “by thinking about cricketers who are cover versions of earlier cricketers.” Nice. “For instance it seems that it is the law that you can’t talk about Josh Hazlewood without mentioning Glenn McGrath. When James Vince came into the side he was always shackled to Michael Vaughan. Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed. Any others?”

7th over: England 57-1 (Vince 17, Root 5) Root at his Rootiest, going up on his toes to subject a perfectly respectable ball from Thakur to his back-foot caress for four. That brings the fifty up off 38 balls, and it’s followed by four leg byes as Dhoni adds a bit of incompetence to his intransigence. Has he lost it, do you think?

6th over: England 49-1 (Vince 17, Root 1) Joe Root nearly perishes to a comedy run-out – Vince’s revenge, perhaps, for being made to bat at three in Australia. Then Vince has a near-miss too, playing a Harrow cut for four. A better over from Kumar, who has changed ends in a bid to shake off the rust.

5th over: England 43-1 (Vince 12, Root 0) So Kohli was rushed into his first bowling change, but it worked, as Shardul Thakur nabbed the big wicket. Game on.

John Starbuck’s mention of possible tour of Iceland gets Kimberley Thonger going. “If there’s a requirement for a short portly military medium right arm over with Devon Malcolm tendencies in the batting department, I’m your man,” he says, irresistibly. “Available weekends until 18th December when I’m assisting SWMBO on a Hapsburg historical research venture in Segovia.”

Wicket!! Bairstow c Raina b Thakur 30 (England 43-1)

Nooooooooo! Bairstow sees another half-volley and chips it straight to midwicket. What a shame. With a hundred there for the taking, he has to settle for one of the greatest cameos you’ll ever see.

Bairstow walks for 30.
Bairstow walks for 30. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock


4th over: England 38-0 (Vince 7, Bairstow 30) Two more fours for Bairstow, a whip through midwicket and a punch past cover. Then he rather spoils it with a quick single, before flicking past fine leg, to make seven fours off his last nine balls. He has raced to 30 off 12. Sensational stuff.

Bairstow, smashing it around the park.
Bairstow, smashing it around the park. Photograph: Matt West/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


3rd over: England 23-0 (Vince 5, Bairstow 17) Kumar dishes up another long hop and Bairstow latches onto the cut as eagerly as Vince. The next ball is short again and straighter, so Bairstow pulls it for four. Then a full one, which goes past mid-off like a bullet, and a length ball, squirted to backward point. Four fours off the over. India didn’t do anything like that till the 49th.

Nasser mentions that India go better when Kohli is grumpy. “Where were you on the grumpy scale?” asks David Lloyd.

2nd over: England 7-0 (Vince 5, Bairstow 1) Hardik Pandya keeps it tight at the other end, allowing only a couple of snatched singles. Apologies in advance if my spellcheck calls him Panda, which it is itching to do. Are automated systems always inclined to be overzealous?

Meanwhile, here’s John Starbuck. “Just finished listening to TMS and the rise of kriket in Iceland (they don’t have a ‘c’ so that’s how they spell it). They are appealing for English teams to visit and play and promise some Viking-style drinking as part of the trip. As it’s the first time I’ve heard Egil’s Saga (Skallagrimson) mentioned outside a BBC4 history programme, and as they recount Egil’s feat of splitting the skull, with an axe, of a fielder who held the catch, I was wondering if the OBOccasionals would take a look at it? I always wanted to join them but circumstances don’t allow.”

1st over: England 5-0 (Vince 4, Bairstow 0) The first ball is a battle of the rusty titans – James Vince, recalled from a spell in the wilderness, facing Bhuvneshwar Kumar, returning from injury. Kumar serves up a loosener on a silver salver and Vince slaps it for four past cover. He’s such a talent, and it was such a bad idea to make him England’s No 3 for the Ashes.

Vince gets off the mark with a four.
Vince gets off the mark with a four. Photograph: Alex Davidson/REX/Shutterstock


A couple more contenders. “Kenny G does James Blunt,” says Henry Scowcroft. “Yes really. I’m so terribly, terribly sorry.” So sorry, in fact, that he sends the email twice, just to make sure. And finally, one from Scott Probst: “This is peculiar to Australia, but if you haven’t see Pseudo Echo covering Funky Town … don’t!”

Just when I’m thinking, is anyone intrigued by this cricket match or is it just me, here’s Andrew Benton. “Thinking of covers, what’s the longest time they’ve not come on in international games during a season in England? It’s been pretty dry recently, any new records set?” Good question. The summer of ’76 was pretty Saharan.

The criminal covers just keep on coming. “Sorry if I’m late on this,” says Peter Salmon, “but given it’s a run chase in a day-nighter, can’t go past a bit of Celine Dion and Anastacia keeping it real with You Shook Me All Night Long.”

“William Shatner,” argues Julien Lesage, “is the master of the downright weird cover. Here’s his version of Rocket Man. Once seen, never forgotten.”

Chris Whiffin’s not happy with my colleague Daniel. “I think you are a little harsh on the Killers. Their cover is nowhere near as bad as Madonna’s hat trick of shame – American Pie, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and Imagine; the last of which isn’t even redeemed by the fact it was for a good cause.”


A question from Smylers. “Dawid Malan was released from the England squad for this match, meaning he still hasn’t played in an ODI. He has played in both test matches and 20-over games for England. Are any other cricketers in the curious position of having represented England in the longest and shortest forms of the game, but not the one in between?”

Afternoon everyone and thanks to Daniel, who has set a daunting the standard with those awful cover versions. Intriguing scenario we’ve got here. England bowled well, especially the new-ball pair and Adil Rashid (get him in the Test team, Ed). And MS Dhoni again batted like a beginner, not the wily old pro he is.

That said, 256 is no disaster for India, whose demon wristies, Kuldeep and Chahal, could be even more lethal than Rashid on a tricky, turning track. England’s top order, usually so settled, is missing two of its biffers, Roy and Hales. My hunch is that England will either cruise to victory or collapse in a heap. What do you reckon?

While you wait:

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It’s also fair to say that Wood and Willey were excellent too. And England, though they don’t have Kohli, bat far deeper than India, rarely cleared out for fewer than they need to win this. Anyway, that’s me – Tim de Lisle will be here presently to call them hame.


England must chase 257 to beat India and win the three-match series!

They’d’ve took that at the start, as Ryan Giggs would say, but will be wary of a track that, while not a ranging bunsen, allowed Ali and Rashid to bowl so well.

WICKET! Kumar c Bairstow b Willey 21 (India 256-8)

Bhuvi sets himself outside the crease, swings hard, and Bairstow takes the catch running around the fence from midwicket.

50th over: India 256-7 (Kumar 21, Thakur 22) Willey with the ball; Thakur goes down the ground first up and the batsmen collide as they sprint a single, then four more singles follow. This is a good over, everything the last wasn’t.

49th over: India 251-7 (Kumar 19, Thakur 20) There’ve only been three boundaries in the last 11 overs, which is a brilliant effort from England, who bring Ben Stokes back here. His run out of Dhawan changed the flow of this innings, but look at that! He goes length and slower, but it’s straight and Thakur picks it up beautifully, taking six over square leg. So Thakur goes again, this tie to long on, and Plunkett’s there, diving full-length to hold screamer … except he’s got to toss it back because he’s headed over the fence. Still, he’s saved four because they run two, great work, and a bumper dot comes next. Thakur then forces into his pads and feet, scrambling two more in the process, and then look at that! Stokes bangs in, Shardul swivels hard, takes the ball with him, and that’s six more! This has not gone well for Stokes, who’s doubtless relieved when its final delivery yields just a leg bye, and with 17 coming there, India now have a sniff.


48th over: India 234-7 (Kumar 19, Thakur 2) Nice from Kumar, who steps to off and plays a lovely ramp for four. Two more follow, flipped to leg and sprinted, then three singles. Even if India managed 36 off each of the final two overs, England would fancy their chances of winning here.


47th over: India 224-7 (Kumar 11, Thakur 1) Wood will fancy himself to clean this up and goes through his tricksm, boomp-ah, boomp-ah, slow-ah ball. He finishes with 1-30 from his allocation, a fine performance – he set the tone with the new Mercury.

46th over: India 222-7 (Kumar 9, Thakur 1) Thakur plays to leg, they run like billy-o, and Willey misses with his shy.

WICKET! Dhoni c Buttler b Willey 43 (India 221-7)

This is a very nice ball, slanted across to Dhoni who can’t decide what to do with it, eventually playing the late cut because there’s no other options and guiding it to the keeper! India are in all sorts here!

Willey celebrates the wicket of Dhoni for 43.
Willey celebrates the wicket of Dhoni for 43. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock


46th over: India 221-6 (Dhoni 43, Kumar 9) They’re going. Dhoni gets a single, then Bhuvi flays but can only slice to long on, picking out the man, and they run one. Another single apiece, and then…

“Check this out,” emails Ravi Raman. “Or as I call it ‘how to pull off murder on an unsuspecting audience.’ (Despite what it says in the title it’s not from India but Pakistan).”

Oh man.

45th over: India 217-6 (Dhoni 41, Kumar 7) Dhoni cuts Wood, but Stokes is on the 45 and a dive saves four. a leg bye follows, then Kumar golf-swings at one and gets most of it, but picks out the sweeper at cover and they add just one. Even if India get 10 an over from here, England will fancy themselves strongly in the chase.

44th over: India 212-6 (Dhoni 37, Kumar 7) Single to Kumar, forced off his hip, and then Dhoni pulls four to backward square. One more follows, and we’re getting to a point; we might just be there now.

“Consider yourself furnished,” tweets J Peterman. I’m sure they’ve got some clue this is awful – it’s the obliviousness that’s so awesome in the Liam and Killers one. But yes, this is very very bad.

43rd over: India 208-6 (Dhoni 34, Kumar 6) Kumar gets off strike second ball but still Dhoni doesn’t go – in commentary, Sangakkara reckons he needs to be there til the 45th or 46th before he gets going properly. Still, when Wood gives him one to go at, a crap bouncer basically, he fetches it from outside off to pull for four and then whacks two into the covers.

“You did ask,” says Wayne Stubbs. ‘David Bowie’s “Starman” covered by the Krankies.”

The thing about it is that this one is a bit of a joke. Flowers and Gallagher will seriously have been sat there thinking “Yeah, proper nailed that, I have.”

42nd over: India 201-6 (Dhoni 28, Kumar 5) Stokes has Dhoni at the non-strikers but Bhuvi isn’t looking to hit out, mustering just a single from the first three balls. Stokes then tries to tempt Dhoni with a wide one … Dhoni leaves it and it’s called wide, which looks harsh … it’s right on the line. Another dot follows, and India are petering out here. Bhuvi will be on strike at the start of the next over.

“Paul Young doing Joy Division,” emails Roger Kay. “I mean come on.”


41st over: India 199-6 (Dhoni 28, Kumar 4) India are struggling to get anything going here, the run rate dropping to 4.87 – which they’d have been glad of in this over, taking just three singles from it.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Maybe that’s why Liam kept his coat on.

40th over: India 196-6 (Dhoni 27, Kumar 2) Morgan brings back Stokes who immediately incites an edge, but the ball doesn’t carry to Root at slip. Anyway, yesterday I think I heard the worst cover version ever – unless you can furnish me with a worse one.

39th over: India 195-6 (Dhoni 27, Kumar 1) It’s all on Dhoni now, who needs to be there at the end or close to it, problem being that India also need proper runs. Bhuvi gets off the mark straight away, but Wood then responds with three dots, the last of them a beaut outside off.

WICKET! Pandya c Buttler b Wood 21 (India 194-6)

Wood has bowled well today and this is a fine ball, short, quick and nicked.

38th over: India 194-5 (Dhoni 27, Pandya 21) Wood returns and Pandya takes him off the toes for two.

37th over: India 192-5 (Dhoni 27, Pandya 19) Moeen now comes in for the final time, as Bumble wonders if Root will get a twirl. Harbhajan reckons 275 might be enough for India, but they won’t want to settle for that and will be pleased to see the back of Moeen, whose last over yields just two.

36th over: India 190-5 (Dhoni 26, Pandya 18) In comes Rashid for the final over of a fine spell and after three come from the first three balls, Pandya chucks everything at a googly, almost dragging on but getting two to fine leg. So the next ball is tossed up and Pandya goes again, reading the leg spinner and getting all of it … but only just missing Plunkett, diving at wide long off. Still, it adds four valuable runs – can India go on from here? – and Rashid has 3-49 from his ten.

35th over: India 181-5 (Dhoni 25, Pandya 10) There’s enough in this pitch to worry England, particularly against Kuldeep, but India need more runs for him to play with. They get five from this over – three singles and a leg-bye two – which will keep England happy.

kohli rashid
“You mean Georgia and Sam literally went back in the villa not as a couple? No way!” Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

35th over: India 176-5 (Dhoni 23, Pandya 9) Another good over from Rashid yielding just three singles. Who are India going to target?

34th over: India 173-5 (Dhoni 21, Pandya 8) An over that’ll please both sides. India force five, but can’t find a boundary, and at what point do they start going after it? They won’t want to rely on 280 or so, but if they start whacking now, might find themselves struggling for 250. Drinks.

33rd over: India 168-5 (Dhoni 19, Pandya 5) England will be wanting to rush through a few overs before India gather themselves, but the batsmen manage a single each before Pandya almost drags on but instead sends an under-edge to the fence, a split-second before Stokes careers into the rope. The current run rate is 5.09.

32nd over: India 162-5 (Dhoni 18, Pandya 0) Dhoni eases the pressure with a slap through wide mid off – India needed that.

NO WICKET! The ball was going over and wide!

Huge review for India.

WICKET! Dhoni lbw b Ali 14 (India 158-6)

It’s a procession! But Dhoni reviews …

WICKET! Raina c Root b Rashid 1 (India 158-5)

Might this be the over that settles the series? Rahid tosses up again and Raina turns off his pads as though doing so deliberately, feeding the man stationed at leg slip for precisely such eventuality. England are right on top now!

Adil Rashid of England celebrates taking the wicket of Suresh Raina of India
Adil Rashid of England celebrates taking the wicket of Suresh Raina of India Photograph: Matt West/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


31st over: India 158-4 (Dhoni 14, Raina 1) Are India in trouble now? They’ll want double what they’ve got now, but it’s hard to see how they’re getting them…


31st over: India 156-4 (Dhoni 13) Ey oop. There’s a long pause, not because Pinter wrote this, not even while we all gather ourselves, but to check that Buttler didn’t remove the bails with his glove before the ball did. He did not.


WICKET! Kohli b Rashid 71 (India 156-4)


Virat Kohli looks at his stumps
Virat Kohli looks at his stumps Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


30th over: India 156-3 (Kohli 71, Dhoni 13) Dhoni comes down the track and swipes, picking out midwicket. So next ball he tries again, stretching down the track and sweeping four; he’s decided to go. A single then brings Kohli onto strike and and he steps back and away to smack Ali for four through point; lovely shot. Ten from the over, and India are doing ok, but only til they lose another wicket.

29th over: India 146-3 (Kohli 65, Dhoni 7) I imagine we’ll be seeing Plunkett soon, but in the meantime England’s, er, spin twins, are doing well enough. Just two singles come from this Rashid over and I guess the problem for India is that they need to up it but won’t want to lose any wickets at this point.


28th over: India 144-3 (Kohli 65, Dhoni 7) This is a good from Moeen, Kohli adding one and Dhoni forcing two away through point, the only runs of the over.

27th over: India 142-3 (Kohli 64, Dhoni 5) Rashid starts his fifth over with a short long-hop, so Kohli steps away and snaps it with his wrists for four at fine leg. The remaining five balls are milked for ones, and with the rate at 6.00, India are well-set for an assault.

26th over: India 132-3 (Kohli 57, Dhoni 4) Moeen returns – Dhoni struggled to get after him at Lord’s – and again, the scoring has slowed. These two will be wanting to bat most of what’s left – of course they will, they’re batsmen so won’t want to be out – Pulitzer please – but they know that there’s not much behind them. Four from the over.

25th over: India 128-3 (Kohli 55, Dhoni 2) Dhoni cuts for one to get going right away, Kohli shoves another to third man, and then Dhoni rushes through after nudging to mid on.


Karthik b Rashid 21 (India 125-3)

Rashid tosses up outside off and Karthik’s eyes light up. He goes to pound through the covers but gets lazy with his footwork so when he edges there’s a wide open gate through which the ball scuttles. He’ll be furious with himself for giving away good touch like that.

Dinesh Karthik is bowled by Adil Rashid during the 3rd Royal London ODI match between Engla
Dinesh Karthik is bowled by Adil Rashid during the 3rd Royal London ODI match between Engla Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock


24th over: India 124-2 (Kohli 53, Karthik 21) Kohli is just so controlled. After a single to each batter he prances backwards and plays a cut so late it was almost posthumous, as John Arlott would say, earning four and his fifty. Then, following a single, Karthik whips four more to midwicket; every time it looks like England have a lid on things, India base them with an over like this.

23rd over: India 113-2 (Kohli 47, Karthik 16) This is a good over from Rashid despite the inclusion of a wide – two singles are the only other runs – and Karthik almost pulls one onto his stumps, miscueing a drive.

“I am looking to move to Birmingham soon and have been having a trial run,” emails Ian Copestake. “I went to the T20 slogfest on Sunday and am still not sure what I thought about it. None of the players seemed excited (even Collingwood) and of course it was all very American with noise and adverts and such. I am hoping the County game remains in existence so I can purchase (or hire/borrow) a dog and sit and read undisturbed while something goes on out in the middle.”

Can anyone help?

22nd over: India 110-2 (Kohli 46, Karthik 15) Karthik fancies this, up on his tippy-toes and rocking back to crack two to deep point. Next comes a single to third man, and Kohli then waits to dab four through the same area; beautifully done. He’s in such perfect control here, one of very few batsmen who intimidate with their presence.

21st over: India 103-2 (Kohli 42, Karthik 12) Jos Buttler is kicking out a leg every time someone plays a cut, either to stop the ball or flick up an edge to catch – innovation meets reaction. Another quiet over, three singles coming from it, and England will be happier with this little passage. Kohli, though, is looking in fair touch.

20th over: India 100-2 (Kohli 41, Karthik 10) And Eoin Morgan agrees, replacing Moeen with Plunkett who, we’re told, might find it easier to generate pace running up the hill instead of coasting down it. And this is a better over for England, yielding just two singles.

19th over: India 98-2 (Kohli 40, Karthik 9) Rashid into the attack as, in commentary, they ponder how batting with Kohli makes a person anticipate crazy-quick singles. But Dhawan was slow to react there, taking an extra stride after being told no, so there you go. Anyway, this is a good over for India, three singles, a two, and then Karthik stretches out to the pitch of the final delivery, cracking four through extra cover. There was just a little bit of width there, and Harbhajan advises that England bowl straight and bring on a quick from one end.

18th over: India 89-2 (Kohli 36, Karthik 4) Karthik, Kohli’s tactical change, opens the face to glide four fine to third man.

Dhawan run out (Stokes) 44 (India 84-2)

Ben Expletive Stokes! Kohli twizzles to midwicket but signals to Dhawan that he should stay. Problem being, yerman is already halfway down the track, so Stokes collects, leaps, turns, and flings down middle stump! He is ridiculous! The umpires go upstairs, and the replay reveals Dhawan was just short.

Shikhar Dhawan is run out
Shikhar Dhawan is run out Photograph: Ed Sykes/Reuters


18th over: India 84-1 (Dhawan 44, Kohli 35) on the other hand, England could be in a far worse spot, had Dhawan’s thumping drives picked out fielders less often. Moeen continues and has a slip to Dhawan – your guess is as good as mine – and and and AND AND AND AND


17th over: India 82-1 (Dhawan 43, Kohli 34) Punishment is a dish best served immediately. Kohli reaches for one outside off to clump through midwicket, then ramps four more. A single follows, then Vince dives brilliantly at point to save three when Dhawan clambers into a drive; Stokes isn’t doing much here. England’s decent start is no longer a decent start, and that’s drinks.

16th over: India 71-1 (Dhawan 42, Kohli 24) It’s all very well playing an opponent with a dodgy middle-order, but you’ve got to get at it first. Dhawan and Kohli look in no trouble here … though what’s this! Kohli might have edged one that Buttler can’t hold … or was it bat into ground? It’s the former! Never mind, it’s just the greatest one-day batsman in history – take the positives.

15th over: India 67-1 (Dhawan 40, Kohli 22) Eoin Morgan wants a wicket – on comes Ben Stokes. Kohli forces a single to deep point, then Dhawan raises the fifty partnership by flipping four off his pads over midwicket. He looks in decent touch here, but the over yields just a wide and a single more.

14th over: India 60-1 (Dhawan 35, Kohli 21) On comes Moeen and Kohli takes one to third man, then Dhawan imparts a leading edge – there’s a bit of turn there, so the ball isn’t coming right onto the bat; England will enjoy facing Kuldeep, in other words. The over yields five singles, and India are, ever so gently – gentlily – turning it up.

13th over: India 55-1 (Dhawan 33, Kohli 18) In fairness to India, they’re getting bat to ball some of the time but picking out the fielders, and here they come … a single and two wides come from the first four balls of the over, then Plunkett serves Dhawan a leg-side half-volley which is flicks for four to midwicket. So Plunkett pitches it up to bring him forward … and forward he comes, stretching and reaching to drive four through extra cover, then again! Excellent from yerman, less so from yer other man.

David Willey throws the ball back from the boundary
David Willey throws the ball back from the boundary Photograph: Alex Davidson/REX/Shutterstock


12th over: India 40-1 (Dhawan 21, Kohli 17) Willey hangs on for his sixth over and after two dots, Dhawan shoves to off and fancies a single; Kohli does not. Guess what they decide to do? Two from the over, and India will be having a little think to their little selves – this is excellent from England.

11th over: India 38-1 (Dhawan 20, Kohli 16) Plunkett comes on for the second powerplay and Dhawan opens the face to drive hard, Vince diving well at extra cover. But after a dot there’s nothing Vince can do when Dhawan waits and opens the face a little more to powerglide four a little squarer.

“In these divisive and confusing times simplicity is needed,” reckons Ian Copestake. “Brexit may unhelpfully mean Brexit, but a ball is a ball is a ball.”

A red, white and pink ball, of course.

10th over: India 33-1 (Dhawan 15, Kohli 15) Kohli has seen enough, chipping over mid on … just, for four. Two singles follow, the second, to Dhawan, thanks to a great dive from Billings, on as sub. Kohli then runs another one down to third man, and England are well on top at the end of the first powerplay.

9th over: India 25-1 (Dhawan 14, Kohli 9) This’ll be Wood’s last over, I reckon, and he’s doing much the same as before, cramping room and chucking into the pitch every now and then. I think the time has come with him: he’s never going to be the Test player we hoped he’d be, but is more than useful at this. That said, what’s holding back this England side is the absence of a gun bowler or two to get them out of trouble when the batters don’t quite get enough. Two singles from the over.


8th over: India 23-1 (Dhawan 13, Kohli 8) Kohli is calm, so won’t be fazed by this start, but India will soon have a problem, all the more so if they lose a wicket because they’re getting nothing at the moment. With just one scored from the first five balls of the over, Dhawan starts running when Kohli inside-edges one – he’s sent back and forced to dive, making it, just, though a direct hit would’ve seen him away.

“Sylvester Clarke in the Hard Cases XI,” tweets Simon Rhodes. “Terrifying bowler, mighty drinker and robust crowd control practitioner.”

This sounds like you’ve got some anecdotes…

Anyway, my dad used to fancy himself at what he called “crowd control”. It was his job to administer the bouncy castle and my primary school fete, by which I mean I’m pretty sure he could have Clarke. Let’s set it up.


7th over: India 22-1 (Dhawan 12, Kohli 8) Another decent over from Wood. The batsmen take a single each before, from its final delivery, Kohli twists two to midwicket.

“Good afternoon from West Yorkshire,” begins John Starbuck, “where there’s a lot of cloud and some moisture in the air, but still warm enough for me to have the fan on. The wind is westerly and gusting strongly at times, which may influence the bowling. As for ball synonyms, you can have the nugget and the pill, often used in the past, plus my Roget offers projectile, missile, globe, taw (from marbles), bullet, spherule, onion, pellet etc.”

How about ingot, gonad and conscience.

6th over: India 18-1 (Dhawan 11, Kohli 5) And here he is, reaching and waiting for a wide one to edge four through point. The single he drives to mid off next ball is a far superior shot.

WICKET! Sharma c Wood b Willey 2 (India 13-1)

This is now a great start for England! They’ve strangled India in the early stages, forcing Rohit to try something, but like the joker he can’t get no release. His flick to square leg goes straight to the man, and the catch is as easy as you’re getting. That’s the good news for the hosts; the bad news is that Kohli is now in the middle.

Willey celebrates taking Sharma for two.
Willey celebrates taking Sharma for two. Photograph: Alex Davidson/REX/Shutterstock


5th over: India 12-0 (Sharma 2, Dhawan 10) Rohit tries forcing one away through cover point but it’s stopped easily enough and it’s the most attacking shot of another maiden over.

4th over: India 12-0 (Sharma 2, Dhawan 10) Rohit takes one to midwicket but then is diddled by a belter, seaming away as he presses forward. Four dots follow, and this is now a pretty useful start from England, though without a wicket to cement it as such.


3rd over: India 11-0 (Sharma 1, Dhawan 10) Wood tempts Dhawan with a smidge of width but on a perfect length for him, so he waits, leans, and creams it through extra cover for four. Delicious. And three balls later, four more, a short delivery helped around the corner and rightly so.

Dhawan smashes Wood for four.
Dhawan smashes Wood for four. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


2nd over: India 3-0 (Sharma 1, Dhawan 2) Willey bustles in down the hill and Dhawan plays at his first delivery, the ball rolling back and just past the stumps. Then, Dhawan plays forward and Willey shies for no reason, the ensuing overthrow getting India off the mark. I’m just wondering if Willey’s da, Peter – one of cricket’s most famously hard cases – was so because of the obvious reason. You’d have to be wouldn’t you? How else were you surviving the playground? And who else would be in your Hard Cases XI?


1st over: India 0-0 (Sharma 0, Dhawan 0) Swing first up for Wood, and also some movement off the seam which takes his fifth ball past the outside edge. The sixth does same too, making for a decent start for England. Maiden.


Mark Wood has the new cherry, which is also a rock. I think we need a new word for that – send in your suggestions.

Here come the batsmen!

Sharma and Dhawan take to the field.
Sharma and Dhawan take to the field. Photograph: Mark Cosgrove/REX/Shutterstock


Harbhajan is surprised at the changes India have made, but would like to see Dhoni bat four which may now be the case. We then see a graphic showing us that Kohli, Dhawan and Rohit have made nearly 50 percent of India’s runs over the las bit – not sustainable, reckons Ian Ward, though Nasser notes that if you’ve got those three in your top three, what do you think’s going to happen?

“England need Moeen Ali to be totally reliable with the bat today, as well as the ball,” reckons Andrew Benton. “He can make a huge difference if he bats for the team.”

Yes, he is perhaps the biggest “that’s the way I play culprit”. Every match and every situation is different, and it’s not negative to pay attention to that.

“Two candidates for your XI: MA Atherton nicking off (b. McGrath); PCR Tufnell (b. anyone medium pace or above) backing away to square leg?”

And the “daddy” of them all: Gooch lbw b Alderman. Possibly apocryphally, he even changed his ansafone message to “I’m out. Probably lbw to Terry Alderman”.


“Predictable dismissals,” begins Chris Moore. “Anybody at the opposite end to Inzamam…”

You’re telling him.

“If England’s confidence grew through the 2005 ODIs (which they lost) it was because almost the same team played both formats,” emails Jen Oram. “These days, the confidence of Morgan’s team too often shows up the comparative lack of it in Root’s. Sure, the Test team could win, but if they do it won’t be because the ODI team did.”

Of course there’s work to do whatever happens here, but in 2005 the T20 was important and England won the tri-series. But tangentially, I’ve been sure for a while that the ODI side would have a pretty decent shy at beating the Test side in a Test. I can’t believe that Roy, Morgan, Hales, Rashid and Plunkett would’ve done much worse than the various selected ahead of them. Still, at least Buttler is back now.

Ch ch ch changes for India. KL Rahul is replaced by Karthik – a tactical change to try and reinforce a failing middle-order – while Bhuvi Kumar and Shardul Thakur replace Sid Kaul and Umesh Yadav because they’ve not had a game yet. That’s an interesting move – handing out caps in a decider – and one that reminds me of Alex Ferguson. Tell your players you trust them, tell the opposition you’re better than them. I love Kohli’s attitude.


Eoin Morgan is looking forward to the challenge and says that Vince has been in fantastic form, especially in the Royal London Cup. Virat Kohli says India would’ve batted and a dry wicket looks likely to break up for the spinners.

England win the toss and will field.
England win the toss and will field. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


And now Dawid Malan has gone for 74. The Test series will be huge for him, because he needs to prove that Australia wasn’t a one-off.

At Worcester, Alastair Cook has just been bowled by Ankit Rajpoot for 180. Presumably he doesn’t still fancy himself for the one-day side.

Jason Roy’s injured finger keeps him out today, and with Alex Hales already hurt, James Vince will play some gorgeous drives before the inevitable inevitables. Aside from him, Shane Watson and David Gower, who else would make the predictable dismissals XI?

Context. One of cricket’s favourite words and usually conspicuous by its absence, but not today. England need to prove that they can win when it matters, to themselves as much as anyone. In last summer’s Champions Trophy they folded as soon as it got on top, frazzled minds left citing the “that’s how we play” defence; now, with the World Cup on the horizon, it’s time to embrace the pressure and in so doing, put India under it. Because India will be expecting to win the competition, and for them this is a chance to assert – or reassert – status.


Remember 2005? Thought not, so a quick refresher: England played Australia at cricket. You’re welcome.

But why is that relevant to us today? Well, that summer was noteworthy because the limited overs gear preceded the Tests, and to spectacular effect. In particular, it gave us an England side that believed they could do it and a Kevin Pietersen who knew he could do it, but more than that, instead of a raft of disposable entertainment which filled a gap after the main work was over, it gave us exciting cricket that got us going, part of the whole body of joy not an addendum to it.

And we’re seeing the same now: rivalry is building, needle is festering, Test match crescendo will eventuate. Beautiful.

None of this is to undermine the discrete brilliance that’s going on at the same time. Though either could be knocked over by Pakistan on a good day, England and India are the best one-day sides in the world and certainly the most consistent, replete with genius, daring and attitude. The T20 series went to a decider and now, even if the matches haven’t been especially close, we have one in the ODI series too. England will be looking to exploit India’s middling middle-order; India will be looking to exploit England’s uncertainty against Kuldeep Yadav; and both sides will be swinging for the fences. This is HUGE.

Play: 12.30pm BST


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Arts Culture Books Features, Books

Sophocles’ stories are ours as well


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Sophocles’ stories are ours as well” was written by Letters, for The Guardian on Tuesday 17th July 2018 22.12 Asia/Kolkata

Claire Armitstead (Ancient tales are back in fashion – for telling it like it is, 16 July) is only partly right. Surely the truth is that these tales were never out of fashion. Take Sophocles’ Antigone; before Kamila Shamsie updated the play, Jean Anouilh in France in 1944 used it as a parable of resistance versus collaboration, and Seamus Heaney, in The Burial at Thebes in 2003, discerned its connection to the Iraq invasion and the war against terror. Long before Anouilh, Sigmund Freud found the germ of his most famous theory in Sophocles’ Oedipus. And before Freud, George Eliot looked to Sophocles for the “delineation of primitive emotions”. Because they go to the dark core of human experience, these plays and tales will never lose their relevance.
Harry Eyres

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World Cup 2018: France celebrations continue and tournament memories – live!


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “World Cup 2018: France celebrations continue and tournament memories – live!” was written by Nick Miller (now) and Mike Hytner (earlier), for theguardian.com on Monday 16th July 2018 17.46 Asia/Kolkata

Thomas Krantz, writing from Gothenburg, is attempting to deal with the post-World Cup blues in the only way we football people know how: by watching more football: “Thank god one of the world’s biggest youth tournaments (Gothia Cup) is in town, otherwise I might actually miss football. Here are IFK Göteborg playing Leeds United (Boys 17). High tempo, audacious skills and great movement, so it’s almost as if it never ended. No VAR controversies though.”

Nick Miller back now from lunch (chicken sandwich, salt & vinegar crisps, banana for later), with thanks to John for dropping the D.Trump hand grenade ready for my return. Reminder: emails to Nick.Miller.casual@theGuardian.com, tweet @NickMiller79

In the big bad real world, President Trump has had his say on the World Cup, when meeting Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki Summit. Last week, Trump congratulated a Croatian journalist on his country reaching the final so he has been paying attention of some sort.

First of all Mr President I’d like to congratulate you on a really great World Cup. One of the best ever from what everybody tells me and also for your team, itself, doing so well. I watched quite a bit and in the United States we call it soccer and I watched quite a bit of it and I watched the entire final and the semi-finals and they were really spectacular games, but it was beautifully done so congratulations on that.


Here’s our story on that Transport For London bandwagon jumping. Did they name it Theydon Ronnie Boyce when West Ham won the 1964 FA Cup? Or Juan Pablo Angel after a run of Villa goals? Or Jamie Clapham Common after Ipswich’s run to 5th in the 2000-1 Premier League?

The end of the World Cup means transfers, transfers, transfers to get excited about, though how to take Leeds United’s latest message?

Kári Tulinius emails in: “Has there been any news about the pitch invaders and Pussy Riot in general? Hopefully all that World Cup bonhomie will mean that they’ll be released and nothing much will happen, but it’s hard not to worry about them.”

Here’s the group themselves on Twitter.

Our writers’ recollections and opinions of the tournament just gone can be read here.

Afternoon, all. If you need to get in touch, I can be reached at John.Brewin.Casual@theguardian.com and my Twitter handle of @johnbrewin_.

I’m off for a little lunch. John Brewin will stand in for a short while. Send your thoughts to him here.

Dejan Lovren has taken defeat in magnanimous fashion. He said after the final, courtesy of the Press Association’s Simon Peach:

I think we have been better today and overall we have been better. France didn’t play football. They waited for their chance and they scored. They had their one tactic and you have to respect it. They played every game of the tournament like that.

I’m disappointed because we lost the game but played much better football than them. I am proud of what we achieved, second in the world. I’m proud of everyone and for the country. We have regrets now when we look at decisions but it doesn’t make sense anymore.

It’s hard to describe. Maybe after a couple of months I will have everything straight. It’s hard now as I am some moments sad and some moments happy. Overall I am proud.

We played beautiful football and when we didn’t have the ball we stayed compact. But they had their chances and they scored. France have been one of the favourites to win the World Cup and they did. But nobody understands the rules [for their penalty]. Our guy couldn’t possibly react so why did he (Pitana) give it?”

More non-World Cup talk, and it seems that Gareth Bale will be sticking around at Real Madrid, now there’s a vacancy for being The Main Man.

And this is what they’ll be coming home to…

Miro Caric has some thoughts. Some cold, unsentimental but welcome thoughts.

“A few points about:

  • French win: as good a display of non-football as I’ve ever seen in a final – understand now why Hazard and De Bruyne criticised them. Around 35% possession; Griezmann dived for the first goal; stupid ref gave France the second. Very reminiscent of Man City being beaten by the officials when they played Liverpool in the Champions League. Overall, a moral victory for Croatia over pathetic France;
  • Player of the Tournament: Eden Hazard, by a country mile!
  • PR Success of the Tournament: England’s performance. As usual, they achieved nothing, with all the ‘promising’ players underwhelming…though, to be fair, Delle Ali did manage a dive for England’s goal against Croatia; Ashley thought he was in a swimming pool, as usual; and Trippier spent more time on his back against Croatia than Neymar. Lingard was mostly anonymous, Kane ineffective; with only Pickford and the two centre-backs enhancing their standings. Yet St. Gareth’s waist-coat was proclaimed a footballing miracle, and the whole team an incredible credit to a desperate nation. I can’t wait now for the Euros to see this team move to the next level, and possibly draw with at least one of the decent national teams…
  • Refereeing/officials: appalling, as expected. Even the VAR technology couldn’t help them with their spinelessness, blindness and apparent ignorance of the laws of the game. Under the circumstances, there was absolutely no justification for excluding their brothers-in-incompetence from England from the opportunity to display their dismal refereeing inabilities to an incredulous world.

“Apart from that, Putin put in the effort to make this a good experience, with no Novichok mishaps reported to date…which is probably good news for Trump. Sorry to be so relentlessly objective.”

New piece from the excellent Alex Holiga: Croatia feels proud of their team despite defeat, but they must use this to create something lasting.

Start ‘em young…

There were loads of brilliant photos from the game yesterday, but this one, by our own Tom Jenkins, might be my favourite.

Kylian Mbappe take on the Croat defence during the World Cup final.
Kylian Mbappe take on the Croat defence during the World Cup final.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Abhinav Dutta has a suggestion for moment of the tournament: “In keeping with my tendency to pick out moments of no actual significance, I would choose a brief sequence of high grade Modric. Boxed deep into the right flank of England’s half, swarmed by English players of all stripes, he flitted about with the nonchalance that accompanies his subtle genius. Pass-move-pass, shifting at all times the space to be worked in before the wide acres of the rest of the field opened up. I would like to believe that Perisic’s fizzing low shot against the post came from this sequence of passes but that is perhaps me trying to add value to what was otherwise a mundane instance of Modric’s calibre.”

“Easily the best tournament of my lifetime (born 1991),” writes Gabriel Szatan, in London.

“There was no single stunning watercooler moment, à la Zidane’s headbutt, Beckham’s red mist or Suarez’s gnashers; and no one team the world fell in love with, à la Brazil 2002. But instead, we were treated to an unceasing barrage of giant killings, dizzying last-ditch twists & turns, dozens of worldies from outside the box, and a blessed lack of bitterness and jingoism back home (whatever Modric might have inferred).

“Plus, how nice to have a whole month where day to day international relations in the news brings out feelings of joy, not despondence.”

And the final World Cup Football Daily: Barry, Max, Paolo, Phillipe, Barney and all your other podcast pals discuss the tournament’s denouement…


A fitting end to the World Cup for France, by Martha Kelner and Shaun Walker…

The player ratings: feel free to loudly tell Marcus Christenson how incorrect and biased he is…

David Hytner on a remarkable effort from Croatia, who just couldn’t quite manage to beat France…

Here’s Daniel Taylor’s match report from the Luzhniki…

Let’s have a quick reminder of our pieces from the final. Here’s Barney Ronay on the absurd Kylian Mbappé…

If you want a clean break from the World Cup, you might be interested to learn that Cristiano Ronaldo is in Juventus for his medical (just imagine if he failed it…) and his presentation to some delighted Italians…

Cristiano Ronaldo greets fans in Turin.
Cristiano Ronaldo greets fans in Turin.
Photograph: Flavio Lo Scalzo/AGF/REX/Shutterstock
A fan holds up a banner welcoming Cristiano Ronaldo to his medical at Juventus.
A fan holds up a banner welcoming Cristiano Ronaldo to his medical at Juventus.
Photograph: Flavio Lo Scalzo/AGF/REX/Shutterstock

When do you think it’s going to stop being weird, seeing Ronaldo at Juve?

Looks like N’Golo Kante is pretty well liked in the France squad…

How did your team do at the World Cup? If you’ve got a few minutes, fill in the form with your thoughts…

Do you think the players keep their lanyards as souvenirs?

Oh my…

Where does this rank in your favourite World Cups? Before this edition began a few people wrote in with their memories of previous tournaments: how would you fancy doing the same about the last month or so?


You may have seen Russian snapper Evgeny Feldman’s photo essay about following the World Cup in his homeland from last week. Now, it’s been updated with some bits from the final. Enjoy.

Here’s Paul McInnes on the telly battle: BBC vs ITV.

This is quite sweet. They’re just lads saying goodbye after a couple of months together.

Right then, let’s have your nominations for:

  • Game of the tournament
  • Goal of the tournament
  • Moment of the tournament (positive)
  • Moment of the tournament (negative/schadenfreude)
  • Biggest surprise of the tournament

Suggestions for any/all of them gratefully received.

Let’s just consider this picture of Paul Pogba – with his mum and brothers – dabbing with the World Cup, and think about the ferocity with which the heads of people who bang on about his hair are exploding.

Paul Pogba of France celebrates with his mother, Yeo, and brothers Mathias and Florentin as they perform a dab with the trophy.
Paul Pogba of France celebrates with his mother, Yeo, and brothers Mathias and Florentin as they perform a dab with the trophy.
Photograph: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

Pop culture/football crossover news: Beyoncé and Jay-Z played at the Stade de France last night. They had the game on the big screens before the show and wore France shirts – complete with two stars above the crest – while performing.

Incidentally, if you’re reading this from Moscow and are planning on flying home today, by the looks of things you should be looking to get to the airport at some point yesterday afternoon.

You want some numbers? Here are some numbers, courtesy of our friends at the Press Association.

  • 169 – goals scored in the tournament – two short of the all-time record from 1998 and 2014.
  • 27 – Neymar took the most shots in the tournament despite Brazil’s quarter-final exit.
  • 20 – Croatia’s position in the FIFA world rankings, the lowest-ranked nation ever to reach a World Cup final.
  • 26.34million – estimated peak television viewing audience for England’s semi-final against Croatia, with an average audience of 20.2m making it the fourth most-watched England World Cup match ever.
  • 10 – Belgium’s run to third place saw them become only the third World Cup squad with 10 different goalscorers, matching France in 1982 and Italy in 2006.
  • 1 – Spain goalkeeper David de Gea made only one save in his four matches in the tournament, from the seven shots on target he faced. His 14.3 save percentage was the lowest of the 40 keepers to make an appearance.
  • 700,000 – estimated fans who travelled to Russia for the tournament.

A wonderful email, from Kam Nandra: “I’m currently in Paris with a few mates. As soon as England lost the semi we booked flights to come over here to watch the final. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made.

“The atmosphere was amazing, especially after the win. Imagine an entire city erupting into party mode at exactly the same time. Millions of people singing, dancing, hugging. Kids, adults and the elderly.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it. Viva La France!”

Obviously there are bandwagons to be jumped upon, and TfL are hopping aboard. Appropriately enough, they’re probably a few days too late. From the Press Association:

Gareth Southgate’s return from a successful World Cup managing England will be celebrated with the temporary renaming of an Underground station after him.

Southgate Tube station will be branded Gareth Southgate from Monday morning in a stunt to last 48 hours, Transport for London (TfL) announced.

His squad’s fourth place in Russia was England’s best result since they also lost in the semi-final at Italia 90.

The Piccadilly line station, in Enfield, north London, will have its signs changed to display the manager’s name until the end of Tuesday.

Gareth Southgate tube station sign.
Gareth Southgate tube station sign.
Photograph: @Tfl on Twitter

Not just in London, either. Perhaps more justifiably, the Paris Metro is in on the act too.

How the Spanish press reacted. Note: that Marca headline means ‘two stars’, not ‘two lagers’.

If you’re a fan of spontaneous expressions of human joy, then this gallery of France celebrating last night is just the thing for you. Of course, if you’re the sort who doesn’t enjoy the sight of happy French people, give this one a swerve.

Celebrations in the fountain on the Place de la République in Paris.
Celebrations in the fountain on the Place de la République in Paris.
Photograph: Lucas Barioulet/AFP/Getty Images

What better way for the realities of a post-World Cup universe to be emphasised than with some transfer chat? Here’s this morning’s Rumour Mill, in which Paul Pogba is allowed about 12 hours to celebrate the crowning achievement of his life before speculation over his future begins.

Hello everyone. Think of this blog as your World Cup methadone. Gently easing you into the horrors of everyday life with some reflections, verdicts, reactions and odd bits of whimsy about the last five or so weeks. Anything you want to discuss, ask or complain about – on really any subject, as long as it’s loosely World Cup related – email Nick.Miller@theGuardian.com or tweet @NickMiller79

And with that, my time at the controls has sadly come to an end for today, and indeed for this World Cup. It’s been emotional. Nick Miller has navigated the perils of a post-World Cup train service and is in place to take over, so in the spirit of French victoire, I’ll bid you adieu, and à la prochaine!

Some interesting quotes from Sir Gareth Southgate upon his return to England.

“If I look back, probably a year, I had a long discussion with our board about what we wanted to do with the team, how we wanted to evolve. And they were brilliant. They didn’t put me under pressure to try to achieve a certain performance, or a certain outcome, but they were keen that we showed signs of progress and improvement.

“They [the young players] will be buoyed by the positive experiences, of which there have been many. But equally we know, we are under no illusions, about where we sit in the world standings.

“So the defeats have been hugely important for our development as well. We finished in the top four, deservedly in this tournament, helped by the draw. But we’re not a top-four team yet, and we know that.”

Inquest time! Did your team exceed expectations or were they on an unexpected early flight home? What is the reason for your team’s success this summer? And where do you think it went wrong for them? Share your thoughts on the last four weeks with us.

This is an interesting read, from the Guardian’s readers editor, Paul Chadwick. (Warning: contains a degree of trumpet blowing.)

“It was striking how the editorial and technical teams deployed the technologies that today allow genuinely international events like World Cup finals to be experienced by huge, disparate yet interacting audiences. All 64 games were live blogged. The live coverage of the England win over Colombia was viewed – mostly on phones – more than 3.1m times, and England’s semi-final loss to Croatia more than 3.7m. The guide to all 736 players had more than 2m views. Sixteen other World Cup items were viewed more than 1 million times each.”

Macron’s celebration makes it onto the front page of the Times today.

Meanwhile, France’s latest poster boy graces other papers, including the Guardian’s back page.

World Cup time isn’t just about digging out old DVDs of every single World Cup goal ever scored; despite the often treacherous path trodden by football filmmakers there is plenty out there to enjoy. Not least Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which benefits massively from not using an actor to play the subject of the piece.

You have to feel for Luka Modric. His performances over the last four weeks have, on occasion, captured the imagination and confirmed his status as one of the world’d best players. Yet what a year he’s had, despite missing out on a World Cup winners’ medal. Champions League winner, Golden Ball winner… Ballon d’Or winner? It’s a tough one to make a case against.

Mbappé got an 8 in the Guardian’s player ratings with an “outstanding” note to boot. But he wasn’t France’s best player on the night. We’re not supposed to do clickbait, but you’ll never guess who got a 9 (you will). Find out here!

No surprises that Mbappé was named the young player of the tournament.

Barney Ronay writes:

“In Antoine Griezmann’s set‑piece expertise, Paul Pogba’s easy craft and Kylian Mbappé’s extreme qualities of simply being like Kylian Mbappé France had enough controlled fantasy whenever their opponents showed signs of resistance. A brief word here about Mbappé. Blimey. Whoah. Cripes. Actually that is three. But you get the idea. What are we going to do with this kid? He is simply irresistible, not just a pure, brilliantly fearless talent, with a genuine sprinter’s technique that allows him to glide away in the smallest of spaces. He is also a joy to watch, a footballer of real charm and warmth, who still seems to be having the most wonderful time, playing with friends in the middle of all that epic-scale tension.”

I missed this earlier, but Adil Rami has announced his retirement from international football, following Les Bleus’ win. The 32-year-old Marseille defender did not play a single minute of the campaign in Russia, but can still call himself a world champion. Not a bad way to go out.

Here’s Martha Kelner and Shaun Walker with their take on last night, including the revelation that the World Cup trophy arrived at the stadium in its new Louis Vuitton travel case.

“The sky above was dark grey with flashes of thunder as the rain-, sweat- and euphoria-soaked French team lifted the trophy during a chaotic presentation ceremony. The winners’ medals were presented by Putin shielded by a black umbrella as an almighty downpour pierced a sticky, humid afternoon in the Russian capital. Macron remained uncovered and was wringing out his navy blue suit jacket on the pitch afterwards.”

The big news, though, is that with Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé and Mario Mandzukic all managing to score just one each (in the right net) on the night, the Golden Boot belongs to Harry Kane. He had already landed in Birmingham by the time the final whistle tooted in Moscow though, so he’s going to have to rely on Почта России (the Russian postal system) to get his gong to him in London.

France’s victory has prompted comparisons to 1998, when Aimeé Jacquet guided his side, which contained Didier Deschamps, to the summit of the world. Those comparisons might have been in the mind of L’Equipe’s editor too, judging by the headline in this morning’s paper.

World Cup finals, like all games really, can be won by fine margins. The smallest of details. How fine were those margins in the final? I’d contest pretty fine, given the VAR decision that awarded Antoine Griezmann the chance to score from the spot came with the game delicately poised at 1-1. Who knows which direction the game would have gone if the referee, Néstor Pitana, had opted not to penalise Ivan Perisic for his dangling arm. As David Hytner writes from the Luzhniki Stadium:

“The slow-motion replays looked bad for Perisic and it became clear what kind of a conclusion Pitana would reach. Griezmann scored the penalty and Croatia could smoulder with injustice. It was a borderline decision and, this time, there would be no way back for Zlatko Dalic and his band of fighters.”

From the ecstasy of the French, to the agony of the Croatians. How are they bearing up after having been so close to glory, yet in the end so far? Well, according to Una Hajdari in Zagreb, not too bad. “I feel great. We still made history, even thought we did not become champions,” said one fan, while another said: “We are sad, but second place is still a big deal for Croatia. We’ll all forget about it all once they come home tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, in Birmingham….

England plane
The plane carrying the England team arrives at Birmingham Airport.
Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

And the Croatian president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, has received no small amount of praise for her role in Russia during the tournament. This tweet rather sums it up nicely.

They say politics and football shouldn’t mix, but like it or not, the two are inextricably linked. Putting aside any cynicism for a moment, at least Emmanuel Macron appears to be a genuine fan of Les Blues.

President Emmanuel Macron
President Emmanuel Macron celebrates at Luzhniki Stadium.
Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


So, it’s becoming apparent who last night’s pitch invaders were: Pussy Riot. Three women and one man were dragged away (with help from Dejan Lovren), while Kylian Mbappé opted to high-five one of the women rather than manhandle her off the pitch. “The citizens in question were taken to the local police station,” the Moscow branch of the Russian Interior Ministry said. Other than that statement, there is no further word from the police as yet.


That wasn’t the only unruly French behaviour of the night, though, not by any stretch. The French players allowed themselves a moment of public inhibition when they gatecrashed Didier Deschamps’ post-match press conference to mount a desk – with the elan of a England fan clambering up a double decker bus – and spray champagne all about the place, no doubt to the delight of the congregated journalists with their cheap, waterproof equipment.


Great scenes on the last night as one million fans filled Champs-Élysées to celebrate their team’s victory. This, from Angelique Chrisafis in Paris, has the full story, although it’s not clear whether the “tears” in fans’ eyes was due to the emotion of the night, or indeed the tear gas fired off by French police in response to having projectiles hurled at them.


As we ease ourselves in, allow Max Rushden and guests to fill your ears with their thoughts on the final, another penalty, another controversial VAR incident, the tournament’s highs and lows and “players taking shots to the conkers”.


So there we have it. Vive la France! France are world champions once more, and who can say they don’t deserve to be so? Well, about four million Croatians for a start – you can understand that – but Didier Deschamps’ side has played some terrific football over the past four weeks, boasted one of the tournament’s most exciting breakout stars and, crucially, not lost a single game while posting six wins, including victories over heavyweight nations such as Uruguay, Belgium,

, Argentina and, of course, Croatia.

Naturally, France is a country losing its collective merde over the result at the Luzhniki Stadium, a theme we’ll focus on first up today, with reports of mad celebrations from Paris to Perpignan and beyond, some of which involve the police, sadly.

But it’s not just French who are celebrating today – it is also a day on which jaded Guardian livebloggers can finally rejoice the end of the tournament, as this is indeed the last daily World Cup blog for four years. Get your fill while you can. It also means that it’s a pretty good opportunity to reflect of what a wonderful tournament this has been, so please do feel free to get in touch on email (mike.hytner@theguardian.com) or Twitter (@mike_hytner) or below the line throughout the course of the day/evening/whatever it is where you are.

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World Cup 2018 final: France 4-2 Croatia – as it happened


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “World Cup 2018 final: France 4-2 Croatia – as it happened” was written by Barry Glendenning (match commentary), Will Unwin (build-up) and Niall McVeigh, for theguardian.com on Monday 16th July 2018 01.13 Asia/Kolkata

Barney Ronay on the final, Deschamps is soaked in champagne, and more!

Time to wrap up here, but there will be more reaction and analysis to come throughout the evening – and join us again tomorrow for our live blog, as we wave the World Cup goodbye. It’s going to be a tough week, isn’t it?

For now, thanks for joining Will, Barry and I, and congratulations to France, the worthy winners of a fantastic tournament. See you all in Qatar. Au revoir!

“The final was a tale of two games,” writes Kári Tulinius. “One had two good teams duking it out, with three beautiful goals. The other was the weirdest game of football I have ever seen, featuring pitch invaders, VAR, Mandzukic scoring at both ends, and world leaders in a downpour of rain and glitter. Mind you, France won both 2-1.”

David Wall nominates Nacer Chadli and Kevin De Bruyne for goal of the tournament: “both goals were the result of controlled, devastatingly incisive, length of the pitch attacks, and were decisive in their respective games.”

A quick reminder that if you’ve enjoyed our coverage of this epic World Cup, from our Experts’ Network through to live blogs, match reports and analysis, you can contribute here:

In news that will surprise nobody, Kylian Mbappé has been voted young player of the tournament. The 19-year-old forward became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pelé, and the Brazilian legend has had his say. I can’t help but feel that, at 77, he may have lost half a yard of pace by now.

Just as Diana Ross opened USA 94, Olivier Giroud has closed Russia 18:

And there’s plenty of time to submit your own player ratings:

Player ratings

Player ratings! Our football editor has made Antoine Griezmann his man of the match…

…but Griezmann is being edged out by Kylian Mbappé in your ratings so far:

France player ratings

A decent shout. The fears that Russia would embarrass themselves on the pitch in this tournament proved entirely unfounded.

More reaction from the Luzhniki Stadium now, from Martha Kelner and Shaun Walker:

What of today’s losing finalists? Croatia’s manager, Zlatko Dalic, was sanguine in defeat but felt aggrieved by France’s VAR-awarded penalty.

“I never comment on refereeing … but let me say one sentence. In a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty. That in no way diminishes France’s win but maybe we were a bit unlucky. The first six games we may have been favoured by luck, today not.

“I respect the ref. He did what he saw, fair and square. I never meant to be negative. With VAR when it is in your favour it is [good], when it isn’t, it’s bad. That’s all I have to say about that. VAR is a good thing for football.”


Antoine Griezmann has spoken of his pride of winning the World Cup as part of a multicultural French team:

“That’s the France we love. They are different origins but we are all united. It’s the same in our team, there are many players who come from different horizons but we do have the same state of mind.

We all play for the same jersey, for the cockerel, for our country, as soon as you wear the jersey you do everything for each other and it’s beautiful.”

Antoine Griezmann kisses the World Cup trophy

Another debate for you: what was the goal of the tournament? Here are a few of the obvious contenders, but feel free to suggest your own.

More scènes absolues from France, where Paris is celebrating wildly:

And here’s Emmanuel Macron dabbing with Pogba in the France dressing room. It’s embarrassing, but surely better than Theresa May flossing:

I’m loath to talk about England at a time like this, but Gareth Southgate has made some interesting comments on his return from Russia, calling for Premier League clubs to give more game time to English youngsters:

“I was given an opportunity here to blood younger players in this tournament and they have proved that they could perform. Club managers need that time [but] you have got to be brave enough to take those decisions.

“Some players we took – I’m thinking particularly of Pickford, Maguire, Trippier – they come back better players, more rounded individuals. I think we’ve got the basis of a really good team, and we’ve got some young players coming through. It’s got to become more difficult to get into the senior squad.”

Southgate also hinted that some of his squad may look to retire from the international game. No more than idle speculation on my part, but there are only three players in his squad over 30 – Gary Cahill, Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy.


Way, way back in the mists of early June, when your sticker album was half-full and you still fancied Egypt as dark horses, we gave you the chance to pick your all-time France XI. And here it is:

France all-time XI: Barthez, Thuram, Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu, Zidane, Platini, Vieira, Makelele, Henry, Griezmann.

Antoine Griezmann made the cut, but would any of his 2018 team-mates be in the team now?

Sticking with goalkeepers, and Thibaut Courtois has been named the best goalkeeper of the tournament. He can add another zero to that new Chelsea contract he’s after.

“The Lloris brain-freeze is just the latest in a series of memorable goalie clangers at this tournament,” says Peter Oh. “De Gea’s butter fingers, Kawashima’s finger wag, Caballero’s chip fail, Neuer’s disappearing act, Muslera’s Karius imitation.”

It’s not been a great month for the goalkeepers’ union, it’s true.

Oh, Hugo!
Oh, Hugo!
Photograph: Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Here’s some words from Didier Deschamps, who has become only the second man to lift the World Cup as a captain and manager, after Franz Beckenbauer.

“How marvellous! It’s a young team, who are on the top of the world. Some are champions at the age of 19. We did not play a huge game but we showed mental quality. And we scored four goals anyway. They deserved to win.”

“The group worked so hard and we had some tough moments along the way. It hurt so much to lose the Euros two years ago, but it made us learn too. The win is not about me, it’s the players who won the game.

“For 55 days, we have done a lot of work. It is the supreme coronation. We are proud to be French, to be Blues. The victory in the match belongs to them. Vive le Republic.

Didier Deschamps gets his hands on the World Cup once again.
Didier Deschamps gets his hands on the World Cup once again.
Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“How did France win, when Croatia had the world’s best defender in their team?” honks Woollie Madden. “It almost seems like France’s forward line was motivated by Dejan Lovren’s lack of respect.”

The tournament’s best player, and Luka Modric.
The tournament’s best player, and Luka Modric.
Photograph: Valery Sharifulin/Tass


How did the final compare to previous editions? It’s being touted as the best ever, which is a big call given it only finished an hour ago. It’s surely one of the most entertaining, though – with six goals, it had as many as the last four finals put together.

Look who’s decided to stick his oar in:

Here’s a terrific snap of Emmanuel Macron celebrating a France goal in the stands. For more of the best images from the World Cup final and beyond, check out our gallery and follow us on Instagram.

Photograph: Alexei Nikolsky/Tass


Merci Barry. Well, that wasn’t bad, was it? We’ll have more reaction and analysis to France’s 4-2 win – plus there’s plenty of time to reflect on what’s been a remarkable tournament.

Don’t touch that dial. I’m off to record the final podcast of the World Cup, which you’ll be able to download later. Niall McVeigh will be taking over here to bring you reaction and post-match comment.

Hugo Lloris lifts the World Cup trophy!!!

Trophy in hand, Fifa president Gianni Infantino makes his way into the scrum of celebrating France players and hands it over to their skipper Hugo Lloris. As the rain continues to pour down, the goalkeeper raises it skywards. France are the world champions and their coronation is marked by fireworks and an explosion of golden ticker-tape.

Hugo Lloris lifts the World Cup.
Hugo Lloris lifts the World Cup.
Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


France go up to collect their World Cup winners’ medals. In a downpour of biblical proportions, the players of France file past their presentation party, receiving the congratulations of their own president and Croatia’s. Standing there in her Croatia shirt and white trousers, Kolinda is soaked to the skin and doesn’t seem a bit perturbed.

Croatia collect their runners-up medals. The heavens open as Croatia’s players enjoy a guard of honour from their French conquerers and go up to receive their losers’ medals. It is hammering down with rain and there aren’t too many umbrellas on that podium.

Nestor Pitana collects his commemorative medal. The referee and his team of officials are booed by Croatia’s fans as they receive their medals from a presentation party that includes Fifa president Gianni Infantino, Russian president Vladimir Putin, Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and France president Emmanuel Macron.

Harry Kane wins the Golden Boot for top scorer, while Thibaut Courtois wins the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper. Neither are present to pick up their awards.

Luka Modric of Croatia wins the Player of the Tournament award.

Kylian Mbappe wins the Young Player of the Tournament award. That’s no big surprise. I know what I was doing when I was 19 and it wasn’t scoring goals in World Cup finals.

Presentation ahoy!!! After a long delay, the World Cup trophy is once again brought out on to the pitch, where a stage has been erected, by the former Germany international Philipp Lahm.

Harry Kane wins the Golden Boot: What with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann having to make do with just one goal each in this final, England striker Harry Kane has won the Golden Boot for being the competition’s top scorer, with six, despite drawing a blank in England’s past three games.


More on that second half pitch invasion …

Assorted memebrs of Pussy Riot invaded the pitch early in the second half, saying in a statement that it was “cool here” on the pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium. Having seen them being carried off the pitch by security goons, I can’t help but wonder how “cool” it is in their current lodgings, wherever they might be. Here’s Shaun Walker with the latest …

Rate! Rate! Rate! Rate! Rate!

France have won the World Cup final, seeing off a valiant effort by Croatia in the process. Here’s your opportunity to see how history will remember the winners and losers.

World Cup final player ratings
World Cup final player ratings

Match report: France 4-2 Croatia

Here’s our snap on-the-whistle report from the Luzhniki Stadium, which will be replaced by that of our Chief Football Correspondent Daniel Taylor just as soon as he draws breath.

Goals! Goals! Goals! It was high-scoring for a World Cup final, with six goals in total. One was an own goal, one came from a highly ducious penalty and a third came on the back of a hideous goalkeeping rick. The other three, scored by Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Ivan Perisic were quite outstanding and fit to grace any World Cup final.

World Cup final result: France 4-2 Croatia

France are the world champions: Didier Deschamps celebrates with his overjoyed players as their fans cut loose in the stands and in the streets and squares of France.

For Croatia, it’s a boulevard of broken dreams, but they can go home with their heads held high. They dominated this match for long periods, putting France under immense pressure. France enjoyed a bit of luck but were ultimately worthy winners. As Dider Deschamps gets the bumps from his players, Antoine Griezmann stands to one side weeping salty tears of joy.



Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeep! It’s all over – France have beaten Croatia 4-2 to win their second World Cup, two decades after their only previous success in the competition.

France celebrate.
France celebrate.
Photograph: Petr David Josek/AP


90+3 min: Sime Vrsalko is booked for a desperate foul on Antoine Griezmann. From the free-kick, the ball’s played in to the penalty area, where Paul Pogba takes his eye off it and mis-kicks completely when scoring looked easier.

90+2 min: Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba attack down the right flank on the break. Paul Pogba tries to be too elaborate and squanders possession.

90+1 min: The game enters its knockings as the fourth official holds up the board. There’ll be five minutes of added time for Croatia to pull off an escape that would be little short of miraculous.

90 min: Brozovic concedes a free-kick and kicks the ball away in frustration. He avoids a yellow card, not that he’ll care particularly.

88 min: Kramaric and Vida combine down the left flank in a move that ends with Ivan Rakitic on the ball, shooting from distance only to send his effort high and wide.

87 min: France win a free-kick and taske it v-e-r-y, v-e-r-y, s-l-o-w-l-y, as you’d expect. Time is running out for Croatia, whose commendable resilience looks set to go unrewarded.

85 min: Pjaca skips and shimmies down the right flank, foxing Lucas Hernandez with a couple of stepovers. He tries to pick out Sime Vrsalko, but the Croatia right-back isn’t on the same wavelength as his team-mate and a promising move breaks down.

83 min: Free-kick for Croatia, wide on the left. Ivan Rakitic swings the ball into the penalty area, where Hugo Lloris plucks it from the sky.

82 min: Croatia substitution: Ivan Strinic off, Marko Pjaca. France substitution: Olivier Giroud off, Nabil Fekir on.

80 min: What with all the excitement since the interval, I haven’t got around to mentioning the pitch invasion that took place at the beginning of the second half. Luckily, our man Shaun Walker in Moscow has all the skinny.

“The Russian protest performance group Pussy Riot have claimed responsibility for a pitch invasion early in the second half at the game. ‘Right now, there are four members of Pussy Riot on the pitch,’ the group wrote on its Facebook page. It said the pitch invasion had been a protest with demands including:

1. Free political prisoners

2. Do not put people in jail for social media “likes”

3. Stop illegal detentions at political rallies

4. Allow political competition in Russia

5. Do not fabricate criminal cases and detain people for no reason

Pussy Riot gained notoriety for a protest inside Moscow’s biggest cathedral in 2012, for which three participants were arrested and jailed for varying lengths of time. Since then, the three women who were put on trial have separated, with two of them – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina – still appearing separately using the Pussy Riot name. It was unclear whether either of them were involved on Sunday.

On Twitter, the group’s account said it would post photographs and video very soon. “Hi everyone from the pitch at Luzhniki, it’s cool here,” the tweet read.


78 min: Close for Croatia, as a wonderful move ends with a low, diagonal Ivan Rakitic shot being deflected narrowly wide of the far upright by Steven Nzonzi. Referee Nestor Pitana awards a goal-kick, having failed to spot the nick off the French substitute.

75 min: Croatia substitution: Andre Kramaric on for Ante Rebic. France substitution: Corentin Tolisso on for Blaise Matuidi.

69 min: Apparently oblivious to the fact that Mario Mandzukic is bearing down on him, Hugo Lloris attempts to field a backpass from Olivier Giroud. He takes one touch, then another before opting to pass the ball back to Giroud, or perhaps Paul Pogba.

As he does so, Super Mario intercepts and slots the ball into the empty net from about four yards out. The Croatia striker is quick to retrieve the ball from the net and place it back on the spot for kick-off as the camera focusses on the ashen-faced France goalkeeper. Somewhere on Merseyside, Loris Karius is offering up a silent prayer of thanks.


GOAL! France 4-2 Croatia (Mandzukic 69)

Croatia pull one back after Mario Mandzukic capitalises on some shocking goalkeeping from Hugo Lloris to give his team a sporting chance.

Mandzukic gets one back after a howler from Lloris.
Mandzukic gets one back after a howler from Lloris.
Photograph: Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters


67 min: For all Croatia’s pluck, this World Cup final is turning into a procession for France, whose coronation as World Champions now looks a formality. Kylian Mbappe takes possession of the ball 25 yards from goal, gives a little shimmy and sends a low drive fizzing past both Domagoj Vida and then Danijel Subasic into the bottom left-hand corner.


GOAL! France 4-1 Croatia (Mbappe 65)

France go 4-1 up, with Kylian Mbappe becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since a young Brazilian lad by the name of Pele a very long time ago.

Mbappe scores the fourth for France.
Mbappe scores the fourth for France.
Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images
And celebrates.
And celebrates.
Photograph: Michael Regan/FIFA via Getty Images


63 min: France went close to putting the game completely beyond Croatia not long after scoring their third. Olivier Giroud tried a rather ambitious overhead kick that was heading towards Antoine Griezmann, completely unmarked at the far post. It took a crucial interception by Marcelo Brozovic to prevent France from going 4-1 up.

61 min: That was a great goal by Pogba, albeit a tiny bit fortuitous. He charged upfield and laid the ball off to Mbappe. He played the return pass to Pogba a couple of yards outside the penalty area and his shot towards the bottom right -hand corner was blocked. He gets a second bite of the cherry and with Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic wrongfooted, steers the ball into the bottom left-hand corner with his weaker left foot. Who is this fine player and is he in any way related to the facsimile of himself we saw playing for Manchester United more often than not last season?

GOAL! France 3-1 Croatia (Pogba 59)

Paul Pogba increases France’s lead, in a move he started and finished. His first shot from the edge of the area is blocked, but the ball breaks kindly for him and he scores at the second attempt with his left foot.

Pogba scores.
Pogba scores.
Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Pogba celebrates number three for France.
Pogba celebrates number three for France.
Photograph: Michael Regan/FIFA via Getty Images


58 min: Perisic takes on and beats Benjamin Pavard down the left flank, but overcooks his cross. It’s too high for Mario Mandzukic, who is loitering with intent in his usual spot at the far post.

55 min: France substitution: N’Golo Kante off, Steven Nzonzi on. The diminutive Chelsea midfielder is on a yellow card and has not had one of his better games, having been targeted by Croatia’s players and put under huge pressure any time the ball comes his way. He makes way for Arsenal target Steven Nzonzi.

54 min: Mandzukic clatters Lloris as the pair contest a high ball and there’s a break in play as the France goalkeeper receives treatment.

52 min: Paul Pogba releases Kylian Mbappe with a ball down the inside left. He gets around Vida, outmuscling the left-back and unleashes a shot. LSubasic is out quick to smother his shot from a narrow angle. Should he have squared the ball for Olivier Giroud instead? The French striker will almost certainly think so.

Mbappe fires at goal, Subasic blocks.
Mbappe fires at goal, Subasic blocks.
Photograph: Petr David Josek/AP


50 min: Croatia begin the second half as they began the first, in a state of total dominance. They win another corner, but nothing comes of it. France do appear to be rocking against a team that never knows when it’s beaten.

49 min: Hugo Lloris is forced out of his area to clear, sweeper-keeper style, after Raphael Varane dashes back to take the ball off Ivan Perisic’s toe.

48 min: Ante Rebic is put through on goal by a wonderful pass from Ivan Rakitic. His surface-to-air diagonal effort from about 15 yards is tipped over the bar by Hugo Lloris. Nothing comes from the ensuing corner.

Rebic shoots, but it’s tipped over by Lloris.
Rebic shoots, but it’s tipped over by Lloris.
Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters


Second half: France 2-1 Croatia

46 min: The second half begins, with Croatia a goal behind in the World Cup final. My inbox has been inundated with correspondence from readers, many of whom don’t appear to know the rules of VAR or the laws of football. It all makes for good debate, albeit the kind this technology was supposed to end.

That France penalty: The consensus in the BBC studio seems to be that Croatia were very hard done by and having seen another couple of replays, I’m very much inclined to agree. Perisic had an impaired view and it seemed very, very harsh of referee Nestor Pitana to decide, on the back of repeated viewings, that the handball was deliberate. Oh VAR, you were doing so well up to this point in the World Cup and now you’ve let us down in the final.

Half-time: France 2-1 Croatia

France lead: The interval is upon us and France lead courtesy of an Mario Mandzukic own goal that came from a free-kick that probably shouldn’t have been awarded and a penalty that almost certainly should not have been awarded. Ivan Perisic, who has been outstanding for Croatia, has scored the goal of the game to keep his team in contention. So much for VAR putting an end to game-changing controversy.


45+3 min: Vrsalko sends in a glorious cross from the right touchline, that hangs in the corridor of uncertainty in front of the France goal. For reasons best known to himself, Perisic doesn’t gamble and go for it and another great chance goes a begging.

45+2 min: There are grey skies over the Luzhniki Stadium and a couple of rumbles of thunder rend the air.

45+1 min: Croatia win another two corners in quick succession and there’s a break in play as Samuel Umtiti receives treatment for an injury. Rakitic sends the ball into the mixer, where Vida makes the faintest contact with his head. The ball skims wide and the Croatia full-back rues a missed chance. He should have scored!!!

43 min: Lucas Hernandez is booked for a late challenge on Ante Rebic and not long afterwards, Ivan Perisic has a shot blocked by Paul Pogba, who puts the ball out for a corner.

40 min: So, VAR has made the first big World Cup final call in history and I’m not 100% convinced it was correct. The ball was crossed from the right and Matuidi, who was being marked by Perisic, got his head to it. Before he did so, Perisic had dropped his arm and made contact with the ball. The referee didn’t see him do so, but had his attention drawn to it by France’s players and his VAR officials. Was the handball deliberate? Quite possibly. Was it a thse kind of “clear and obvious error” by the referee that VAR was brought in to over-rule? Not for me, Clive.

40 min: Mario Mandzukic is too slow to react after Ante Rebic fails to connect with a wonderful Ivan Perisic cross from the left into the penalty area.

GOAL! France 2-1 Croatia (Griezmann 38pen)

Antoine Griezmann nonchalantly rolls the ball past Danijel Subasic into the bottom left-hand corner and France re-take the lead. It’s the Woirld Cup final and it’s 2-1 to the French.

Griezmann slots home the penalty.
Griezmann slots home the penalty.
Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters
France celebrates regaining the lead.
France celebrates regaining the lead.
Photograph: Lars Baron/FIFA via Getty Images


37 min: Ivan Perisic is penalised for handball and if that was a “clear and obvious error” by the referee, it certainly didn’t look like one to me. Antoine Griezmann waits to take the penalty as Subasic delays proceedings by refusing to get on his goal-line.


36 min: The ref studies his monitor at great length – then awards the penalty!

Referee Nestor Pinata consults VAR before awarding France a penalty.
Referee Nestor Pinata consults VAR before awarding France a penalty.
Photograph: David Ramos/FIFA via Getty Images


33 min: France win a corner, which Griezmann curls into the penalty area. Blaise Matuidi tries to get on the end of it, but doesn’t make decent contact with his head. France’s players claim Ivan Perisic, who was marking Matuidi, handled the ball and it’s going to VAR!!! Referee Nestor Pitana is going pitch-side for a look at his monitor.

30 min: Ivan Perisic has been outsatanding for Croatia in this match and gets the equaliser his team deserves. He drew the foul about 40 yards from the French goal and the ensuing free-kick was very well worked. Modric floated the ball to the far post, where Sime Vrsalko headed it across the penalty area. It dropped for Perisic right on the edge of the box and he bided his time, taking a touch and making space for a shot before unleashing an unstoppable, low, diagonal drive into the bottom right-hand corner with his left foot.

GOAL! France 1-1 Croatia (Perisic 29)

It’s level in Moscow! Ivan Perisic blasts the ball past Hugo Lloris with an unbelievable left-footed strike.

Perisic scores the equaliser.
Perisic scores the equaliser.
Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters
And reels off in celebration.
And reels off in celebration.
Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters


28 min: N’Golo Kante gets the first yellow card of this final, for a sly swipe on Perisic, who was advancing towards the France penalty area.

26 min: Croatia wingers Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic switched sides some time ago, to no obvious or positive effect for Croatia.

25 min: With just over a quarter of the game gone, Croatia’s players and supporters must be cursing their luck. They have been completely dominant but somehow find themselves a goal down.

23 min: Domagoj Vida puts a stop to the first Killian Mbappe gallop of note as Blaise Matuidi tries to put the lightning fast teenager through on goal as France counter-attack. That’s a brilliant tackle from the left-back.

Incredible scenes: Having been on the back foot for the first quarter of the game, France go ahead courtesy of an own goal from Mario Mandzukic that was totally against the run pf play. From the aforementioned free-kick, Antoine Griezmann whipped the ball into the penalty area, where Croatia were defending far too deeply. Back defending, Mario Mandzukic rose highest to get the touch that sent the ball past Danijel Subasic and inside the far upright. The camera cuts to Mandzukic, who looks completely stunned by what’s just happened.

GOAL! France 1-0 Croatia (Mandzukic 18og)

France take the lead courtesy of “their” first shot on goal.

Mandzukic connects and scores an own goal.
Mandzukic connects and scores an own goal.
Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Croatia devestated.
Croatia devestated.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian



17 min: Antoine Griezmann gets what might well have been his first touch of the game and wins a free-kick on the back of a fairly innocuous challenge by Marcelo Brozovic. It’s about 30 yards from goal, well right of centre.

16 min: Ivan Perisic goes down holding his face following an off-the-ball incident involving him and Lucas Hernandez. Replays show he shipped a completely accidental blow to the face as he tried to spin in behind the defender to make a run on goal. He’s fine to continue and play resumes.

15 min: Ivan Perisic is put into space down the left flank and gallops towards the byline. He’s unable to get a cross into the penalty area towards Modric, as Umtiti gets back to intercept.

13 min: France get the ball out of their own half, only to see it sent back with interest courtesy of a powerful Dejan Lovren header. The French don’t look at the races here at all – Croatia are bossing them completely, but have yet to create a chance of note.

11 min: Ivan Perisic chases a beautifully weighted pass over the top from Ivan Rakitic, but the ball’s shepherded out of play by Umtiti before the Croatian forward can bring it down.

Player guide


10 min: It’s all Croatia, with France struggling to get out of their own half. “Croatia just look sharper all around the pitch,” says BBC co-commentator Martin Keown. “They all know their roles and responsibilities.”

8 min: A crucial Mbappe block on Ivan Strinic results in a corner for Croatia when France looked under intense pressure. The Croatian midfielder nutmegged Pavard to play in Strinic, who was bearing down on the near post from a tight angle. Mbappe did well to get back to block his cross and nothing comes of the corner.

Mbappe blocks the cross from Strinic.
Mbappe blocks the cross from Strinic.
Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters


7 min: Thinking about it, N’Golo Kante is about 18 inches tall – how can his boot be high?

6 min: France enjoy some time on the ball in their own half, yet to get a foothold in this game in the face of tireless Croatia pressing. They concede a throw-in halfway inside the Croatia half and Croatia win a free-kick for a high N’Golo Kante boot on Luka Modric.

5 min: Croatia have started much the brighter of the two sides and right-back Sime Vrsalko, who’s playing very high up the pitch, swings in a cross from the touchline. Nothing comes of it.

3 min: Benjamin Pavard is caught napping on the ball, allowing Ivan Perisic to get forward. He takes on Raphael Varane and tries to beat him with a few step-overs, but the French defender isn’t having any of it.

2 min: Luka Modric concedes the first free-kick of the game with a foul on Samuel Umtiti as he puts the French central defender under pressure early doors. Croatia, to nobody’s great surprise, will be adopting their usual pressing game.

2 min: The ball’s pinged around the middle third of the field by players from both sides, with Ivan Rakitic and Kylian Mbappe among those to get early touches.

The World Cup final is GO!!!

1 min: Croatia kick off, their players wearing red and white check shirts, white shorts and white socks. The players of France wear navy blue shirts, shorts and socks.

Mandzukic kicks off.
Mandzukic kicks off.
Photograph: Robert Cianflone/FIFA via Getty Images


It’s nearly time: After what must have seemed liked an interminable day’s wait, the players of both teams get the last of the pre-match formalities under way. THere are handshakes all around as Hugo Lloris and Luka Modric exchange pennants and get the coin-toss out of the way. Fasten your seat-belts …

France national anthem.
Croatia national anthem.

Out they go. There’s no chat whatsoever between the players, whose faces are a study in concentration as they are given the order to march out into the colosseum’s arena. They line up either side of referee Pitana and his team of assistants and prepare for the national anthems.

The teams line up prior to kick off.
The teams line up prior to kick off.
Photograph: Sandra Montanez/FIFA via Getty Images


Not long now: The teams line up in the tunnel, as out on the pitch, former German international Philipp Lahm returns the World Cup trophy for a new team to claim. He places it on a ceremonial plinth for the teams to gaze at as they march out on the pitch. It’s up for grabs now!!!

Today’s referee: Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana has been given the honour of officiating this afternoon. The 43-year-old has already refereed four matches at Russia 2018: Russia v Saudi Arabia and Mexico v Sweden in the group stages, followed by the the Round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark and the quarter-final between Uruguay and France. A PE teacher by trade, expect him to force any players who “forget” their kit today to play in their vest and pants.

Nestor Pitana
Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana is in charge today.
Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

“Roy, did you enjoy that?” asks ITV presenter Mark Pougatch of a certain volatile former Irish international skipper once the closing ceremony ends and they begin clearing the pitch for the main business of the day. “Not really, says Mr Keane, for it is he. It’s a load of nonsense and you’re thinking of the players in the dressing room. It is what it is.”

The closing ceremony is under way: The players have made way for the performers participating in a closing ceremony which is being headlined by Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Kosovian artist Era Istrefi singing the World Cup anthem Live It Up, it says here. It’s quite the garish spectacle, as you might expect. And one which is mercifully being ignored by the BBC.

Both sets of players are out warming up: They all look quite relaxed, but what must they be thinking? Presumably the key is to treat this as just another game, but it’s inconceivable that the possible ramifications of victory or defeat will not be weighing heavily on the minds of all 22 starters.

Here in Blighty: On the BBC’s coverage, Gary Lineker and his team of pundits are picking over the bones of England’s World Cup and the consensus seems to be that the English public has fallen back in love with a football team that has done them proud, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. That sounds about fair.

France v Croatia line-ups …

Those teams again, with less than an hour to go until kick-off. There are no major surprises as both managers go with their tried and trusted first choice elevens.

France v Croatia line-ups
France v Croatia line-ups
Photograph: Fifa.com

Good afternoon everybody. It’s the 12th World Cup final of this middle-aged man’s lifetime, the 10th I’m vaguely aware of and I could scarcely be more excited. It’s not the one England fans wanted to see, but it’s the one we’ve got and here’s hoping it draws one of the most exciting, intriguing and fascinating World Cups I’ve ever seen to suitably fitting close.

Good news! Barry is here and raring to go, which means you are saved from me and also that we are closing on kick-off!

Enjoy the game!

Looks like Davor Suker has wandered over to Giggs and Bilic to laugh at them for wearing the same outfit.

“Lads, it’s really warm and you’re both dressed as cat burglars.”

David Hytner thinks this could be Pogba’s moment. . .

Well, this is awkward, both Slaven Bilic and Ryan Giggs have both come dressed as the Milk Tray man.

The BBC pundits have gone for their traditional World Cup final suits, which always seems a touch unnecessary to me.

Marcel Desailly is the perfect man to discuss Didier Deschamps. . .

It’s a big day for Olivier Giroud who has been utilised as a non-scoring striker by Deschamps throughout the tournament but his hold up play and physicality has been essential in getting the best out of those around him, as Griezmann and Mbappe will testify. The scene seems set for him to score today, doesn’t it?

Former Croatia international Aljosa Asanovic has kindly penned this for us. . .

It would be a proud record to have.

The players are in the house!

Mario Mandzukic and his Croatia team-mates have a wander on the pitch.
Mario Mandzukic and his Croatia team-mates have a wander on the pitch.
Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Plenty has been happening in the World Cup, so you may have missed the weird and the wonderful, but do not fear. . .

Let’s not forget that before all the actual football, we will be treated to a closing ceremony, a display that no one wants to see. I assume this will be the moment that Putin final confirms his plan for world domination, as the military perform the Russian version of the haka, as Will Smith screams the national anthem at the confused attendees.

No surprises in those two lineups. Both teams at full strength, which is what we all want for a final. No one suspended, ruling out those needlessly cruel blows that many have suffered in the past.


Where will the game be won and lost? Jonathan Wilson thinks he has the answer. . .

For those of you who like your team in text form, here they are:

France: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez, Pogba, Kanté, Mbappé, Griezmann, Matuidi, Giroud.

Croatia: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Strinic, Lovren, Vida, Rakitic, Modric, Brozovic, Perisic, Mandzukic, Rebic.

Dawah wonders what has happened to Croatia’s forgotten man: “Nikola Kalinic from Croatia was sent home from the WorldCup for refusing to come on as a substitute in their opening game against Nigeria. Wonder what he’s doing today?”

I do hope he would still get a winner’s medal.

Team news: France v Croatia

Here are the starting lineups for the World Cup final!

Raphael Varane has been superb during this tournament, which means it is a cracking time to remind yourself of this:

The World Cup trophy has its own security and, to be honest, I am not going to mess with them. No need for Pickles in Moscow, I suspect.

Security guard the World Cup trophy in Moscow.
Security guard the World Cup trophy in Moscow.
Photograph: David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Kari has emailed in about fulfilling dreams and going to space: “Kids all over the world dream of one day scoring in a World Cup final, and now a couple of dozen former kid dreamers have a chance to do so. From 1930 only 57 players have scored in a men’s world cup final, by comparison 536 people have gone into space. In the last quarter century, there have been only nine goals scored in World Cup finals, and a third of them by Zinedine Zidane. Whoever scores today will join a very exclusive club.”

What you really want is some top quality writing from people who certainly are not me.

What we have for your peepers is. . .

Ed Aarons on Thuram being a hero

Jorge Valdano discusses the final

Daniel Taylor previews the match

Barney Ronay on Modric

Thomas asks: “Any last minute tactical predictions? Will any manager spring some surprises on us?”

I predict zero surprises, it is not really the time for it.

As a scarf, it doesn’t really do it for me. . .

A vendor selling scarves in Moscow.
A vendor selling scarves in Moscow.
Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

N’Golo Kante, the 12th and 13th man for France, has once again been superb throughout the tournament. His determination to cover ground and break up play has been a key influence on France and Paul Pogba, who does not get such luxuries when next to Marouane Fellaini in the Manchester United engine room. Kante will have his eyes on Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic, who have been devastating for Croatia but he will not be worried about that.

Who are you supporting, Vlad?

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic (left) presents a shirt to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic (left) presents a shirt to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Photograph: Yuri Kadobnov/AP

This is no time for looking back, as we are just two hours away for the biggest game in the last four years. I’ve taken a heavy intake of breath and I am almost fully prepared for what is about to come.

Lovren and Vida have had a great tournament, the former proclaiming that he is now one of the world’s finest exponents of the art of defending but they are really going to need to be at their best if they are to keep the triple threat of Giroud, Griezmann and Mbappe quiet. I can’t see it myself but they keep proving everyone wrong.

Hello there!

After a month of football, we are at the final. Thirty-two teams have become just two. Many expected France to be contenders but Croatia have done the surprising thing of being a dark horse who actually do the unexpected and reach the final.

It seems to have been built as a battle of Kylian Mbappé versus Luka Modric as they are the two standout performers left in the tournament, in my humble opinion. The pace, power, skill and finishing of a teenager against the cunning and passing of a 32-year-old facing perjury charges, it is what this game was meant to be.

Across the pitch Croatia have field a number of heroes who have battled their way to the final thanks to two penalty shootout victories and seeing off England in the semis and they will not be afraid to fight for another 90 – potentially 120 – minutes in order to secure the biggest prize of their careers and Croatia’s footballing history.

France have been here before, albeit 20 years ago, but it will count for something that their head coach, Didier Deschamps, was the man who lifted the trophy in Paris after defeating Brazil. He has shown that he is a canny operator in this tournament, despite coming into it with a number of detractors. He doesn’t just have Mbappé, but Antoine Griezmann, N’Golo Kante and Raphael Varane, to name but three, and they possess everything a team needs to come out on top on the biggest stage.

I will be bringing you all the buildup, predictions, team news and anything else that crops up before Barry Glendenning takes you through the live action.

Either way, it is going to be a great afternoon for one country!

Kick-off: 4pm BST


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Moeen Ali thwarts Virat Kohli as shrewd England leave India in a spin


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Moeen Ali thwarts Virat Kohli as shrewd England leave India in a spin” was written by Vic Marks at Lord’s, for The Observer on Sunday 15th July 2018 00.01 Asia/Kolkata

As anticipated the spinners prevailed. But contrary to expectation it was the English spinners, rather than Kuldeep Yadav, who ensured victory on another sun-kissed afternoon. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali – or should that be Merlyn Ali, given that he took the vital wicket of Virat Kohli – stifled India’s middle order so that England won comfortably by 86 runs. So we have another decider on our hands at Headingley on Tuesday.

The pursuit of 323 in this era does not intimidate batsmen but Eoin Morgan had read the situation shrewdly. He has in the past regaled us with his side’s love of chasing targets but he is also familiar with Lord’s and he reckoned that the wicket, which had a tinge of green at the start despite being dry, would become more difficult for batsmen needing to score quickly. This proved to be the case. Morgan batted first and Joe Root’s 12th ODI hundred ensured a competitive target. But Morgan still required the bowling and out-cricket to be smart. And it was.

England may not have been flawless out there – a couple of sharp chances went to ground – but there were many highlights. Twenty overs from Moeen and Rashid yielded three wickets and just 80 runs, with the wrist-spinner’s googly proving especially productive. Jos Buttler behind the stumps took a superlative catch in his left hand via an inside edge from KL Rahul’s bat while the seamers, sensing a bit of help, were more disciplined than at Trent Bridge, with Liam Plunkett gaining the bulk of the spoils.

India lost three wickets in the space of three overs to slump from 49 without loss to 60 for three with Rohit Sharma slogging and Shikhar Dhawan slicing before the departure of Rahul. This left Kohli and Suresh Raina with a rebuilding exercise; they managed 80 in 16 overs whereupon Kohli, stuck on the crease, was lbw to a mysterious straight ball from Moeen. When Rashid bowled Raina the equation became unmanageable even for MS Dhoni who was all too easily shackled. By the end Dhoni was batting in the manner of Sunil Gavaskar in a World Cup match against England at the Oval in 1975 – seeking practice rather than victory.

With the bat England delivered one of their more pragmatic performances mainly because Root scored most of the runs. He was run out for 113 from the last ball of the innings, which took his average in this format to exactly 50, hardly the figures of a man in crisis. Nonetheless these were timely runs. He is England’s best batsman but he has not been dominant this summer.

Joe Root hit 113 runs in England’s innings.
Joe Root hit 113 runs in England’s innings. Photograph: Philip Brown/Getty Images

After reaching three figures there was relief rather than defiance upon Root’s face. This was not a Nasser Hussain moment – remember how in 2002 Hussain, whose place at number three in the ODI side had been hotly debated, turned his back to the press box and pointed to the number “three” on the back of his shirt upon registering his hundred.

Root has not been subjected to the same level of criticism as Hussain after his little trough. So there were no histrionics but there was a nasty little parallel: when Hussain hit 115 out of England’s 326 for eight 16 years ago, India managed to knock off the runs with three balls to spare. Back then this was an unexpected turn of events. In 2018 there was the suspicion, misplaced as it transpired, that England’s 322 for seven might not be enough.

The pattern of England’s innings was familiar. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow cruised past the fifty mark without much trouble. Then Kuldeep was introduced for the 11th over of the innings and Bairstow got out. It was a scrappy dismissal; he tried to sweep Kuldeep’s second delivery and the ball ricocheted from his front pad to his glove and then into the stumps.

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Four overs later Roy’s slog sweep terminated in the hands of deep mid-wicket and England seemed to be succumbing, lemming-like, to the mystery spinner again. In fact, Root and Morgan dealt with him well enough thereafter during a 103‑run partnership until a rank full toss was swatted by Morgan into the old leg‑trap – another catch just inside the boundary at deep mid-wicket.

Neither Ben Stokes nor Buttler could contribute. This is not much of a concern in the case of Buttler, but the old Stokes magic is proving elusive on the evidence of his brief innings at Lord’s and his long vigil at Trent Bridge. So Morgan was grateful for Root’s polished, extravagance-free innings. Root demonstrated why he is indispensable to this side. At his best he can glean runs with the minimum of risk. Down the order David Willey managed some of these while hitting a career best 50 from just 31 balls in a reassuring 83‑run partnership in the final nine overs of the innings.

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Ryanair passengers hospitalised after emergency landing


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Ryanair passengers hospitalised after emergency landing” was written by Nadia Khomami, for theguardian.com on Saturday 14th July 2018 16.43 Asia/Kolkata

More than 30 passengers on a Ryanair flight were reportedly taken to hospital after the cabin became depressurised and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Frankfurt.

A passenger on Friday’s Dublin to Croatia flight said on Facebook that the air went cold, oxygen masks dropped, and there was a “dive of 3,000 metres in less than one minute”.

A lot of people complained about sore ears, but praised the pilots for doing an “excellent job”, he said.

Some passengers received medical attention when the flight landed in Frankfurt. The airline said there was a shortage of accommodation for passengers who had to wait until Saturday morning for another flight.

Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper reported that 33 passengers were taken to hospital, adding that federal police said passengers were complaining of “headache and earache and suffered from nausea”.

A Ryanair spokesman said: “This flight from Dublin to Zadar diverted to Frankfurt Hahn due to an inflight depressurisation.

“In line with standard procedure, the crew deployed oxygen masks and initiated a controlled descent.

“The aircraft landed normally and customers disembarked, where a small number received medical attention as a precaution.

“Customers were provided with refreshment vouchers and hotel accommodation was authorised, however there was a shortage of available accommodation.

“Customers will board a replacement aircraft which will depart to Zadar this morning and Ryanair sincerely apologises for any inconvenience.”

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The best workout makeup


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “The best workout makeup” was written by Sali Hughes, for The Guardian on Saturday 14th July 2018 12.30 Asia/Kolkata

I’ve always ignored “workout makeup” here, not because I object even remotely to women wearing whatever they damned well please to the gym, but because I’ve never “worked out” in my life. But while, perhaps regrettably, my habits haven’t changed, the weather has (at the time of writing, my house is as humid as the Eden Project), better allowing me to replicate gym conditions. I also recently visited a sauna and steam room, and tested products with a view to writing about menopausal skin; but those that performed best were designed for hot yoga, not hot flushes.

So here we are. Clinique sprang first to mind, since its CliniqueFIT range (online and selected stores) is dedicated to sweat-proof, lightweight, breathable formulas with superior longevity. It looks attractive, the concept is smart and the products didn’t disappoint. I expected Workout Makeup SPF40 (£20.50, 30ml) to feel gross, look pasty and change colour in the heat (in my imaginary gym, my notional self would be bare-faced), but it was light, comfortable and natural-looking, with a pretty glow that made it ideal for anyone seeking a great, affordable summer foundation. It looks darker fresh from the tube, so blend a little on the jaw before committing to a shade from the fairly limited colour palette.

The same brand’s Post-Workout Mattifying Moisturizer is great for underneath, although its stable, textured, ungreasy but hydrating formula acts equally well alone or with other foundations and primers. I was bowled over by the lasting power of Lip + Cheek Flush (£14, 7ml). I am not crazy about the pink colour (if you like Benefit Benetint, you will like this) and I am generally not keen on gels, but it deserves to find its audience.

There’s also a post-workout face spray in the Clinique range, but I preferred the one from new brand Pretty Athletic (nice name; I wish I had thought of it, ahem). Its Workout Glow Hyaluronic Vitamin Tonic (£17.50, 100ml) is a refreshing, vegan-friendly skin-hydrating mist that contains coconut, rosewater and my beloved hyaluronic acid; I’ve been using it post-cleanse, or when I feel hot, clammy or mardy. The most sauna-proof lashes came from Eyeko’s Yoga Mascara (£15.20), a suitably flexible, vegan formula with stamina.

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Modern life is rubbish, but internet friendships are ​good


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Modern life is rubbish, but internet friendships are good” was written by Bim Adewunmi, for The Guardian on Saturday 14th July 2018 10.30 Asia/Kolkata

In the days when the internet was young, the people you met online were, fundamentally, Not To Be Trusted. Internet illiteracy – not to be confused with illiterate people on the internet – was rife: an era in which people really did believe chatrooms were filled with catfishing axe murderers. The prevailing wisdom was that you had to be a special kind of foolish willingly to meet with those would-be killers in the flesh.

I remember meeting a bunch of Women From The Internet for the first time, after years of speaking online. A good degree of terror gave way to the realisation that we were all delightful. Our expectations are different now, even though the risk of homicide by internet stranger feels oddly higher.

A few weeks back, I went on a short holiday in the south of this vast country, America. Before I booked my ticket, I contacted an internet stranger-friend to tell them of my plans. I received a wall of text in reply, with information to populate at least three different itineraries, depending on how far I wanted to travel, my reliance on rideshare apps and what kinds of foods I like – all from an internet friend.

I think often of the intimacies we now share as standard with people we’ve never met – and may never, ever meet – and marvel. Accumulated knowledge, via jokes and throwaway statements and any number of markers, all absorbed and thrown back lovingly. Modern life is rubbish, but these friendships are good.

I ended up having lunch, dinner and a mini-roadtrip with my friend. And as I bit into a recommended biscuit (for which read scone, UK reader) smothered in cranberry-apple butter, I blessed the internet and all its indigenes.

My tan will fade soon. The tender feeling will hang around longer.

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India thrash England by eight wickets in first ODI – as it happened


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “India thrash England by eight wickets in first ODI – as it happened” was written by Nick Miller and Tanya Aldred, for theguardian.com on Friday 13th July 2018 01.12 Asia/Kolkata

And with that, we shall leave you. More OBOing to come tomorrow as England’s women face New Zealand. Join us then.

And here’s your match report. Some further thoughts from our man at Trent Bridge, Ali Martin, will follow in due course.

Tomorrow we’ll send out the latest edition of The Recap. Which, really, is exactly what it sounds like. Sign up for your weekly email here.

Incidentally, Kuldeep’s figures of 6-25 were the best for a spinner in an ODI in England, and the best for a left-arm spinner full-stop.

That would seem to be the most obvious problem for England to solve, how to play Kuldeep. Because at the moment they look like me trying to grapple with a cryptic crossword when the left-arm wristy comes on.

And Kuldeep gets man of the match. Quite refreshing: usually a shoo-in when a batsman gets a century.

Kohli also suggested, as would seems sensible, that Kuldeep might play in the Tests starting in a couple of weeks.

Virat Kohli also speaks: “As clinical as it can be. We knew it was a really good wicket to play on, but with our wrist spinners we knew it would be tricky for them. Kuldeep was outstanding – to give away 25 runs for six wickets was outstanding. We need players who can make an impact, and these two guys [Kuldeep and Chahal] did that.”

Eoin Morgan speaks: “Not our best day. India completely outplayed us. Both games offered a bit more turn than usual, so we might need to find a better way of playing. Lord’s will be a bit different. Kuldeep extracted more than any other spinner. We need to improve, particularly in that area. To be honest, I think it is ideal: before the World Cup we need to be exposed to our areas of weakness, including against wrist spin.”

Well, that was what you might call comprehensive. England never really got going after losing those early wickets, Kuldeep made them look like buffons and never looked like controlling Kohli and Sharma. The latter played another brilliant, basically chanceless innings, and you would think that if he stays playing like this then England will do well to win another game in this series.

India win by eight wickets

Moeen bowls a big wide, then Rahul goes for a massive hit to end it, gets a thick inside edge for a single and a forgettable game ends in forgettable fashion.

40th over: India 267-2 (Sharma 137, Rahul 8) – target 269 Oh, look at this, Joe Root is bowling. Unless I’m much mistaken it looks like he’s trying some seam up balls, and…well, it doesn’t go brilliantly. Five wides come from one that goes way down leg and scoots past Buttler. He returns to the offies, and at the end of the over India require two further runs.

39th over: India 258-2 (Sharma 134, Rahul 7) – target 269 Moeen’s back, and has a long conversation with Morgan about field placings. Always a good one, that: what exactly do you suppose they’re discussing when the game is so patently lost? He drops one shortish, and Sharma is on it like a flash, slapping to the boundary between mid-wicket and long-on.

38th over: India 249-2 (Sharma 126, Rahul 6) – target 269 A few of what they would call in baseball ‘hard hit balls’ – actually, you’d probably call them that anywhere – don’t get much reward. Three singles from the over.


37th over: India 246-2 (Sharma 124, Rahul 5) – target 269 Hmmm, a limp game appears to be ending in an even more limp fashion which is a b…oh, Sharma lashes a pitched up wide one from Rashid over the covers. 23 required.


36th over: India 239-2 (Sharma 118, Rahul 4) – target 269 Willey goes for a yorker to Rahul, goes up for lbw but there was a big inside edge on that. Actually, it was more the face of the bat. Just two runs from that over, and they’re having a drink, so why don’t you?

35th over: India 237-2 (Sharma 117, Rahul 3) – target 269 After a decent enough over, Rashid drops an absolute stinker of a long-hop to Sharma who gives it the necessary, thwacked for a one-bounce four just in front of mid-wicket. A couple more are cut to third man, and India require only another 32 runs.

34th over: India 228-2 (Sharma 110, Rahul 1) – target 269 Willey back into the attack, and a slip is in for new bat Rahul. Just a couple of runs from the over.

33rd over: India 226-2 (Sharma 109, Rahul 0) – target 269 Not sure anyone really saw that one coming.


WICKET! Kohli st Buttler b Rashid 75 – India 226-2

Huh. Seemingly from nowhere Rashid gets some big rip past the edge, Kohli sneaks out of his ground and Buttler smartly does the rest.

32nd over: India 224-1 (Sharma 108, Kohli 74) – target 269 Sharma eschews the use of his bottom hand as he sashays down the track and smites a one-handed six over long-off. Poor old Moeen.

31st over: India 215-1 (Sharma 101, Kohli 72) – target 269 Sharma goes to his century in the most flamboyant style, launching a colossal six somewhere in the direction of the Trent off Rashid. Brilliant innings, his third century in his last six limited overs internationals.

30th over: India 207-1 (Sharma 94, Kohli 71) – target 269 Moeen’s been reasonably tidy in his six overs so far, and that one was particularly neat: two singles from it. Not that it matters much at this stage, from England’s perspective.

29th over: India 205-1 (Sharma 93, Kohli 70) – target 269 Oh! Roy almost takes a sensational catch as Sharma absolutely leathers a cut quite a way wide of him at point, which he gets his right hand to but the catch doesn’t stick. Almost feels harsh to call that a drop, but ultimately it was. Plunkett achieves the rare feat of beating Kohli’s outside edge with a nice rising one on off stump, then Kohli puts him back in his place with the loveliest off drive to the cover fence you ever did see.

28th over: India 199-1 (Sharma 92, Kohli 65) – target 269 Woof. Sharma comes down and carts Moeen over cow corner, a man taking a lovely clean catch in the crowd, then plays an absolutely hideous cross-batted shot which nonetheless goes for four, Plunkett just failing to save at the long-off fence. Kohli helps himself to another few runs, and India casually take 16 from the over.

27th over: India 183-1 (Sharma 81, Kohli 60) – target 269 The other way Sharma might deal with any cramping issues is just to hit boundaries: he picks up one with a dabbed shot through third man. A single, then substitute fielder Dawid Malan (not sure who he’s on for) does very well to save a couple of runs on the cover fence from Kohli.

26th over: India 175-1 (Sharma 76, Kohli 57) – target 269 Sharma may have done himself a mischief in playing that last pull. Might have just been a spot of cramp, as the physio comes out with hydration of some description. He might be able to just stand at the other end if Kohli carries on like this, playing a beautiful delicate late cut for a boundary from the last ball of Moeen’s over.

25th over: India 169-1 (Sharma 75, Kohli 52) – target 269 Wood is the latest England bowler to attempt the futility of reeling these Indian batsmen in, and his greeted by the full face of Kohli’s bat, flashing in front of his eyes as a four is lashed to the cover fence. A half century for Kohli, and he looks like he’s having a net out there. As does Sharma, who plays a delicious ramp shot over what probably would have been third or fourth slip, getting a boundary for himself. And then, to compound the misery, to grind Wood’s nose further into the dirt, a beautiful whipped pull goes in front of fine leg for another brilliant Sharma boundary.

24th over: India 154-1 (Sharma 66, Kohli 46) – target 269 Moeen gets another try with the ball. It’s a bit difficult to tell if he kept the batsmen quiet, with just two singles from the over, or they simply decided to take a breather.

23rd over: India 152-1 (Sharma 65, Kohli 45) – target 269 Rashid is swept perfectly by Sharma behind square for another four, then collects a couple with an under-edged pull that Wood pulls in, but takes a colossal chunk out of the Trent Bridge outfield in doing so. Sharma then takes a slightly earthier approach by launching a slog over mid-on, which skips for one more boundary.

22nd over: India 140-1 (Sharma 54, Kohli 44) – target 269 Sharma goes to 50 with the most careful, considered cut to the boundary that he almost took 20 minutes to ponder over it. What a brilliant player he is.

21st over: India 133-1 (Sharma 49, Kohli 42) – target 269 Kohli tries a fierce cut off Rashid but only really gets a toe-end on it, and Bairstow has to make another smart stop on the fence to keep them to two. Three other singles from the over.

20th over: India 128-1 (Sharma 48, Kohli 38) – target 269 Stokes tries a slower ball but it loops out of his hand and barely lands on the cut strip. Don’t mind the intention: it looks like the only way he’s going to get either of these batsmen out. Stokes is lucky to get away with another wide – for height, this one – but otherwise it’s a tight over, two more singles from it.

19th over: India 125-1 (Sharma 47, Kohli 37) – target 269 Rashid isn’t really getting much turn. Certainly not as much as Kuldeep did earlier. Three singles from the sort of quiet over India can afford. England really need to go all out for wickets.

This isn’t going to go down among the ODI classics, unless something outrageous happens in the next hour or so.

18th over: India 122-1 (Sharma 45, Kohli 36) – target 269 Stokes replaces Plunkett as the skies grow a little darker. He nearly banjaxes Kohli with a slower ball that is driven in the air, but ultimately safely out to Root on the cover fence. Then a regulation speed ball, half-volley though it is, goes a bit straighter, wide of mid-off and to the boundary. And that will be drinks.

17th over: India 114-1 (Sharma 44, Kohli 29) – target 269 Rashid nearly gets through Kohli, an inside edge which rattles between his pads and nearly hits leg stump. Two singles and a two, nicely saved by Bairstow on the third man fence, from the over.

16th over: India 110-1 (Sharma 43, Kohli 26) – target 269

And given autopilot is designed to guide you home with the least fuss possible, that’s very accurate. Another over with a couple of singles, then a boundary from the last ball, clipped fine by Kohli.

15th over: India 104-1 (Sharma 42, Kohli 21) – target 269 It briefly looks like a good over for England, until Sharma sweeps with power but consummate control control behind square for four, off the last ball of Rashid’s over.

14th over: India 98-1 (Sharma 37, Kohli 20) – target 269 Plunkett continues, and is milked for three singles, then a very lovely two flicked through mid-wicket. Only an act of god or a collective Indian existential crisis will stop them knocking these runs off in brisk order.


13th over: India 93-1 (Sharma 35, Kohli 17) – target 269 Dilly Rashid gets a bowl, and sends down a tidy over. But these batsmen are so comfortable playing spin – even very good legspin like this – that they look in absolutely no danger. A point emphasised when Kohli spanks a shortish – but not outrageously short – ball from off stump to the point fence.

12th over: India 87-1 (Sharma 34, Kohli 12) – target 269 Smart running from Kohli takes two when there should have only been one. A couple more quick singles, and really this is all India need from this point.

11th over: India 83-1 (Sharma 33, Kohli 9) – target 269 Here’s Ben Stokes with the ball, Eoin Morgan mixing things up with his attack. He gives Sharma some driving practice with a half-volley begging to be driven to the boundary, and he duly obliges.


10th over: India 74-1 (Sharma 27, Kohli 6) – target 269 Liam Plunkett is into the attack, and he does quite well. He restricts India to a couple of singles, guided down to third man by both batsmen.

9th over: India 72-1 (Sharma 26, Kohli 5) – target 269 And Virat is away in style, a lovely pushed off drive through the covers and to the boundary. A single, then Sharma adds another pair of fours with a terrific jab that threads the thin path betwixt point and third man, then a more orthodox square cut.

8th over: India 59-1 (Sharma 17, Kohli 0) – target 269 Always a funny one when you’ve got a player as brilliant as Kohli in the opposition: taking a wicket is great, but you do how have to face a genius…

WICKET! Dhawan c Rashid b Ali 40 – India 59-1

Lovely adjustment from Dhawan, who premeditates a sweep but, on spotting the ball was too short for the shot, instead he plays a sort of pull from one knee. Nothing lovely about the next shot: he gets giddy, runs down the track and goes for a big heave, which he only manages to thick edge and loop to Rashid in the gully.

7th over: India 53-0 (Dhawan 35, Sharma 17) – target 269 Wood continues, and is absolutely carted with a languid straight drive, which sails over mid-off for six. Remarkable shot which, as a result of it hitting concrete in the stands, requires a change of ball.

6th over: India 45-0 (Dhawan 34, Sharma 10) – target 269 Spin required already, and Moeen Ali is into the attack from the Pavilion End. Sharma goes back and smacks a terrific back-foot drive to the cover fence, which combined with four simple singles, makes it a straightforward eight from that over. If they carry on like this we’ll be done by the 36th over.

5th over: India 37-0 (Dhawan 32, Sharma 4) – target 269 Another four, Dhawan this time glancing one fine as Wood falls over in his delivery stride for I think the fourth time already today. Then another, combined with a half caught & bowled chance, hit firmly back towards the bowler, but probably too far to his left. Then another, to the same place as the first in this over, but this time from a pull he just got enough on. He’s taking the game away from England all on his own.

4th over: India 24-0 (Dhawan 19, Sharma 4) – target 269 Another buffet ball from Willey but another lovely shot from Dhawan, flicked off his pads for another boundary. England have enough problems without deliveries like that.

3rd over: India 19-0 (Dhawan 14, Sharma 4) – target 269 Wood sends a short one down the leg side, there’s a noise and Buttler goes up for the catch a little half-heartedly. Looked like it just flicked his arm guard. A couple of singles and a wide from the over.

2nd over: India 16-0 (Dhawan 13, Sharma 3) – target 269 Big Dave Willey has the ball from the other end, looking to get some early swing. Which he does, but Dhawan goes with the arc of the ball to cream a couple of cover drives to the boundary. Those two were essentially off side half-volleys, so Willey mixes things up a bit by giving Dhawan a half-volley on his pads, which is clipped to the ropes despite the best efforts of Ben Stokes.

1st over: India 3-0 (Dhawan 1, Sharma 2) – target 269 Wood starts with an absolute snorter, moving away, beating Sharma and somehow missing off stump. Two singles later Wood beats the edge again, and while he can look rather innocuous sometimes, but that was a decent first over from the Durham quick.

The players are out. It’ll be Shikhar Dawan and Rohit Sharma to open the batting, and from the Radcliffe Road End Mark Wood has the ball.

Well hello. This total does look rather light, but perhaps our perceptions are coloured slightly by the absurd outlier (on a different sort of pitch) that was the 481 against Australia. Still, you would expect India to knock these off without too much sweat. Your thoughts on the matter either via email – Nick.Miller.casual@theGuardian.com – or Twitter – @NickMiller79.

Nick Miller will guide you through India’s reply. Fireworks? Yes please!

A superb performance by Kuldeep – 23 years old and walking off with 6-25, the best figures by a spinner against England in ODI cricket, beating the record set by Sanath Jayasuriya of 6-29 in 1993. England were all at sea, trapped into indecision by his accuracy and variation,

He’s got some fans too:

Roy and Bairstow gave England a good start and there was another cracking innings by Buttler, then a curious one by Stokes, obviously rusty, and frustrated by his inability to thrash the ball about as is his usual want. No runs for Root, which won’t do anything for his confidence. Is it enough? It seems unlikely, unless Rashid and Moeen can turn the tables on India.


49.5 overs: England 268 all out (Wood not out 0) Well, that wasn’t quite what we expected on this wicket, at this ground, where England broke the world record against Australia earlier this year.

Wicket! Plunkett run out 10

Out! Going for a ridiculous second run to deep backward- point

Plunkett, run out by Dhoni.
Plunkett, run out by Dhoni. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images


Wicket! Rashid c Hardik b Umesh 22

Rashid flat-bats a low full toss to deep point.


49th over: England 259-8 ( Plunkett 1, Rashid 22) Wow! Rashid flicks Siddarth over his left shoulder for six, as if digging a children’s sandcastle, racing against the tide. And then again, if more awkwardly, for four. One over left.

48th over: England 246-8 ( Plunkett 0, Rashid 14) Moeen throws the bat, beautifully, pulling behind square for six, then a four . Then he’s out, but he had to go for it. England nearing 250 – it doesn’t look enough.

Wicket! Moeen Ali c Kohli b Umesh 24

Moeen tries another flick, this time high over midwicket, where Kohli takes a high comfortable catch.

47th over: England 234-7 ( Ali 14, Rashid 12) Two fours from Siddarth’s over: a superbly-timed shot by Rashid, wristily-hit straight down the ground – the first boundary for 74 balls. Then Moeen stands and delivers a flowing crack through the extra-cover boundary for another four.

46th over: England 223-7 ( Ali 10, Rashid 5) Ali and Rashid try their best, but they’ve got no time to get their eye in.

45th over: England 217-7 ( Ali 7, Rashid 0) Two more wickets for Kuldeep in his final over. What a start! 6-25! It’s only the third time an opposition spinner has taken a five-wicket haul in an ODI in England – the others were Randiv and Murali.

Wicket! Willey c Rahul b Kuldeep 1

Willey swings high, and is caught in the deep by Rahul and that’s Kuldeep’s sixth wicket!

Another wicket for Yadav as Willey falls for one.
Another wicket for Yadav as Willey falls for one. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images


Wicket! Stokes c Siddarth b Kuldeep 50

Another one for Kuldeep! Stokes sweeps to backward point where Siddarth throws himself to the right and clings onto the ball with both hands.

Stokes, not happy with that.
Stokes, not happy with that. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


44th over: England 212-5 (Ali 7, Stokes 50) Moeen is hit on the helmet from a rapid bouncer as he tries to hook Siddarth . He seems unbothered and unhurt. And that’s Stokes’ fifty – a good-hearted but pedestrian effort, off 102 balls. He gives his bat a pefunctorary raise.

This game has a hint of the domestic T20 game last week between Yorkshire and Durham where Stokes was 90 not out but couldn’t catch Yorkshire. That though was off 68 balls.


43rd over: England 212-5 (Ali 6, Stokes 49) Umesh returns, as Kohli keeps one over from Kuldeep up his sleeve. Stokes edges closer to what would be his slowest fifty in ODI cricket, his slowest to date is off 63 balls. So far he’s faced 101.

42nd over: England 209-5 (Ali 3, Stokes 46) Ali reaches wide to sweep Chahal, then Stokes pulls him to the boundary where Hardik dives, stops the ball, and parries it to his teammate. Just the single. England just can’t escape the stranglehold. Four from the over.

41st over: England 205-5 (Ali 3, Stokes 46) Kuldeep sends one fizzing past Stokes’ outside edge. That’s gorgeous. England are still to score a boundary off any of his 54 deliveries. He’s got one over left.


And a tweet from Tim de Lisle, via Ben Jones, which is rather like rubbing salt in the wound: “Joe Root has faced three balls from left-arm wrist spinners in his entire cricketing career. He’s been out twice. #ENGvIND

40th over: England 202-5 (Ali 1, Stokes 45) And that’s the 200 up for England. Stokes tries to reverse-sweep Chahal off the last ball of the over, but he can’t connect in his usual way. Ten overs left.

39th over: England 197-5 (Ali 0, Stokes 39) A beautiful over from Kuldeep, pinning Stokes back on his stumps, altering his speed and his line. And then the wicket of Buttler. The hare has gone, and England are left with the tortoise. Kuldeep 4-20 .

Wicket! Buttler c Dhoni b Kuldeep 53

And another one for Kuldeep, a fine catch by Dhoni off the face of the bat.

Buttler, caught behind by Dhoni.
Buttler, caught behind by Dhoni. Photograph: David Davies/PA


38th over: England 195-4 (Buttler 53, Stokes 39) Hardik tries a slower ball bouncer, Stokes attempts to pull, has second thoughts, takes his eye away and topples to the right. He shakes his head. Another tight over by India – three from it – they are turning the screw. What can England do with 12 overs? In theory, loads, with these two in. But they’ve lost their mojo a bit.

37th over: England 192-4 (Buttler 52, Stokes 38) Stokes is looking increasingly frustrated, struggling to pierce the ring, hitting fielders when he gets the ball away. England need Buttler to dominate the strike. Siddarth is neat, good, only conceding three from the over. And they tick by.


36th over: England 188-4 (Buttler 50, Stokes 37) England in danger of getting stuck here as Stokes, rusty, struggles to find his rhythm. Buttler reaches another fifty, his 18th in ODIs. Even against this attack, he’s looking in magnificent form – touch, timing, he’s got it all.

Buttler celebrates after reaching his half century.
Buttler celebrates after reaching his half century. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images


35th over: England 183-4 (Buttler 46, Stokes 36) Buttler is scoring at more than a run a ball (46 off 40), Stokes at around half a run a ball (36 off 74).

34th over: England 179-4 (Buttler 44, Stokes 34) Umesh again, and that’s a super stroke by Buttler, a quick-fire drive through mid-off to the boundary.

I covered a women’s ODI the other day and they do rattle through their overs a heck of a lot quicker. Don’t think either Heather Knight or Suzie Bates are as inveterate fiddlers as Kohli though.

Sachin Paul is pondering on the last email: “The Indian commentators and fans have recently suddenly started criticising ground sizes and high scores. Is it just me who doesn’t remember them complaining when Rohit Sharma…a single batsman… scored 264 in an ODI innings ?”

33rd over: England 172-4 (Buttler 38, Stokes 33) Siddarth is back, pink headband, elasticated John McEnroe stylee. England take a quick single, and there’s a direct hit from Sharma, but Stokes is back safely. Next ball Stokes pulls away and points at mid-wicket just as Siddarth is about to bowl. It’s too late for Siddarth, who lets go, and Stokes apologies. England still holding back – softly, softly, catchee monkey? Hmmm.

32nd over: England 166-4 (Buttler 34, Stokes 31) Umesh Yadav gets the ball back, but still England hesitate. Eighteen overs left. Buttler loosens the shoulder to hit the ball square but there’s a man on the boundary and he just gets the single. Four from the over.

31st over: England 162-4 (Buttler 33, Stokes 28) Kuldeep, who has something of the matinee idol in his thick pomaded hair and long-sleeved shirt, continues pinning England to the crease. Not a big shot to be seen, four sensible singles.


Kandukuru Nagarjun is stirring the pot.

“The other day Belgium goalie Courtois accused France of playing anti-football.

“I have a similar allegation to level against Eoin Morgan’s New England. They’re unapologetically preparing shirt fronts on small grounds, and loading their team with biffers and artless bowlers. The World Cup, they hope will be batsmen from one team against batsmen from the other team. That’s a game they think (probably rightly) they can win.

“But it won’t be cricket, which is a batsmen v. bowlers game. Glad Kuldeep and co are fighting back. “

30th over: England 158-4 (Buttler 29, Stokes 28) And that’s the fifty partnership from 60 balls, 28 of them to Buttler, 23 to Stokes. Chahal trying all the tricks, displaying the jewel box, but England resisting his wares. Tick, tick.

29th over: England 154-4 (Buttler 27, Stokes 26) Only one off this over from Kuldeep, it seems England have decided watchful waiting is the right tactic here. And not getting out. Kuldeep: 6-0-13-3.

28th over: England 153-4 (Buttler 27, Stokes 25) Buttler watches Chahal carefully, then opens his shoulders, lofts his arms, and sends the ball soaring up to the extra cover boundary for four. Two balls later he repeats the shot, only flatter – along the ground, past the fielder for another boundary, and he overtakes Stokes. Pandia wings in a throw as England take a quick single and hits Chahal on the ankle, down he goes, skittle-like, to the ground.

Buttler goes on the attack, smashing for four.
Buttler goes on the attack, smashing for four. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/JMP/REX/Shutterstock


27th over: England 142-4 (Buttler 18, Stokes 23) Kuldeep returns. England gulp. He’s through that over in a jiffy, three from him. That’s three wickets for 12 from his five overs and they’re struggling to pick him both on the pitch and even in commentary box, where generally these things are much easier.

James Soper is missing Alex Hales, “A man very much in form (averaging around 57 in domestic ODIs this year) and really in form on his home ground”. I suspect he’s not the only one. Hales due to be having a scan this afternoon, though he would have been left out anyway – which was harsh.

26th over: England 139-4 (Buttler 17, Stokes 21) Very steady – three singles to Stokes, two to Buttler, and a dot.

25th over: England 134-4 (Buttler 15, Stokes 18) Buttler edges Hardik for four, edges again for a quick single. Then, eye in, drives elegantly, extra-cover perfection, for another boundary. He and Stokes punch gloves.

24th over: England 124-4 (Buttler 5 Stokes 18) India are emasculating England’s big men at the moment, their huge crowd-pleasing shots, their shoulder-rotating swipes have become nurdles and nudges, even forward-defences. And as I write that Stokes cuts a wide one square, through a fielder-less expanse for four.


23rd over: England 116-4 (Buttler 2, Stokes 13) Hardik gets one past Stokes’s outside edge, but the next he thwacks, long, through extra-cover for four. His shoulders drop briefly with relief. Then a sharp single. That’s more like it.

22nd over: England 111-4 (Buttler 2, Stokes 8) Chahal, wily, taming England with brains and wrist not strength. He switches, to come around the wicket to Stokes. One off the over.

21st over: England 110-4 (Buttler 1, Stokes 5) England forced to be circumspect by circumstances. Three off the over. Someone’s going to get it – who will it be? They won’t dare against Kuldeep. Would they take on Chahal? A stat courtesy of TMS – England have scored only 36 runs in their second block of ten overs. Their worst performance in that block since the last World Cup.

20th over: England 107-4 (Buttler 1, Stokes 5) Chahal is in on the act with spin is proving problematic for England this afternoon. Buttler, mister run-machine himself, walks out. The crowd expects. He drives, confidently, to his first ball, and is off the mark straight away.

Wicket! Morgan c Raina b Chahal 19

Chahal throws the ball up and Morgan, trying to get the run-rate going, chips him up and into midwicket’s hands

Morgan walks as Chahal celebrates taking him for 19.
Morgan walks as Chahal celebrates taking him for 19. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


19th over: England 104-3 (Morgan 19, Stokes 3) Hardik is the man with the ball as the England dressing-room peers through the glass darkly. Stokes hits with the toe of his bat for a single. And that’s six! A flat-batted pull by Morgan off a high-bouncing ball brings up the hundred. Then he drives him, next ball, straight, to the boundary for four.

18th over: England 92-3 (Morgan 8, Stokes 2) Morgan has decided that Raina is the man they need to tuck into, taking his first ball down to the boundary. It is slow work for England at the moment though – six runs in the last six overs.

17th over: England 87-3 (Morgan 3, Stokes 2) Kuldeep apparently started off in his cricketing career as a fast bowler. Not a bad choice then to switch. Stokes carefully prods, he’s not a man made for prodding, he’s a man made for yomping. We’ll see how this strategy goes.


16th over: England 86-3 (Morgan 2, Stokes 2) Raina, a chunkier figure, less threatening, spins the ball over to Stokes, who defends thoughtfully, then gets a single. A slapped drive by Morgan brings another run.

15th over: England 83-3 (Morgan 1, Stokes 1) Kuldeep with his angled run twists and turns. Kohli plays musical fielders. England prod and twitch, then take a hesitant, then hurried, single – their first run for 15 balls. Kuldeep 3 overs, 3 for 8.


14th over: England 82-3 (Morgan 1, Stokes 0) A maiden for Raina as England take a long, deep, heavy, breath.


13th over: England 82-3 (Morgan 1, Stokes 0) Not sure all that practise against Merlyn has quite paid off. England not picking Kuldeep, who so far on the tour of Ireland and the Uk has taken15 wickets at 6.8.


Wicket! Bairstow lbw Kuldeep 38

Bairstow is bamboozled by the wrong’un, a little faster and fuller than before. It is given not out, but Kohli reviews. It shows Bairstow was hit on the back leg and there’s no escape.

Yadav dismisses Bairstow, lbw for 38.
Yadav dismisses Bairstow, lbw for 38. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


Wicket! Root lbw Kuldeep 3

Root is completely deceived by a ball from Kuldeep that spins back in. He plays down the wrong line and is hit on the knee roll. Out, out out.

Yadav celebrates after dismissing Root for three.
Yadav celebrates after dismissing Root for three. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


12th over: England 81-1 (Root 3, Bairstow 38) Root and Bairstow tweak at Chahal, running four singles. Root is twitchy, bat and legs in a tangle to Chahal’s penultimate ball.

11th over: England 77-1 (Root 1, Bairstow 36) An important breakthrough for India, now Root must come in and bat against the spinners on a dry pitch. He’s the only England batsman rated in the ODI top ten, but he’s considered under pressure. Crikey, life can be unfair sometimes.

Wicket! Roy c C Yadav b Kuldeep 38

Roy tries to reverse sweep, slips, slightly loses his balance, and chips Kuldeep to cover where Yadav takes an easy catch

Yadav celebrates taking Roy for 38.
Yadav celebrates taking Roy for 38. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters


10th over: England 71-0 (Roy 36, Bairstow 33) Hardik replaces Siddarth, Roy flicks him to the short boundary, wristily, behind square for four. A very clever shot. And that’s the power play over – England on top, if they haven’t been allowed to totally let loose.

This from Smylers: “As cricketing stats go ‘Root dismissals, if yorkers included’ doesn’t really make sense, but as a crossword clue (for a word unrelated to cricket) it was enough to get me runner-up in a competition on this site’s Crossword Blog (https://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/crossword-blog/2018/jul/09/crossword-roundup-whats-so-corny-about-corn). Anybody else managed to crowbar cricketing references into places that, frankly, weren’t asking for them?”

9th over: England 63-0 (Roy 29, Bairstow 32) Aha, we have spin. This is where it gets interesting. Chahal, a slip of a man, shirt half in, half out, pink arm sleeves under his shirt, steps in and rolls his wrist. England are wary, nervous, scuttling a few singles. A reverse-sweep for four by Roy off the last ball isn’t totally convincing.

8th over: England 56-0 (Roy 24, Bairstow 30) A flick, a veritable flick for six from Bairstow brings up the fifty for England. How does he do that? It seems all in the wrist, with minimal use of those pumped up arms. Trent Bridge roars in delight.

Roy and Bairstow reach their 50 partnership.
Roy and Bairstow reach their 50 partnership. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/JMP/REX/Shutterstock


7th over: England 47-0 (Roy 23, Bairstow 22) It is Roy’s turn to dominate, meatier than Bairstow, less fluent, just as devastating. First a thick outside-edge down to the boundary, then a clever shot through the vacant third man. Ten from the over.

6th over: England 37-0 (Roy 14, Bairstow 21) Siddarth has an expensive over from the Ratcliffe Road end. Bairstow is looking devastating, hits Siddarth on the up through the off side for four, repeats it slightly straighter next ball but just gets the single – his first run that isn’t a boundary. Then Roy joins in with a huge bat-whafting, tip-toeing four though the off side.

Some statty stuff: since the last world cup England have won 46 ODIs, lost 19, India won 39, lost 19 – the only two teams to have won more than 2 x the games they’ve lost. Hope that scans.


5th over: England 26-0 (Roy 8, Bairstow 16) Roy keeps driving, keeps failing to get past India’s first line of defence. He punches one past Yadav on his follow-through, oooosh, it catches him hard on the side of his left hand. A potential caught and bowled if you were feeling particularly vindictive. Bairstow is seeing the ball better, tickles the last ball of the over round his legs down to the boundary.


4th over: England 21-0 (Roy 7, Bairstow 12) Skiddy Siddarth keeps things tight, one ball keeps a little low, another bounces unevenly, and England struggle to pierce the inner ring. Kohli fiddling with his slip cordon -wider, closer, one slip, two.

3rd over: England 20-0 (Roy 6, Bairstow 12) Forget what I said about a slow start, Bairstow has other ideas. He off-drives Yadav for a glorious four, and the next ball betters it with a superlative back-foot punch to the cover-boundary.

A satorial suggestion from Nuggehalli NigamHow do we get the English public interested in this game after the football mania? Perhaps Shastri should wear a waistcoat and look pensive?”

Bairstow punches one to the boundary for four.
Bairstow punches one to the boundary for four. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images


2nd over: England 11-0 (Roy 5, Bairstow 4) Siddarth Kaul, pink headband, left ear-stud, fancy, is on the money until the fifth ball, which Bairstow pulls with a angled bat to the boundary. A slow start by England standards.

1st over: England 6-0 (Roy 4, Bairstow 0) A mixed bag from the ponytailed Yadav. The first ball is full, Roy edges and the ball flies past first slip down to the boundary for four. Then an away-swinger beats a static Bairstow. A wide. Then a huge appeal, high and straight against Bairstow – but India decide not to appeal. Hawkeye though, says out.

Yadav sends down the first ball of the day.
Yadav sends down the first ball of the day. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/JMP/REX/Shutterstock


And we’re off, through the tunnel of flags, out onto dry, dry Trent Bridge.


England: Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (capt), Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Bairstow and Roy make their way to the crease.
Bairstow and Roy make their way to the crease. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


I’ve just seen a man walking across the outfield in a waterproof jacket, which suggests that the weather has toned down its attitude for the occasion. But expect runs aplenty: last time England batted here they knocked up a mammoth 481 for 6. In fact Trent Bridge is one of their very favourite grounds, the last time they lost an ODI here was in 2014 when India beat them by six wickets.


Virat Kohli wins the toss and will bowl first. He oozes confidence out in the middle. “It looks like a pretty hard pitch, we’ve chased well so far… we back ourselves to bowl first.”

Eoin Morgan confirms that he would have done the same.

Virat Kohli speaks one of the allstars cricketers before the game starts.
Virat Kohli speaks one of the allstars cricketers before the game starts. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


Hello sore heads and none, and welcome to the first of the three-match ODI series between England and India. Today we’re at Trent bridge – where local boy Alex Hales is out with a side injury (though he would have been left out anyway) and Dawid Malan has been called up as cover. Joe Root – one half-century in six ODI innings this summer – is back after his turn carrying the drinks in last IT20 game. Ben Stokes is back too, batting at No.5, despite being very light on bowling. Mark Wood returns.

India are without the injured Jasprit Bumrah, but with the wrist-spin wizards Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. England have been practising against Merlyn – we wait to see how that has gone.

For those nursing disappointment from last night, be consoled that this time next year England and India could be battling it out for a place in the final of the Cricket World Cup..

This series will give us a taster of what we can look forward to – the top two white-ball sides in the world. If India win 3-0, they leapfrog over England back to the top of the rankings

First blood this summer to India. Two intriguing months to come.

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India, Judiciary

‘A better life’: India moves a step closer to legalising gay sex


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “‘A better life’: India moves a step closer to legalising gay sex” was written by Amrit Dhillon in Delhi, for The Guardian on Friday 13th July 2018 09.30 Asia/Kolkata

For journalist Sunil Mehra, sitting in the Indian supreme court on Wednesday was a “heart-wrenching” moment he will never forget. He fought back tears as the story of his love for his partner, classical dancer Navtej Johar, was recounted by their lawyer Menaka Guruswamy to the five judges who are deciding whether India should legalise gay sex.

Guruswamy said the two men had loved each other for 24 years, that Mehra had passed a tough exam to join the civil service but did not dare join over fears that his homosexuality would become known. He added that every decision they took was under threat of persecution, that they were never able fully to be themselves and that they were living, in effect, as unconvicted felons.

Referring to the fact that under Indian law dating back to 1861 their sex life is a crime punishable by a 10-year prison sentence, Guruswamy said: “Twenty years of their lives have gone. In fear of persecution. They have been forced to live insecure, vulnerable lives. Can we at least ensure that those who are younger have a better life?”

The hearing was the third day of the supreme court’s deliberations on petitions filed by Mehra, Johar and others arguing that India should scrap a law criminalising gay sex between consenting adults.

On Wednesday, the 20-year-old legal battle to legalise gay sex received a boost when the government told judges that the decision was up to them and it will not contest the petitions.

The decision is significant given that the ruling Bharatiya Janata party upholds a conservative Hindu cultural ethos in which traditional values are paramount. This development greatly increases the probability that the court will move to abolish the law.

Even before this move, the court seemed likely to rule in favour of legalising sex between consenting adults. Last year, it gave a landmark ruling that guaranteed the constitutional right to privacy, saying that a person’s sexual orientation was “an essential attribute of privacy”. This, many lawyers said, laid the path for the court to abolish the law.

Lawyers have been deploying every possible weapon in their arsenal to convince the five judges. They have invoked the culture of antiquity, previous legal precedents in other countries, the animal kingdom, the fact that homosexuality is innate and not a matter of choice, the relativity of moral values from age to age and ancient Indian temple sculptures.

Participants hold a placard demanding the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which bans homosexuality.
Participants hold a placard demanding the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which bans homosexuality. Photograph: Gurinder Osan/AP

Lawyers argued that for much for its pre-British Raj history, India had been relaxed about depictions of same-sex love; in Hinduism, gods transformed into goddesses and men became pregnant. The famous erotic images on Khajuraho temple in central India included women embracing other women and men displaying their genitals to each other.

It was only when the British settled in India, they argued, that their “rigid Victorian morality” replaced the earlier Indian acceptance of homosexuality.

Other points cited in favour of legalising gay sex were that the Indian Psychiatric Society had called for decriminalisation because homosexuality was not a disorder; that homosexuality was found in many species of animals; and that the 2003 Lawrence v Texas ruling that struck down sodomy laws had provided the basis for providing legal protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the US.

However, not everybody in largely conservative India wants the law to change. On Tuesday, Bharatiya Janata party MP Subramanian Swamy told reporters: “It is not a normal thing. We cannot celebrate it. We should invest in medical research to see if it can be cured.”

On the question of gay marriage, the additional solicitor general urged the judges to restrict themselves to legalising gay sex and not venture into topics such as gay marriage, adoption or inheritance rights.

But Mehra said he couldn’t believe the positive atmosphere in court. “The whole court room radiated positivity,” he said. “I had to pinch myself and ask: ‘Am I in the same country?’ The judges had to understand that this was about human beings, about real lives – and we did that.”

The hearing continues.

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Arts Culture Books Features

‘Takes the edge off’: the cute cartoons that portrayed perils of Thai cave rescue


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “‘Takes the edge off’: the cute cartoons that portrayed perils of Thai cave rescue” was written by Kate Lyons, for theguardian.com on Friday 13th July 2018 07.34 Asia/Kolkata

Well before the Moo Pa football team emerged from the Tham Luang caves, they were cartoon heroes.

As the world waited for news of the boys’ rescue, Thai cartoonists began posting sketches of the boys on social media, where they were shared, liked and commented on thousands of times.

One cartoon shows the boys standing on a rock cheering as divers dressed in superhero gear dive and abseil to their rescue, another shows divers trying to reach them, clambering through tunnels that spell out the word “hope”. Another shows the boys as small boars – after their football team the Wild Boars – being held close and protected by their coach.

These distinctive, hopeful, sometimes highly symbolic but often very sentimental cartoons became the primary art form of the rescue.

One of the most widely shared image – which even features on a Thai billboard – was created by Aruni Aunhawarakorn and Jantima Manasviyoungkul, who draw together under the pen name SISIDEA.

Their cartoon depicts the boys as wild boars, swimming happily out of the cave surrounded by other animals – there is a kangaroo for the Australian team, seals for the Thai nay Seals, even an Iron Man mask for Elon Musk – all of them led by Narongsak Osatanakorn who coordinated the rescue mission, depicted as a white elephant wearing glasses and Narongsak’s trademark blue cap and yellow scarf.

The image, depicting the boys as wild boars, was shared around the world.
The image, depicting the boys as wild boars, was shared around the world. Photograph: SISIDEA

Aruni and Jantima posted the image after the first group of boys had been brought out of the cave.

“Our pen couldn’t start to work until the first wild boar was successfully rescued from the cave,” they wrote. “We were so worried and prayed for them. This picture is to cheer them up and show the appreciation of Thai people for the collaborations from many people around the world.”

They shared with the Guardian an annotated version of the most recent version of the cartoon, which now also has a Canadian beaver, a French rooster and Danish swan, among other additions.

For them, using animal symbolism was a way to use a light touch when dealing with heavy subject matter.

“We think this situation is quite serious for everyone, so we are representing using animal symbols to bring a smile and be more relaxed,” they wrote.

‘We’re talking about children in peril’

Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, professor of film at the university of Lincoln, says using animals is “quite clever” for a situation of uncertainty like the rescue. “You don’t want to make it individual … you’re not talking about real politik, you’re talking about all these lovely animals coming to the rescue, it takes the edge off, it makes things less real.”

Hemelryk Donald is not surprised the cartoons had a cutesy, sentimentalised aesthetic. “There’s a very strong connection between Japanese kawaii [culture of cuteness] and the rest of south-east Asia,” she said.

She points to the way the boys are often presented in cartoons as being even younger than they actually are. “We’re talking about children in peril and adults coming in to rescue them. It’s a very paternalistic society and we have this, the narrative of the state coming to rescue the boys … it was very much a national effort and it’s done the Thai royalty no harm at all and the Thai government no harm at all.”

This cartoon, titled Safe, shows one of the trapped boys being rescued by two divers.
This cartoon, titled Safe, shows one of the trapped boys being rescued by two divers. Photograph: Tuagom Studio
The artist drew this cartoon after the boys were found by British divers.
The artist drew this cartoon after the boys were found by British divers. Photograph: Tuagom Studio

Pazut Wutigornsombatkul, a cartoonist and photographer living in Bangkok, drawing under the name of his studio Tuagom Studio, is one of those who drew the boys, in his usual bubble-headed style, looking very young as they were accompanied out of the cave by divers. His aim, he says, was to bring some calm in a stressful situation.

“When I first got the news, I really felt that many people were starting to panic and stress. So my first idea is I wanted to make people relaxed and feel happy, so I started to draw,” he says.

“Sometimes photography makes [things] more real and also stressed,” he says, adding that cartoons have the power to bring hope and calm people.

Hemelryk Donald says she is also not surprised that very few of the cartoons – with the notable exception of a cartoon in the Thai newspaper the Nation contrasting the stoicism of the boys with Brazilian footballer Neymar – attempt to be funny.

“I think it would’ve been quite dangerous to make too many funny cartoons about children being rescued … If you’re going to make a cartoon funny you need to laugh at someone, but who are you going to laugh at in this situation? Neymar you can laugh at.” Instead, she says, these cartoons are about “telling a story in a sharable way, a way that people can hook onto”.

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The Guardian view on England’s World Cup: savour the wins, learn from the defeat


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “The Guardian view on England’s World Cup: savour the wins, learn from the defeat” was written by Editorial, for The Guardian on Thursday 12th July 2018 22.40 Asia/Kolkata

The sheer gaiety of England’s unexpected success at the World Cup in Russia was bewitching. In the nine days since Gareth Southgate’s men won a penalty shootout against Colombia, going on to beat Sweden 2-0, it even felt as if the “Football’s coming home” dream of the 1996 pop anthem might actually come true. What a joy that would have been: England in the final on Sunday. Instead they lost to Croatia in the semi-final and the flag-waving euphoria is over, at least for now. “It just hurts” was captain Harry Kane’s comment, while Mr Southgate indicated that the pain would last some time. Moving on quickly is unwise, he said: “You have to suffer the result a little bit.”

England have been bad losers in the past, and not just in the sense of being graceless. The whole national set-up has appeared unable to learn from failure, with its atrocious record on penalty shootouts – now corrected by Mr Southgate – the most glaring example. After the Sweden game, the manager spoke of his pride in the team’s resilience and togetherness. Crushing disappointment is sure to test both. Fans will hope the experience makes them stronger – but not before a last hurrah in the third place play-off against Belgium on Saturday. Come on, England!

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Donald Trump arrives in UK for start of contentious visit


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Donald Trump arrives in UK for start of contentious visit” was written by Patrick Wintour and Peter Walker, for theguardian.com on Thursday 12th July 2018 18.21 Asia/Kolkata

Donald Trump has arrived in the UK for a four-day visit which will feature talks with Theresa May, tea with the Queen, and mass protests including a giant Trump baby blimp being flown over Westminster.

Trump’s plane touched down at Stansted airport, in Essex, from Brussels, where he had spent two days at the Nato summit. He is due to remain in the UK until Sunday evening, when he will head to Helsinki for a summit with Vladimir Putin.

The US president was greeted at the airport by Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, before travelling by helicopter to London, most likely to the US ambassador’s residence, Winfield House.

Trump will largely avoid the capital or other cities that could host significant protests. He will instead be kept mainly insulated from the public at various country estates or palaces.

Earlier Trump said Brexit was heading on a different route to the one the British people expected, and the UK could end up with a closer relationship with the EU than had been predicted.

Speaking at a press conference as he prepared to leave the Nato summit for his first official visit to the UK, Trump did not explicitly call for a hard Brexit, insisting he was not interfering in the internal affairs of the UK, but his remarks were likely to disturb No 10 as it battles to shore up support for May’s proposed Brexit deal.

“I would say Brexit is Brexit,” said Trump. “The people voted to break it up so I imagine that is what they would do, but maybe they’re taking a different route. I’m not sure that’s what they voted for.”

He added that it seemed as if the UK was “getting at least partially involved back with the European Union. I’d like to see them be able to work it out so it could go quickly.”

Trump said he had been reading up closely on Brexit in recent days, and he described the UK as “a pretty hot spot with many resignations”.

He had already described the UK as a country in turmoil, and held back from endorsing May’s leadership, instead praising the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who resigned on Monday in protest at the Brexit deal May presented to the cabinet at her Chequers retreat at the weekend.

Trump also said he had told EU leaders they had to be careful because immigration was “taking over Europe”, and this had been the reason for Brexit. He said he would be taking on the EU later this month by demanding a change to trade tariffs under the threat of imposing controls on German car exports to the US.

He insisted he was popular in the UK, citing his strong line on migration. “They like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration.”

A Guardian/ICM poll released on Wednesday showed 53% of respondents disagreed with the idea Trump was doing a good job, and 63% disagreed with the statement that they would like to see a politician like him as British prime minister.

As Trump prepared to arrive in the UK on Thursday a spoof “go home” van – a parody of widely criticised Home Office vans carrying messages directed at illegal immigrants – was being driven around central London. The message on the side the van, supported by the campaign groups Another Europe is Possible and Global Justice Now, stated: “Go home or face protest.”

Later on Thursday Trump will attend a black-tie dinner at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire along with business leaders and most of the senior members of the cabinet.

On Friday he will join May for a counter-terrorism demonstration by UK and US special forces at an undisclosed location, before the main business element of his trip: talks with May and the new foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, at the PM’s Chequers country retreat, including a working lunch.

Later on Friday Trump and his wife, Melania, who will spend some of her time on separate engagements with May’s husband, Philip, will have tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle. They will then fly to Scotland.

Trump graphic

Trump’s 48 hours in Scotland are officially part of his visit, and he will be greeted on arrival by the Scotland secretary, David Mundell, but he has no official engagements there and is expected to stay at one of his golf resorts, playing golf and preparing for a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Protests against Trump’s visit are expected across the country. There will be an “unwelcome party” near Winfield House and a protest near Downing Street on Thursday. On Friday a women’s march will head to Portland Square before the main Stop Trump protest, ending with a rally in Trafalgar Square. There are also expected to be protests in Glasgow and Manchester.

Much of the media attention has focused on a 20ft balloon caricaturing the US president as a nappy-clad orange baby with a smartphone. The London mayor, Sadiq Khan’s decision to allow the inflatable to fly next to the Houses of Parliament has enraged some Trump supporters, with Nigel Farage describing it as “the biggest insult to a sitting US president ever”.

It is officially a working visit. Plans for a full state visit – an offer extended by May when she visited Trump soon after his inauguration in 2017 – were shelved indefinitely amid concerns about protests. But May and her ministers still hope to flatter Trump with pomp and royalty.

One of the obstacles to a state visit had been objections to Trump addressing parliament, a traditional element of such trips, including a controversial ban by the Commons Speaker, John Bercow.

However, some MPs will be presenting another view. The rightwing thinktank Bow Group has organised a welcome event for Trump in parliament on Thursday, even though the president will get no nearer than the US ambassador’s residence, four miles to the north in Regent’s Park.

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World Cup 2018 semi-final: Croatia 2-1 England (aet) – as it happened


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “World Cup 2018 semi-final: Croatia 2-1 England (aet) – as it happened” was written by Scott Murray, for theguardian.com on Thursday 12th July 2018 05.31 Asia/Kolkata

A night of high drama has come to an end. England are out, Croatia will face France in Sunday’s World Cup final. Thanks for joining us tonight, here’s Barney Ronay to see you out …

… Dominic Fifield to make you a cup of cocoa

and Football Weekly to tuck you in.


England woe …


Croatian joy.


Ivan Perisic: 8/10

Harry Kane: 6/10

More from Stuart James, right here.

As the dust begins to settle, Luka Modric has his say. Ouch.

Despite England’s exit, Sunday’s final is all set to be a cracker. Here’s David Hytner’s lowdown on what is means for Paul Pogba and France.

And with that, it’s time my time on this MBM comes to a close. It’s been emotional. For a while back there, England looked in complete control, and a first World Cup final since 1966 seemed their destiny, theirs for the taking. But experienced opponents ground them down, and in the end Croatia were deserved victors. England will pick themselves up again after a heroic campaign that totally outstripped expectation; they’ll play Belgium in the third-place play-off on Saturday. Croatia meanwhile wearily move on to a meeting in the final with France. Can they become the smallest country to win the World Cup since Uruguay in 1950? It’s going to be fun finding out on Sunday.

Stay tuned on this liveblog for more reaction from Barney Ronay, Martha Kelner and Dominic Fifield, plus player ratings from Stuart James, and the latest quotes from Gareth Southgate and the players. Thanks for reading, wherever you are in the world: nighty night and sweet dreams!

England players look around the stadium as their World Cup hopes end.
England players look around the stadium as their World Cup hopes end.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


Despite the disappointing scoreline, there will be plenty of England fans who wouldn’t have missed the game for the world. Here’s the story of their last-minute race to Russia.

So on Saturday afternoon, England now face Belgium in the one match no footballer wants to play in: the third-place play-off at the World Cup. There’s plenty to play for: should England win, it’ll be their second-best finish at international football’s premier tournament: they were beaten by Italy in 1990 and ended up fourth.

Also, there’s the small matter of the Golden Boot. It won’t be uppermost in his mind right now, but the captain wants that shiny shoe! He’s on six goals, two ahead of Romelu Lukaku. If the Belgian doesn’t notch at least a couple, Kane will almost certainly have the Boot to himself … unless Kylian Mbappe or Antoine Griezmann become only the second player in history to score a World Cup final hat-trick, after Geoff Hurst.

It’s not what any England fan wanted at the start of the day … but it’s something. It’ll feel better come Saturday, promise.

The mightily impressive Jordan Pickford talks. “It was an experience. Maybe we went ahead to early. But we needed that next goal to kill off the tie. We had some good chances, but didn’t put them away. They have some top-quality players, which showed in the second half. Maybe it was a high kick on Kyle Walker for their first goal? But you can’t look back, we showed pride and passion. The fans were great. As a nation we’ve come far, and hopefully it’s the start of a good future.”

Jordan Pickford receives commiserations after heading up into the stands to see his family.
Jordan Pickford receives commiserations after heading up into the stands to see his family.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


Daniel Taylor’s verdict is in!

It was like watching a beautiful painting being ripped up in front of your eyes. England’s dream of making it to their first World Cup final for more than a quarter of a century was over and in those desolate moments after the final whistle, as the losing players wandered aimlessly around the pitch, almost zombie-like in their trance, it was impossible not to wonder whether there will be a lifetime of regret.

A solemn but proud Gareth Southgate speaks! “In the first half we were really good, and could have had another. We had chances. There was a spell in the second half when they got the goal and their tails were up, we had to weather the storm. Possibly at that moment, we were hanging on a bit. Great credit, in extra time we got back into the game and showed some more composure. The biggest thing is our supporters at the end, and their reaction. That tells you what the players have given, not just tonight but over the period. I can’t ask any more. Knockout football is fine margins. When you have spells, you have to make them count; we probably needed that second goal. We’ve come an incredible long way in a short space of time. We are probably beyond where we thought we might be able to go. So tonight we weren’t quite there, but the team will be stronger for that.”

Gareth Southgate applauds the England fans.
Gareth Southgate applauds the England fans.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


The England fans are still in the Luzhniki. They’re in buoyant mood, despite their disappointment, and are currently belting out a fine karaoke rendition of Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis. Will that chase Three Lions up the charts this weekend too? It’ll be 1996 on feedback loop. This has to stop if there’s a Kula Shaker revival, though.

England fans in the stadium show the team some love.
England fans in the stadium show the team some love.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


Post-match chat: “We dared to dream,” begins Kyle Green. “Maybe we can dream again in the future. It doesn’t hurt any less though. This is my tenth tournament with England. I’m very proud still but it’s going to be a rough rest of the night.”

“For being in the supposed easy half of the draw, Croatia had to work their unmentionables off to get to the final,” writes Kári Tulinius. “Three very intense games, all going to extra time. France will be happy to face exhausted opponents, but Croatia have shown that they never give up and have always found a way.”

“Watching on Dutch TV, they were quite unequivocal that Croatia deserved the victory and were several gears above the English,” reports Ali Houston. “That’s the polite version anyway. They were most, uh, constructive, in their criticism.”

“Got to give Croatia props for attacking to the final second,” says Zafar Sobhan. “None of this dribbling the ball to the corner flag rubbish.”

And a defiant word from Hubert O’Hearn: “It’s coming home … soon.”


And now a full-time dispatch from Kevin Rawlinson at the Hyde Park shindig.

“It’s like the Olympics again.” There was a feeling of high optimism in Hyde Park, where new fans mixed with the more established, as kick-off approached. By the time the night was over, that was replaced by silent resignation.

As Hyde Park filled up early on Wednesday evening, the Lightning Seeds had got the crowd going with a live rendition of Three Lions on the main stage. At that point, “it was coming home”.

Will Prior, one of the tens of thousands of fans who had made his way to central London for the match, didn’t think England would get the job done in normal time. After a 0-0 draw, he saw them doing it on penalties.

“I can’t handle penalties,” says Charlotte Garside, 29. She didn’t have to. That was almost crueler.

Neither was really old enough to remember England’s last World Cup semi-final appearance. Each admitted they wouldn’t have been interested if they were. They were some of those people in the country who had been energised by England’s performance so far.

“I just think everybody is here for the atmosphere. People normally have no hope … we’ve got fresh blood this year,” said Garside. Her prediction had been: 3-2 after extra time, following a 2-2 draw.

Max Kennedy, 21, was not even old enough to remember England’s more recent semi-final appearance – in the 1996 European Championship – the first time it was said to be coming home. He believes the festival-like atmosphere was far better than watching the match in a packed pub. “You can tell everyone is just on it.”

Eamonn Power and his friends could remember 1990. They said they did not see much optimism on the streets pre-match. “You don’t see so many England flags,” said David Dickson. That was, they said, until they got into Hyde Park, where they watched the match with 50,000 similarly optimistic fans.

The fact Kennedy had never seen England get this far perhaps his pre-match optimism more surprising: 3-1 England, he said just before kick-off. Kane to score two. Within 10 minutes, England would be one up and thousands of plastic pint glasses would be emptied into the evening air – quite a feat at £6-a-pint.

Everything seemed to looking up at that point. The sun was shining and England were heading into the World Cup final to play France. Soon after half-time, however, the smiling faces were creased with worry. Croatia had equalised and the sun had sunk behind the trees. Soon, it would be gone altogether.

A deflated Harry Kane speaks. “It’s tough. We’re gutted, you know. We worked so hard. The fans were amazing. It was a tough game, a 50-50 game. I’m sure there was stuff we could have done better, but we worked as hard as we could. It hurts, it’ll hurt for a while, but we can hold our heads up high. It was a fantastic journey, we got further than anyone thought we could, we’ve just got to learn from it. We created some good chances, being 1-0 up. Maybe we dropped too deep at times. In big games, it’s small margins. There’s a lot we could have done better, but they played well. It’s been great to get to this stage, but we wanted to go on and win it. But we’ve fallen a bit short. It just hurts. It shows we can win knockout games; the next stage is to go one further. We’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again in a couple of years.”

The greatest thing about this England campaign? There can be no scapegoats. Because every single player has been magnificent in their own way. And so it’s that time to give the players your ratings. Tens all round? C’mon, spread the love!

Player ratings.

Sorry, I’ve been wittering … here’s our on-the-whistle match report.


Gareth Southgate is a class act. Ever the gentleman, he congratulates Zlatko Dalic, a hug and a hand clasp, and consoles his players. An arm around Kane, and a word in his ear. A gentle hand to lift Young from the floor. He’s obviously coping with feelings of crushing disappointment himself, but as ever, retains the demeanour of a statesman. He’s done England proud.

Ashley Young looks absolutely dejected
Ashley Young looks absolutely dejected
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian
... and so do the England fans
… and so do the England fans
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


England’s players collapse to the floor. You know exactly how they feel. Rashford sobs into the turf. Lingard looks distraught too. Maguire stunned. Alli with his head in his hands. Football’s not coming home after all. But two things: England have been magnificent tonight, and this is a run that will echo down the ages. Heroes all. Croatia meanwhile, after being run ragged in the first half, were the better team for the rest of the match and deservedly make it to the final. Commiserations to England’s heroic young squad … but congratulations to Croatia!

Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli of England look dejected after the final whistle.
Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli of England look dejected after the final whistle.
Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


EXTRA TIME, FULL TIME: Croatia 2-1 England

The free kick’s no good. Floated in. The man-of-the-match Perisic races off with the ball … and the English dream is over. Croatia will play France in the 2018 World Cup final!

ET 30 min +4: England will have one last set piece to save themselves! Alli tries to burst down the left. Badelj stops him, but only by handling! England load the box. Rashford takes!

ET 30 min +3: Perisic romps down the left. Crosses. Pickford claims and launches long but can’t find anyone.

ET 30 min +2: After a tussle for the ball, Alli gathers Rakitic’s shirt into his fist, in the old-school cartoon style. Again, it nearly descends into saloon-style shenanigans, but the ref snuffs it out. Dier hoists long but Subasic claims.

ET 30 min +1: Rakitic and Perisic meander down the left. The clock ticks on. There are now three minutes for England to save their World Cup dream.

ET 30 min: Croatia triangulate nicely down the right. Suddenly Kramaric is romping into the box! He’s got Perisic free in the middle, but decides to go for the top right. He only ripples the side netting. There will be four minutes of added time.

ET 29 min: Modric is replaced by Badelj.

ET 28 min: Trippier can’t continue. He’s being helped off. Meanwhile on the field, the ten men of England win a free kick down the left, Alli fouled. England load the box. Rashford floats it into the mixer. The ball flicks off Lovren’s head, but the ref thinks it’s come off Maguire. Goal kick.

England’s Kieran Trippier is helped towards the bench.
England’s Kieran Trippier is helped towards the bench.
Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters


ET 26 min: Meanwhile Trippier limps off with a groin complaint. He looks in a bad way. England will defend the corner with ten men. Perisic has a crack from distance. Pickford mishandles, but gathers … and is barged by an over-enthusiastic Vida. Free kick. For a second it looks like kicking off, but the referee is over quickly, and to be honest, Pickford just wants to get on with it.

ET 25 min: Pivaric and Rakitic combine well down the left, earning a corner. Before it can be taken, Mandzukic is replaced by Corluka. The big striker takes his own sweet time to leave the field of play, and the referee performs the international mime for “I’m adding on some time, son.”

ET 23 min: Rashford hoists in from the left, hoping to find Alli. But Subasic is out quickly to spring high and claim.

ET 22 min: Gareth Southgate rolls the dice for the last time, replacing Walker with Vardy. Rashford races down the left and lifts a cross into the box. But there’s nobody in white nearby. Modric clears calmly.

ET 20 min: A fine finish by Mandzukic, though it was more sleepy defending by England. This is the first time they’ve fallen behind on their Russian adventure. Can they rescue themselves at the death?

GOAL! Croatia 2-1 England (Mandzukic ET 19)

England fail to clear a high ball down the left. Perisic beats Trippier to a header to the left of the D. Mandzukic meets the dropping ball, and flashes an unstoppable low shot across Pickford and into the bottom right.

Mario Mandzukic of Croatia scores past England keeper Jordan Pickford.
Mario Mandzukic of Croatia scores past England keeper Jordan Pickford.
Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic celebrates scoring their second goal with team-mates.
Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic celebrates scoring their second goal with team-mates.
Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
England’s John Stones and Kyle Walker react after conceding their second goal scored by Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic.
Whilst England’s John Stones and Kyle Walker look dejected.
Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
Down the other end of the pitch Vida celebrates with Subasic.
Down the other end of the pitch Vida celebrates with Subasic.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


ET 18 min: Croatia take it quickly. England are snoozing. Brozovic barrels down the inside-left channel into acres of space. He’s in the area and meets the ball … but blazes it high and wide left. England breathe again, because that was poor defending.

ET 17 min: Croatia are hogging the ball in the early stages of this final period. Perisic, who has been excellent tonight, works his way down the left and wins a corner.

And we’re off again! Again! Croatia get the ball rolling. Goodness knows how this final period will pan out. We’re 15 minutes away from penalty kicks; just saying.

EXTRA TIME, HALF TIME: Croatia 1-1 England

The corner leads to nothing. Modric faffs about on the left, and that’s that for the first half of extra time. That was an outstanding save by Pickford, who is unquestionably one of England’s players of the tournament. If not the England player of the tournament, Kane’s goals and all. Mandzukic is still walking very gingerly.

ET 15 min +2: Then Perisic, deep on the left, curls low for Mandzukic, on the edge of the six-yard box. Pickford comes out bravely to put the striker off: he star jumps and Mandzukic’s effort is deflected wide and high. What a save! But he’s also crumped Mandzukic in his trouser arrangement with his knee. So there’s a bit of time for the striker to catch his breath before the corner’s taken.

Jordan Pickford saves from Mandzukic.
Jordan Pickford keeps England in the World Cup.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


ET 15 min +1: There will be two minutes added to this period. In the first, Perisic is sent scampering into space down the left. He pulls one back for Kramaric, who hits first time. But his shot is blocked.

ET 15 min: The game has slowed to walking pace now. A mixture of exhaustion and nervous tension.

ET 13 min: Rose has been dangerous since his introduction. He makes good ground down the left, and his fizzing cross is well dealt with by Lovren. England have regained the initiative, after seriously rocking during that second half.

ET 12 min: Croatia’s free kick is a waste of time.

ET 11 min: England have been the better team since the start of extra time. But then Croatia launch pretty much their first attack of the period. Vrsaljko races down the right. Rashford slides in. No contact, but it’s a free kick anyway. Before that can be taken, Rebic is replaced by the in-form Kramaric.

ET 9 min: Trippier’s ball flashes onto the head of Stones, 12 yards out and level with the right-hand post. Stones guides his header towards the top left. It’s going in, but Vrsaljko is on the line and clears! So close!

Croatia’s Sime Vrsaljko clears the ball off the line after a header from England’s John Stones.
Croatia’s Sime Vrsaljko clears the ball off the line after a header from England’s John Stones.
Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters


ET 8 min: Dier is immediately into the action, earning a corner with a speculative shot from distance. Trippier will take, out on the right.

ET 7 min: Trippier chips the free kick into the area, towards Maguire. But now it’s a free kick for Croatia, Henderson having knocked Mandzukic over. And that’s Henderson’s evening over: he’s replaced by Dier.

ET 6 min: Rose goes skittering at pace down the middle. Rebic slides in from behind and picks up a yellow card. The free kick is central, and a good 35 yards out. Here’s Gary Byrne: “Regardless of the result, France are absolutely loving this.”

ET 4 min: England are seeing more of the ball. You’d think Croatia – older, and with an extra period of half time in their legs – could struggle if this keeps up. Strinic goes down, feeling his groin. It looks as though he’ll be hooked for Pivaric … though he’s taking an age to traipse off.

ET 2 min: England turn down the chance of throwing high into the box, and the chance to put Croatia under pressure is gone.

Here we go again! England have made another change, swapping Young for Rose. They kick off, and quickly Rashford is making his presence felt down the right. He earns a throw deep in Croatian territtory. England should have had a corner, Brozovic hacking clear from behind the byline, but they don’t get it.

FULL TIME: Croatia 1-1 England

It was always going to be this way, wasn’t it. We’re slap-bang in the middle of an epic.


90 min +2: Trippier loops a slow one to the far post. Kane meets it, but from eight yards flashes a header wide left. That wasn’t the easiest of chances … but it wasn’t the hardest, either. Kane wears the disappointed look of a man who knows he should have done a little better.

Despite the melee Harry Kane gets a header in but it goes wide.
Despite the melee Harry Kane gets a header in but it goes wide.
Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images


90 min +1: Rashford dribbles infield from the right and is clumsily bowled to the ground by Rakitic. What a chance for England to load the box, and score from yet another set piece. If they do, they’re in the final!

90 min: Lovren attempts a shot from 30 yards. Hats off for ambition, I suppose. There are three extra minutes between these two street-fighting teams and extra time.

88 min: Rebic is released into a little space out on the left. He hoofs a needlessly panicked cross out of play on the other wing. A lot of players thinking about extra time now. A lot of players dreading making a mistake that would almost certainly decide this semi-final.

87 min: Kane, deep on the left, nearly finds Lingard with a clever threaded diagonal pass. It’s inches away from the striker, who can’t sort his feet out in time to control. Lingard was free on the spot. This is beyond tense!

86 min: Strinic dribbles in from the left, a wonderful solo run. He thinks about shooting, but instead looks for Perisic in acres on the right. Wrong choice. His pass is wild, sailing out for a throw. Perisic stretches to reach it in the knackered style. He puts his hands on his knees and takes a few gulps of air.

84 min: England fail to deal with a high ball. Pickford comes off his line to punch. It’s not a good one, falling straight to Perisic, out on the left. Perisic tries to return it instantly, the net now unguarded, but hoists it over the bar.

83 min: Brozovic dinks a pass down the inside-right channel. Mandzukic, who has been quiet, swivels and hammers a shot at goal from a tight-ish angle. Pickford parries brilliantly. England go up the other end. A long ball deceives Vida, nearly letting Rashford in. Subasic rises high to claim.

Mario Mandzukic of Croatia takes a shot as Kyle Walker of England attempts to block.
Mario Mandzukic of Croatia takes a shot as Kyle Walker of England attempts to block.
Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images


81 min: Trippier nearly sends the very dangerous Perisic through with a weak prod back towards his keeper. Stones does just enough to stop Perisic wriggling free, and Pickford hammers clear … though he nearly hits Perisic in doing so. The nerves are rattling all right.

80 min: Stones is hassled and harried by Rebic. The ball flies out of play for a throw. Stones unleashes a volley of abuse at the referee. For a throw in the midfield! The stress is beginning to show.

78 min: England are looking dangerous for the first time this half. Croatia can’t get out of their box. Henderson tries to release Lingard. The ball breaks back to him. He tries a dipping volley. Over the bar. This really could go either way: neither team looks secure at the back. And the nerves will really start to kick in right about now.

Jordan Henderson of England shoots.
Not that close so definitely no cigar for Jordan Henderson.
Photograph: Joosep Martinson/FIFA via Getty Images


77 min: Rakitic, deep on the left, sends a high diagonal ball into the middle. Pickford comes to the edge of his box to claim well, under severe pressure from the marauding Perisic. England go up the other end, Lingard gliding into the box down the inside-right channel and dragging a shot across the face of goal. That wasn’t far away from creeping into the bottom left.

Jesse Lingard shoots wide.
Close but no cigar for Jesse Lingard.
Photograph: Eddie Keogh for The FA/Rex/Shutterstock


75 min: Croatia are playing at a high tempo now. They sense blood. Vrsaljko moves down the right. His low cross nearly finds Perisic on the penalty spot. England hack clear. They survive. Just.

74 min: England make the first change of the evening, swapping Sterling for Rashford.

73 min: England are rocking. Croatia win a corner down the right. Vrsaljko’s ball in is half cleared. Brozovic latches onto it, and blazes a 20-yarder a similar distance over the bar.

71 min: Croatia hit the post! Stones hesitates on the edge of the area, and shanks a clearance. Perisic drops a shoulder and enters the box down the left. He whistles a low shot across Pickford and off the right-hand upright! The ball breaks to Rebic, who can only waft a soft first-time shot into the grateful arms of Pickford!

Jordan Pickford of England looks on as Ivan Perisic of Croatia’s shot hits the post.
Jordan Pickford of England looks on as Ivan Perisic of Croatia’s shot hits the post.
Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images


70 min: England have been a little passive since the restart. Kane tries to get them going, racing down the left and launching diagonally for Trippier, romping into the box from the other flank. There’s just a bit too much juice on the pass. Goal kick. But that’s a decent response to conceding the equaliser.

GOAL! Croatia 1-1 England (Perisic 68)

Croatia had been turning up the pressure, and now they’ve got their reward! Vrsaljko, deep on the right, curls towards the far post. Walker stoops to head clear, but Perisic nips in from behind, and high-kicks a first-time flick into the left-hand portion of the net! That’s a superb finish! And it had been … sort of … coming.

Croatia’s Ivan Perisic scores their first goa
Ivan Perisic beats Kyle Walker to the ball …
Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Ivan Perisic of Croatia scores his team’s first goal past Jordan Pickford
And it flies past Jordan Pickford to get Croatia back on level terms.
Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
The Croatian fans celebrate.
The Croatian fans celebrate.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian



67 min: Kane races after a bouncing ball down the inside-right channel. He can only meet it just as it reaches the byline; his attempt to curl in a wonder-goal ripples the side netting.

65 min: Modric finally gets some joy down the right. His cross inside is half cleared, but only to Perisic, whose shot from the edge of the box is blocked by Walker. Ooyah, he’s taken that in his fruit bowl. While he’s down, Croatia throw another cross into the area. Walker gets up, heads one clear, and then goes back down in pain! That’s some fine old-school determination! You sense Terry Butcher would approve.

The England fans in the Luzhniki Stadium are enjoying themselves.
The England fans in the Luzhniki Stadium are enjoying themselves.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

63 min: Trippier slides a pass down the right, nearly releasing Lingard but forcing Vida into a heavy touch out of play. From the throw, Henderson eventually slips a gorgeous pass down the channel for Sterling, who tries to turn Vida but can’t quite get past for a shot. Sterling stumbles, Croatia clear. Sterling doesn’t request a penalty kick.

Raheem Sterling of England is challenged by Domagoj Vida of Croatia inside the penalty area.
Raheem Sterling of England is challenged by Domagoj Vida of Croatia inside the penalty area.
Photograph: Joosep Martinson/FIFA via Getty Images


61 min: Rakitic meets a loose ball, 25 yards out … and shanks a hopeless effort miles over the crossbar. He allows the look of a frustrated man to slowly wash across his face.

59 min: Walker shins a poor Rebic left-wing cross out of play. Another corner for Croatia. Pickford clears to Lingard, who is shoulder charged out of the road by Lovren. A free kick, though England had plenty of men prepared to break; they’d have rather played on.

58 min: Rebic and Strinic combine cutely down the left, the former sending the latter into the box. He’s got options in the middle, but can’t find anyone in black and Maguire clears. Croatia are showing signs of flickering into life, without making a totally persuasive argument for getting back into this.

56 min: The ball’s teed up for Lingard, 20 yards out, by Sterling. His shot is deflected out for a corner kick. Perisic clears, but the ball’s sent down the right for Trippier, who crosses low. Kane attempts a Keith Houchen diving header, but can’t connect. That would have been some goal!

England’s Harry Kane is denied by the boot of Croatia’s Dejan Lovren.
England’s Harry Kane is denied by the boot of Croatia’s Dejan Lovren.
Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters


55 min: From the throw, Croatia force a corner. From which Lovren is penalised for Duggee-hugging Maguire. Dejan hug!

54 min: Walker is booked for stopping Croatia taking a quick throw. For a second, it looked like it might all kick off, as Rebic snatched the ball off him. But the referee was quick to calm everyone down.

Kyle Walker of England plays keep-ball with Ivan Perisic of Croatia.
Kyle Walker of England plays keep-ball with Ivan Perisic of Croatia.
Photograph: Michael Regan/FIFA via Getty Images


52 min: Rebic swings one in deep from the left. He’s hoping to find Perisic coming in at the far post, but there’s too much on the pass. Goal kick. Croatia are at least spending more time in England’s half, but they’re not doing very much to trouble their opponents.

51 min: Croatia shouldn’t lose the head yet, there’s plenty of time.


49 min: Kane is bundled into the hoardings down the right as he contests a loose 50-50 with Vida. He’s not happy about it, but the referee sees no transgression of the laws.

Domagoj Vida of Croatia and Harry Kane of England tussle.
Domagoj Vida of Croatia and Harry Kane of England tussle.
Photograph: Mike Hewitt/FIFA via Getty Images


48 min: Rebic meets Walker in the robust style once again. Mandzukic is booked for angrily punching the ball away after the award of a foul. Croatia have obviously been told to take it up a notch.


47 min: Maguire – who has looked a little shaky on occasion tonight – misses a simple header on the edge of the area. There’s some relief as the lurking Rebic clanks into Walker needlessly and concedes a free kick.

The teams are out again! Croatia get the ball rolling again. No changes. Croatia are historically very dangerous during the first 20 seconds of World Cup semi-finals, but there’s no Davor Suker style surprise for England this time. We’re 30 seconds in. Phew.

Half-time guarded optimism: “Dan Weingrod is wrong though isn’t he?” writes Gary Naylor. “England have pace up front, a goalscoring centre-forward, two confident centre-halves and a fine goalkeeper. Given even 25% possession, with that you have a chance. That’s why IT’S COMING HOME. Peut-être…”

Adam Kline-Schoder adds: “Although like any England supporter I am of course expecting imminent doom, I’m really impressed with how the likes of Alli, Lingard and Sterling are taking the game to Vrsaljko and Strinic so far. They definitely seem to be attempting to take advantage of the Croats’ tiredness. Henderson’s positioning has also been excellent again. Modric was starting to dictate the tempo a bit more by the end of the half, though, which has me worried. Rebic also looks impressive, and has gone straight for England’s jugular when his midfield can be bothered to get the ball to him.”

“I’m watching on ITV, I’m in France, texting my French friends and flowing you and Le Monde’s version of an MBM,” begins multi-tasking’s Lizz Poulter. “Their writer thinks Sterling is a match for Mbappé as far as speed goes. I think Mbappé’s been absolutely outstanding during this tournament so good to see a bit of respect coming our way. Enjoy half time – I need to breathe.”

And finally here’s Lionel Artom-Ginzburg: “How about “Space for Trippier” as a 1967 band name?”

Half-time dispatch from Kevin Rawlinson in Hyde Park:

“It’s like the Olympics again.” There’s a feeling of high optimism in Hyde Park, where new fans are mixing with the more established. That said, Will Prior, one of the tens of thousands of fans who’s made his way to central London for the match, doesn’t think England will get the job done in normal time. After a 0-0 draw, he sees them doing it on penalties.

“I can’t handle penalties,” says Charlotte Garside, 29, soon after the Lightning Seeds leave the stage.

Neither is really old enough to remember England’s last World Cup semi-final appearance. Each admits they wouldn’t have been interested if they were. They are some of those people in the country who have been energised by England’s performance so far.

“I just think everybody is here for the atmosphere. People normally have no hope .. we’ve got fresh blood this year,” says Garside. Her prediction: 3-2 after extra time, following a 2-2 draw.

Max Kennedy, 21, is not even old enough to remember England’s more recent semi-final appearance – in the 1996 European Championship – the first time it was said to be coming home. He believes the festival-like atmosphere is far better than watching the match in a packed pub. “You can tell everyone is just on it.”


HALF TIME: Croatia 0-1 England

And that’s that for the first half! In which Kieran Trippier has put England 45 minutes away from their second World Cup final! You’ll be back for the second half, right?


45 min +2: A free kick for Croatia out on the left. It’s hooked into the box and cleared by Walker. Meanwhile Lovren goes down very easily under a tug on the shoulder by Maguire. They check the VAR, but it’s not a clear and obvious error. We’ve seen them given for that sort of thing during this World Cup, mind, but Croatia aren’t getting a penalty.

45 min: A Maguire backpass nearly puts England in all sorts of bother. Walker just about ushers it back to Pickford, but the keeper tugs a terrible kick straight to Perisic, who races towards the box down the left. He dribbles inside with a view of getting closer and closer to shoot … but over-elaborates. England clear.

43 min: Vrsaljko has a dig from distance. It wouldn’t trouble Pickford if the keeper had 30-yard arms.

41 min: This half is kind of petering out, which is good news for Croatia, who really need to regroup. England have been well worth their lead, though they might think they really should have scored a second while the going was good. The next four or five minutes could be crucial.

39 min: A slight lull. Opportunity for Russians in the stadium to give pro-Ukrainian sloganeer Vida the bird. “Based on state of play, France would beat either of these teams while calmly sipping a pastis and smoking a couple of Gauloises,” opines party-pooper Dan Weingrod. But what if they were blissed out on Calpol?

37 min: Space for Trippier down the right. His cross is no good. He’s still in moral credit. He’s got plenty of moral credit. “And yes, Dr Sawyer’s Prescriptive Spoonful is what I’d call my band if I ever got around to forming one,” writes 1967’s Phil Sawyer.


36 min: England are threatening to put some distance between themselves and their opponents. Kane, bustling from deep, slips a clever pass down the inside left to release Alli into some space. Alli thinks about crafting a curler, but tees up Lingard instead. Lingard’s in a lot of space on the edge of the D, but his gentle curler, aimed towards the bottom right, ends up sailing harmlessly wide.

34 min: Rebic is beginning to cause England a bit of trouble. He races down the inside-right channel after a crossfield pass, and is about to shoot when Young slides in to toepoke away. That’s a crucial tackle, because for the first time Croatia could see the colour of Pickford’s eyes. The resulting corner comes to nought.

England’s Ashley Young toe pokes the ball away from Croatia’s Ante Rebic.
England’s Ashley Young toe pokes the ball away from Croatia’s Ante Rebic.
Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters


33 min: Rebic goes up for a long ball, but only succeeds in clattering Pickford to the floor. A foul, but nothing more, and we all play on.

32 min: Modric shows in the final third at last. His baroque dribbles confuse England awhile, and then the ball breaks back to Rebic, who sends a rising heatseeker towards the top left. Pickford has his hands warmed for the first time this evening, but it’s an easy enough gather.

Ante Rebic of Croatia has a pop but it doesn’t cause Jordan Pickford any problems.
Ante Rebic of Croatia has a pop but it doesn’t cause Jordan Pickford any problems.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


30 min: How on earth has Kane not scored here?! Lingard slips Kane free with a cute pass down the inside-left channel. Kane opens his body to sidefoot into the bottom right. Subasic stops, but the ball breaks left of the target. Kane, from a tight angle, manages to hit the post, the ball ricocheting back onto the keeper, up and away! That was utterly absurd, in very many ways!

Croatia’s Danijel Subasic thwarts England’s Harry Kane.
Croatia’s Danijel Subasic thwarts England’s Harry Kane.
Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters
Harry Kane is thwarted again this time by the upright.
Harry Kane is thwarted again this time by the upright.
Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA
Harry Kane


29 min: Strinic, standing next to Perisic on the left, manages to pass the ball out of play while attempting to find his man. That’s dismal. Croatia really need something to happen to get back on an even keel, because they’re looking as nervous as England look confident.

27 min: Young hoicks it long into the mixer. Subasic, the box packed, does very well to punch clear at the far post.

Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic punches the ball clear.
Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic punches the ball clear.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


26 min: Strinic curls one into the England box from the left, but there’s nobody in black in the box. Sterling goes off down the left wing at great speed. He’s blocked by Lovren, who is really chancing his arm now. But it’s a free kick, and a chance to load the box. And you know what England are like at set pieces. “In belated news for William Davies, Actifed does the job,” writes Phil Sawyer. “I’ve no idea if it works on kids, but it does the job for me. Might be needing one of Dr Sawyer’s prescriptive spoonfuls by the end of all this excitement.”

24 min: This is a gloriously open, end-to-end match. Perisic sends a shot well wide left at one end; Sterling briefly threatens to dribble his way straight through the Croatian defence, but falls at the last hurdle. The England fans are giving it plenty, as you’d imagine; their team are in the ascendancy here.

22 min: Lovren shoves Kane in the chest, two hands, as the striker threatens to zip past him in the centre circle. It should be a booking, but no. England give up possession from the free kick easily enough. But then Subasic sends the ball out to Strinic, putting the defender in all sorts of trouble. Sterling makes off with it, and should shoot from the edge of the area, but instead pings forward for Kane, who is miles offside. And drags his shot wide anyway.

Harry Kane is shoved to the groud by Dejan Lovren.
Harry Kane is shoved to the groud by Dejan Lovren.
Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock
England’s Harry Kane misses a chance to score
Kane hits the ball wide from an offside position.
Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters


21 min: A loose pass by Maguire allows Rebic to power in from the right. He shapes to shoot. Stones blocks bravely, getting his defensive pal out of trouble. Then another phase of attack, as Vrsaljko makes good on the right. His low cross evades everyone in a black shirt, and England clear.



19 min: Perisic cuts in from the left and has a whack, sending a low daisycutter inches wide of the left post. Pickford had it covered, were it on target. It should have been a corner, mind, flicking lightly off Walker’s ankle, but Croatia aren’t getting the decision.

18 min: Rakitic attempts to release Vrsaljko down the right with a raking crossfield pass. It flies into the stand, but so little have Croatia achieved in attack so far, it’s theatrically applauded by his team-mate anyway. Croatia trying to keep their heads up.

16 min: Croatia are struggling to string two passes together right now. Vrsaljko, slightly frustrated, clatters into Kane. Not enough for a booking, but enough for the referee to keep it in mind going forward. “Kids asleep,” reports Calpol and Talisker’s William Davies. “Now what have I missed?”

14 min: England win another corner, Alli slipping a pass wide right for Trippier, who knocks the ball off Strinic. He takes the set piece himself. Maguire wins this one again, but from his position on the penalty spot, sends a downward header wide right. Croatia don’t look comfortable at all. They’re seriously rocking.

England’s Harry Maguire gets up well but can’t direct his header on target.
England’s Harry Maguire gets up well but can’t direct his header on target.
Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images


12 min: Alli, chasing a loose ball, forces Brozovic into the concession of a corner from 30 yards out. Maguire gets his head on the delivery from the left, but he’s pushing and the referee relieves the pressure on Croatia.

11 min: Maguire and Stones take turns to play loose passes out of defence. In both instances, they’re extremely fortunate not to give up possession and put themselves in bother. England will need to guard against over-confidence.

Harry Maguire of England passes the ball past the outstretched boot of Ante Rebic.
Harry Maguire of England passes the ball past the outstretched boot of Ante Rebic.
Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA


9 min: The corner’s no good. It should be easily cleared by Alli, who does clear, but only after nearly passing straight to a black shirt. England skitter upfield at speed again, and Kane very nearly springs Steling clear … but Vrsaljko does enough to get in the road. England are oozing confidence. They’ve sprung out of the blocks magnificently!

8 min: Perisic sends the ball into the England box from the left. Young miscontrols at the far post and concedes a corner. Croatia’s first chance to test England.

7 min: That’s a sensational strike. Croatia try to strike back immediately, Rebic hooking into the England box from the right. Pickford claims easily, and sets England away on another attack. Sterling skedaddles down the right after a long pass, and very nearly latches onto it, but Subasic is quickly off his line to smother. What a start by England! Whisper it: this is the way champions carry on.

England fans celebrate England’s first goal.
England fans at Hyde Park celebrate England’s first goal.
Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images


GOAL! Croatia 0-1 England (Trippier 5)

Kieran Tripper scores his first goal for England, and what a strike! He takes the free kick, whips it over the wall, and back down into the top right. Subasic had no chance! Trippier joins Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker as an English semi-final scorer!

England’s Kieran Trippier scores their first goal from a free kick.
England’s Kieran Trippier hits the ball over the Croatian wall …
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian
Croatia’s Danijel Subasic concedes as England’s Kieran Trippier scores their first goal from a free kick
And it flies past Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic and England have the lead.
Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Trippier is congratulated by his team-mates.
Trippier is congratulated by his team-mates.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


4 min: But suddenly England burst into life, Lingard spinning in delicately from the right to feed Alli, who is bundled over by Modric, just in front of the D. A free kick in a very dangerous position! What a turn by Lingard though. Evidence of the confidence running through this England side.

3 min: England get their first feel of the ball, Walker, Maguire and Stones taking turns to stroke it back and forth. Eventually Pickford blooters it long and concedes possession. Then Mandzukic leaps into Stones to concede a free kick. This match has started in the very tatty fashion. Understandable, no?

2 min: Croatia knock it around the back a bit. Lingard goes clattering into Strinic and earns a calm-down chat from the ref. Nothing major, the ref knows it’s just a bit of early nerves.

And we’re off! England get their third World Cup semi-final underway! Huge roars. It’s not long before Henderson bowls Rakitic over. A scrappy start. But what an atmosphere!

England kick off the match.
England kick off the match.
Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters


Hopeful fans back in Hyde Park, London.
Hopeful fans back in Hyde Park, London.
Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

Oh, and before we start … we’ll have words, but we’ll also have pictures. Clickity click!

The teams are out! Both sets of fans give the national anthems plenty. We’ll be off in a minute. Yes, this is really happening! “William Davies should just let his two toddlers watch the game,” argues James Beesley. “They will be asleep in no time. This will be cagey and low-scoring affair, I reckon.” If this is a seven-goal thriller, we all know who to thank.

Our man Kevin Rawlinson is down in Hyde Park, where some kind of World Cup based shindig involving a big screen is going on. God speed, Kevin, I hope you’ve taken an umbrella. He’ll be writing about getting soaked to the skin by beer later, but here’s an early bonus dispatch: “It’s filling up and, with 20 minutes to go till kick-off, the Lightning Seeds have just got the crowd going with a live rendition of Three Lions on the main stage. It’s coming home, apparently. Not sure if you’d heard.”

Also, if you can’t be bothered to watch the football tonight, you can watch a live stream of other people watching it, Gogglebox style, by clicking below. Now that’s meta media. Meta media’s always good, right?

St. Gareth speaks to ITV! “It’s the next game. We’ve prepared the same way we have every match. We know the opportunity that presents itself. Our preparation and mentality will be the same. The team have played well, and performed in the matches that matter. We have great options to change the game, whichever course it’s taking, but these guys deserve the chance to go again and physically they’re in good condition. Croatia have got some outstanding individuals, they are very strong at attacking crosses, they have great spirit and togetherness and we have to match everything they throw at us. Our mentality tonight is key: we have to have self-belief, but also mental strength in the moments when we are challenged and tested. We can feel the energy and support, but we have to disconnect ourselves from that because we have a game to play. We don’t want it to end here.”

The national anthems. Croatia first. Lijepa naša domovino is a pastoral delight. ♪ ♫ ♬ ♭ ♮ ♯ Our beautiful homeland / O so fearless and gracious / Our fathers’ ancient glory / May you be happy forever … Drava, Sava, keep on flowing! / Danube, do not lose your vigour! / Deep blue sea, tell the world / That a Croat loves his people! ♪ ♫ ♬ ♭ ♮ ♯

And now it’s England’s turn. We all know the words. All together now: ♪ ♫ ♬ ♭ ♮ ♯

God save our gracious Queen / Long live our noble Queen
Woah-oh / England are in Russia / Woah-oh / Drinking all the vodka / Woah-oh / England’s going all the way! ♪ ♫ ♬ ♭ ♮ ♯

Pre-match chat. “RTE here in Ireland are broadcasting from a pub in Galway with the extended Kane family,” reports David Flynn. “Apparently he’s more Irish than English. It could have been so different. We could have benched Kevin Doyle.”

Some bad news too for Jim Hobbs’s partner: “My wife wants to know if England will be wearing their lucky shirts. I didn’t know they had lucky shirts, but she says that they are the red ones.”

And finally an urgent request from William Davies: “Any quick tips for getting my two toddlers to bed by 7pm? Partner working, no babysitters for love nor money, so am desperate.” Calpol? It pairs well with whisky, they say. Bell’s, Grouse or Teacher’s, don’t waste the single malt on them.

A peek inside the dressing rooms. Croatia will be playing in their second-choice black shirts with dark-blue check. By the looks of it, they’ll also be talking tactics and watching a bit of telly.

Croatia HQ.
Croatia HQ.
Photograph: Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

England meanwhile will be playing in first-choice white. Just as they did in 1966 and 1990, so nothing gained or lost there. Bit of a shame to see the lettering on the pennant is printed rather than stitched, but then we are coming towards the end of a decade of austerity. That wood panelling looks really solid, though, and of the highest five-star-spa quality. So it’s swings and roundabouts.

The FA’s inner sanctum.
The FA’s inner sanctum.
Photograph: Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming home (reprise) “Even if England do go on to win the World Cup, further trophy-free years (of hurt) will no doubt resume at some point in the future,” concludes Dan Geary. “But at what point will it become acceptable to call them years of hurt again? The first number of years (of hurt) which contains more than one syllable (after seven of course, which is obviously far too early), and therefore scans properly, is 13, which takes us to 2031. The next World Cup after then will be in 2034, when Jack Wilshere will be 42 and too old to participate. But even then, is 16 years of hurt long enough to justify the complaint? Or would ‘nagging absence’ be more apt? I wonder what David Baddiel thinks.” ♫ ♬ ♪ Sixteen years of nagging absence / never stopped me dreaming ♫ ♬ ♪ It’s catchy as hell. If you’ve got a flat-enough singing voice, you should record it.

What does the selection of Brozovic over the in-form Kramaric mean for Croatia? According to our tactics guru Jonathan Wilson, it’ll liberate Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. Here’s his breakdown of where this semi may be won or lost.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Gareth Southgate has, much as expected, named the same side sent out to see off Sweden in the quarter-final. Raheem Sterling, consistently dangerous against the Swedes without personal reward, keeps his place and will flit around alongside Harry Kane. No extra help in midfield for Jordan Henderson.

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic makes just the one change from the starting XI he selected against Russia. Andrej Kramaric of Hoffenheim is replaced by Internazionale holding midfielder Marcelo Brozovic. Their big news: Sime Vrsaljko is fit, despite picking up a knee knock in the quarters.


The England players check out the stadium and soak up the atmosphere at the Luzhniki Stadium during England’s pitch inspection.
The England players check out the stadium and soak up the atmosphere at the Luzhniki Stadium during England’s pitch inspection.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins/Guardian
England fans inside the Luzhniki Stadium give a replica trophy a good luck kiss.
England fans inside the Luzhniki Stadium give a replica trophy a good luck kiss.
Photograph: Tom Jenkins/Guardian

The teams

Croatia: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic, Rakitic, Brozovic, Rebic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic.
Subs: Livakovic, Corluka, Kovacic, Kramaric, Jedvaj, Bradaric, Caleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivaric, Lovre Kalinic.

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Alli, Henderson, Lingard, Young, Sterling, Kane.
Subs: Butland, Rose, Dier, Vardy, Welbeck, Cahill, Jones, Delph, Rashford, Loftus-Cheek, Alexander-Arnold, Pope.

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).


Superstition corner. Croatia have got this far after two tense penalty shoot-outs, against Denmark and hosts Russia. A good omen? The only other team to have managed two shootout wins at a single World Cup, consecutive or otherwise, were Argentina in 1990, against Yugoslavia in the quarters and Italy in the semis. Croatia will hope they similarly reach the final.

As for England? They’ll be relying on the old saying that bad luck comes in threes. The English have lost their last three semi-finals in major tournaments: Euro 68 against Yugoslavia, Italia 90 against West Germany, and Euro 96 against Germany. So that sequence having been completed, a new positive cycle can begin. That’s how fate works, fairly and methodically, right?

England have the better of the head-to-head with the Republika Hrvatska. The countries have met on seven occasions since 1996, and England have won four of them. In some style, as well: a 3-1 friendly win at Portman Road in 2003; a 4-2 victory at Euro 2004 (aka the Wayne Rooney game); a 4-1 triumph in Zagreb in the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup (aka the Theo Walcott game); and a 5-1 thrashing at Wembley during the same qualification campaign. Some big wins there.

But there are a couple of major triumphs for Croatia, too, ones which left scars on the English psyche. They came home and away in the qualifiers for Euro 2008, results which ensured Steve McClaren’s side never made the tournament proper. Both games are painful memories for England: a 2-0 win in Zagreb best remembered for the Gary Neville backpass that bobbled over a divot and deceived Paul Robinson as Borat glared in the background; and a 3-2 humiliation at Wembley, Scott Carson’s mistake, Steve’s brolly, all that.

There’s been no meeting since 2009. This reunion’s been worth waiting for.

Rooney sees off Croatia at Euro 2004.
Rooney sees off Croatia at Euro 2004.
Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images

Croatia have only reached one semi-final before. But then they’ve only been competing in the World Cup for a couple of decades; England had a half-century head start on them. Their very first entry, for France 98, culminated in a third-placed finish: only Uruguay and Argentina, and Italy and Czechoslovakia, have fared better on their maiden tilt at a World Cup (as winners and runners-up of the 1930 and 1934 tournaments respectively). Portugal did manage third spot on their finals debut in 1966, but they’d been competing in qualification for years.

Anyway, I sense I’m losing you, so back to 1998, and Croatia’s semi against the hosts France. It was goalless at half time. After 20 seconds of the restart, Davor Suker put Croatia in front; Lilian Thuram was at fault for playing him onside. It didn’t take the French defender long to make amends. Thuram robbed Zvonimir Boban on the edge of the area, one-twoed with Youri Djorkaeff, and fired France level. Then after 69 minutes he exchanged passes with Thierry Henry and shaped a gorgeous winner. All that was left was for Laurent Blanc to become the red-card victim of Slaven Bilic’s grift. France made it to the final and went on to lift the cup; Croatia beat the Netherlands to that third spot.

Suker momentarily stuns France in 1998.
Suker momentarily stuns France in 1998.
Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP

It was another 24 years before England reached the semis again. They hadn’t impressed en route to the last four of Italia 90 – they were fortunate to squeak past Cameroon in the quarters – but our legendary reporter David Lacey retained hope before the big game against West Germany anyway. “England’s success has been a triumph of the will. The players have clung to the thought that it might be another 24 years before an England team had as good a chance as this. You have to allow for the possibility that, in a World Cup which has so consistently scorned the obvious, England might win.” The more things change, eh readers?

But it was not to be. In the wake of that night in Turin, Lacey reported how “England’s luck ran out when they deserved it most”, having “proved themselves the equals of West Germany and sometimes their betters”. Andy Brehme’s free kick deflected off Paul Parker and looped over a flat-footed Peter Shilton, and though Gary Lineker swivelled adroitly to equalise late on, Bobby Robson’s side lost their nerve in a penalty shoot-out. “A sadistically cruel way for any team to be beaten at this stage,” sighed Lacey. “A pity Lineker could not have taken all of them.”

Anyone desirous of reliving the whole bittersweet experience blow for blow – hey, each to their own – can do so with our Retro MBM of the match.

Franz Beckenbauer consoles Bobby Robson. Chris Waddle and Paul Parker trudge sadly in the background, wearing their West German souvenir shirts.
Franz Beckenbauer consoles Bobby Robson. Chris Waddle and Paul Parker trudge sadly in the background, wearing their West German souvenir shirts.
Photograph: Professional Sport/Popperfoto/Getty Images

England’s first appearance in a World Cup semi-final came in 1966. The tournament hadn’t been up to much, tell the truth, an orgy of violence and cynicism. But England and Portugal served up a match which, according to our man Albert Barham, “went a long, long way towards restoring the glitter to this world competition”. There wasn’t a foul until the 22-minute mark; Portugal committed their first offence after 57 minutes. When Alberto Festa slid into a tackle and cut up the Wembley turf, he went to painstaking lengths to replace the divot. Bobby Charlton scored twice from the edge of the box; the gracious Portuguese took turns to shake his hand after the second. Jack Charlton did a Luis Suarez on the line; Eusebio put away the penalty. England hung on to make the final, and then … you know. “They play with the heart,” smiled Portugal manager Otto Gloria after the game. “They play football as it should be played!”

Bobby Charlton belts England’s second. Geoff Hurst, having teed him up, looks on.
Bobby Charlton belts home England’s second. Geoff Hurst, having teed him up, looks on.
Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images


♫ ♬ It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming … ♪ ♫ ♬ … well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves: there are still 180 minutes minimum of nerve-shredding, fingernail-bothering, brow-furrowing, edge-of-seat-teetering, stomach-churning, hand-wringing, throat-shredding, palm-sticking, breath-restricting, bowel-rumbling, eye-moistening, sweat-pouring, mind-racing, epoch-making, potentially-life-changing football between England and their holy grail of the 2018 World Cup.

But to blazes with rationality! Clear your throat, gargle with honey vodka, practice your scales, and belt it out loud! As the great soccer pundit Deborah Harry once so nearly observed: dreaming is free, Clive. So grasp with both hands this opportunity to get carried away in the moment; giddy excitement is the entire point of sport, and if it all goes wrong later, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Enjoy every sweet second while you can, because possibilities like these don’t come around too often. All together now: ♫ ♬ Three lions on a shirt, the Fifa World Cup Trophy™ still gleaming … ♪ ♫ ♬

To a whole generation, this is uncharted territory. But England have been here twice before. More specific details to come, because goodness knows we’ve got plenty of time to kill before kick-off. But consider: Alf Ramsey’s heroes saw off Portugal at Wembley in 1966 without too much bother, and look what happened after that. Then 24 years later, Bobby Robson’s side were a penalty shoot-out away from defeating one of the great West Germany teams. England handle themselves at this stage of the World Cup pretty well, you know.

There, that should calm your nerves. That hasn’t calmed your nerves, has it.

England’s opponents Croatia are contesting their second World Cup semi-final, looking to go one step further than 1998. It promises to be one heck of a battle. But whatever happens tonight, here’s to English and Croatian fans coming together as one in the name of peace, love and harmony. Life’s too short for a mere World Cup semi to drive a wedge between us … even if a bench-emptying brawl erupts in the last minute of extra-time as a result of an outrageous VAR penalty decision. We’re all bigger and better than that, right? Right! On we go, then. It’s the World Cup semi-final! A World Cup semi-final involving England! A World Cup semi-final involving England! Oh me! Oh my!! Oh help!!! It’s on!!!!!

Kick off: 7pm BST, 8pm in Zagreb, 9pm at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

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Markets rattled as Trump escalates China trade war with tariffs on $200bn of imports – business live


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Markets rattled as Trump escalates China trade war with tariffs on $200bn of imports – business live” was written by Graeme Wearden, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 11th July 2018 17.20 Asia/Kolkata

Sir Alan won’t be passing the sugar to Trump at Blenheim

Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire Photograph: PA

Tomorrow Donald Trump arrives in the UK for a controversial visit that will be marked by protests in London, and a swanky dinner at Blenheim Palace.

Some of the great and the good of British business will be there….but it appears entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar won’t be wielding a fish knife in Woodstock tomorrow.

My colleague Rob Davies asked Lord Sugar to check his diary….

It’s not clear whether Sir Alan has nobly declined to meet the US president as a matter of principle, or simply been missed off the guest list altogether.

Either way, it means the two hosts of The Apprentice won’t be able to swop anecdotes about boardroom bloodletting.

It might be for the best, though. Back in 2012, Sugar and Trump clashed over plans to build wind turbines in Scotland, leading to this unedifying exchange:

Perhaps we’d better not let them get too close to sharp implements, and each other…


Chinese yuan weakens

Newsflash: The Chinese yuan is weakening, as anxiety over the trade war builds.

The yuan fell through the 6.7 mark against the US dollar in offshore trading, down from 6.65 yuan to the US dollar last night.

The yuan against the US dollar
The yuan against the US dollar Photograph: Bloomberg

The 6.7 point is seen as an important psychological point for the yuan against the US dollar — previously, the People’s Bank of China has intervened to prevent the currency weakening beyond this point.

It’s not just badger hair on the list!

The FT have spotted that human hair imported from China to the US could soon face a 10% tariff. Live eels, feathers and ‘beaver heads, tails and paws’ are also among the thousands of products facing new levies.

Trade war is reaching ‘point of no return’

Donald Trump is taking the trade dispute with China to the dangerous point where neither side can back down, argues Bloomberg.

They say that the new tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports outlined overnight could force Beijing to escalate the dispute (it’s either that or a humiliating surrender), which could have dangerous consequences.

China has seven weeks to make a deal or dig in and try to outlast the U.S. leader. President Xi Jinping, facing his own political pressures to look tough, has vowed to respond blow-for-blow. He’s already imposed retaliatory duties targeting Trump’s base including Iowa soybeans and Kentucky bourbon.

Yet matching the latest U.S. barrage would force China to either levy much higher tariffs or take more disruptive steps like canceling purchase orders, encouraging consumer boycotts and putting up regulatory hurdles. Not only does that risk provoking Trump to follow through on threats to tax virtually all Chinese products, it could unleash nationalist sentiment on both sides that fuels a deeper struggle for geopolitical dominance.

“It’s already past the point of no return,” said Pauline Loong, managing director at research firm Asia-Analytica in Hong Kong. “What’s next is not so much a trade war or even a cold war as the dawn of an ice age in relations between China and the United States.”

The trade war is coming to American bathrooms.

Personal deodorants, antiperspirants, bath salts, shampoos, eye and lip make-up, soap and manicure preparations are all on the new list released by the US Trade Representative last night.

So unless America backs down, these products will be around 10% more expensive this autumn.

Manure spreaders, shark fins, cod-liver oil, baseball mitts and bicycle speedometers are all also on the list of Chinese goods facing 10% tariffs.

So, weirdly, are “footwear of asbestos”…..

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, sums up the situation:

Stock markets in Europe are firmly in the red as President Trump outlined plans to impose a fresh round of tariffs on China. The US president has lined up tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as a way of showing Beijing he means business.

There will be a two month review process, and a hearing in late August. The threat of another round of tariffs has rattled investors, just as market confidence was picking up.

China will have to think creatively when it hits back against America’s tariffs.

Beijing cannot simply simply slap a reciprocal 10% tariffs on $200bn US goods, because it actually only imported $150bn of goods from America last year.

This chart shows:

In theory, Beijing could impose a higher tariff, to create the same economic impact. Or it could target the services sector – where America ran a surplus with China.

But if China does retaliate again, then Donald Trump could hit back with further tariffs. America imported around $500bn of stuff from China last year – giving Trump another $250bn of ammunition.

America could suffer economic damage if these new tariffs are imposed in September, says Cailin Birch, global analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

He explains:

The proposed list of $200bn worth of goods includes a number of industrial inputs and components that would squeeze US companies’ supply chains and ultimately raise consumer prices.

And this, at a time when US exporters (particularly of agricultural products and manufactured goods including clothing and machinery) will be suffering from weaker external competitiveness, as a result of the tariffs imposed by China–as well as the by EU, Canada and Mexico, as part of a related dispute.

In some areas, China will continue to rely on (now more costly) US imports, including soybeans, which will raise inflationary pressures in China. In others areas, however, China will eventually divert its trade flows and source these goods from elsewhere.

Russ Mould, investment director at stock brokers AJ Bell, says investors are scrambling to put their money into safe assets toda:

“Plans by the US for an additional $200bn of tariffs on Chinese goods has caused investors to lose their appetite for risk and seek solace in more defensive sectors such as consumer goods and utilities.”

European stock markets are not a pretty picture this morning, as trade war worries hit stocks.

In London the FTSE 100 is now down by 105 points, or 1.3%. The Stoxx 600, which tracks the biggest companies in Europe, is down 1%.

Mining companies are among the top fallers in the City, dragged down by today’s tumble in commodity prices.

European stock markets this morning
European stock markets this morning Photograph: Thomson Reuters

Trump’s decision to kick off the process of imposing tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods has clearly hit confidence.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, explains:

Things were going so well.

After four days of straight increases in US stock markets, mainly prompted by the looming earnings season which is expected to show a very respectable growth of about 20% this quarter for the S&P 500, stock markets in Asia, Europe, the US and most of the major commodities were plunged into red this morning, courtesy of the latest US trade tariff decision….

In commodities the board was also almost uniformly red with declines in Brent Crude, gas, precious metals and wheat prices. Worse hit was copper, trading down 3.2% on the day.

With China being the single biggest global buyer of base metals, frequently accounting for about half of global trade in the likes of copper, aluminium, nickel and zinc, investors were spooked by the intensifying trade tit-for-tat.

Not only will this be negative for China’s demand for metals but will also affect FTSE heavyweights such as Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton and a whole host of medium sized and smaller metals producers.

America is now conducting a two-month consultation on these proposed tariffs, meaning they could be imposed in September.

Paul Donovan of UBS points out that tariffs are actually an additional sales tax, as they make imports more expensive. He says:

President Trump once again prepared to lower the yoke of additional taxation onto the shoulders of US consumers.

Commodity prices are being hit hard today, with zinc dropping by 6% in Shanghai and copper down around 3.5%.

Traders are worried that these new tariffs will dent demand for metals, especially if Chinese growth is hit.

Which Chinese goods are being targeted?

A badger hair shaving brush
A badger hair shaving brush

The list of Chinese goods facing new 10% tariffs at the US border is long and varied.

Thousands of individual products are being targeted. I’ve just speed-read the list, here are some highlights:

  • Meat, such as frozen swine and frogs legs
  • Fish, including live trout, tuna, turbot,
  • Vegetables, such as butter, onions, garlic, fruits and nuts
  • Drinks such as malt beer, orange juice, rice wine
  • Various tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars
  • Building products such as gypsum and sandstone
  • Commodities including copper, nickel, lead and tin ores
  • Chemicals such as Chlorine, argon, oxygen, barium and mercury
  • Industrial products, such as metals, tires, leather, fabrics, wood and papers.
  • Consumer products such as electric lamps, mattresses, furniture, and camera equipment
  • Electronic kit such as TV components

More unusual products on the list include

  • Badger hair for brushmaking
  • Bovine semen
  • Dog and cat food.
  • Antiques at least one hundred years old
  • Postage stamps

You can read the full list here

Our Beijing correspondent, Lily Kuo, reports that China has heavily criticised America’s move.

She writes:

In Beijing, Li Chenggang, assistant minister at the ministry, said at a forum in Beijing that the latest US proposals interfered with the globalisation of the world economy and that China’s support for a multilateral trade system would not change.

An English-language editorial in the state-run China Daily that has now been taken down said, without mentioning the new tariffs. “China has no option but to fight fire with fire. It has to resolutely fight back while taking proper measures to help minimise the cost to domestic enterprises and further open up its economy to global investors.”

Another editorial in China Daily said, “If Trump launches an all-out trade war, the US economy and society may not be able to withstand the impact of countermeasures from China and other economies.”

More here:

Duncan Innes-Ker of the Economist Intelligence Unit points out that America is now targeting low-value manufacturing goods.

This could drive production out of China, perhaps to Vietnam and Mexico.

America’s new planned tariffs could have a serious impact on China’s factories.

China exports around $500bn of goods to the US each year. If these latest tariffs go through, then around half those goods will arrive with additional levies slapped on them.

That could hurt demand for Chinese goods in America, creating damage in China and beyond.

As Zhu Huani of Mizuho Bank put it:

“Given the magnitude and breadth of the tariff list, the impact is expected to ripple through supply chains and cause collateral damage on regional economies”.

Britain’s FTSE 100 index has fallen 60 points, or 0.8%, to 7630 in early trading.

Other European markets are also in the red, as trade war fears ripple across the trading floors again.

Chinese shares slide

The Chinese stock market slumped by over 2% after America announced it was targeting another $200bn of imports.

The CSI 300 shed 77 points to 3,390, back towards the 18-month low struck last week.

Asian stock markets today
Asian stock markets today Photograph: Bloomberg TV

Konstantinos Anthis, head of research at ADSS, says there is shock at Washington’s latest move.

This new $200 billion salvo would be a considerable step up in the trade spat between the world’s strongest economies and the odds of this dispute taking a toll on global growth are now mounting.

The European and US futures are reflecting investors’ nervousness and the gains seen this week are now under threat

The agenda: Trump fires new salvo in trade war

Shipping containers being loaded on and off at cargo ship at the Conley Shipping Terminal in Boston, Massachusetts.
Shipping containers being loaded on and off at cargo ship at the Conley Shipping Terminal in Boston, Massachusetts. Photograph: Cj Gunther/EPA

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

Global markets are rattled this morning after America escalated the deepening trade war between the two countries.

Overnight, Donald Trump began the process of slapping 10% tariffs on a further $200bn of imports from China, on top of the $34bn (soon to be $50bn) imposed last week.

The move is a significant escalation of the trade war between Washington and Beijing, further raising the dangers of a major economic shock.

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer announced that the US was acting because China had not heeded previous warnings.

For more than a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition.

We have been very clear and detailed regarding the specific changes China should undertake. Unfortunately, China has not changed its behaviour — behaviour that puts the future of the US economy at risk.”

The list of products facing tariffs is long and varied — everything from vacuum cleaners and TV components to bricks, tires and badger hair for shaving brushes (!) (I’ll pull together a longer list ASAP).

The move has been swiftly and heavily criticised by China, which said it was “totally unacceptable” for America to keep escalating the trade dispute.

Investors have also reacted badly, with shares and emerging market currencies falling overnight.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.1 %, while Japan’s Nikkei dropped by 1.1%.

European stock markets are expected to follow Asia’s lead, as economics warn that a trade war would cause serious economic harm.

The agenda

  • 3pm BST: Bank of Canada’s interest rate decision
  • 4.30pm BST: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney speaks at a conference on the Global Financial Crisis in Massachusetts


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Thailand cave rescue: all 12 boys and coach successfully rescued – live

Thank you God! 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Thailand cave rescue: all 12 boys and coach successfully rescued – live” was written by Matthew Weaver (now) and Helen Davidson (earlier), for theguardian.com on Tuesday 10th July 2018 20.13 Asia/Kolkata

Everyone out

The remaining doctor and three Thai navy Seals are now also safely out of the cave.

Elon Musk has been getting tetchy with Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, after he politely turned down Musk’s offer of help and said his mini sub was not needed.

“Even though their equipment is technologically sophisticated, it doesn’t fit with our mission to go in the cave,” Osatanakorn told reporters.

Musk suggested Osatanakorn was no expert on the matter.

The US first lady, Melania Trump, has praised the “amazing & heroic global effort” of the rescue. Is there a coded message there aimed at her husband who is not a great advocate of heroic global efforts?

Here’s a video report on the final rescue day.


“The incredible scenes we have witnessed are a model of international cooperation and coordinated selflessness,” writes Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore.

This story touches us because it is elemental, but also because every detail runs counter to the egomania and selfishness and fake bravado that appears to be running the world. The parents of the boys wrote to reassure the young coach that they didn’t blame him. Some say he had got the boys meditating in the cave. The Thai government has calmly insisted on protecting the boys and their families from cameras.

Thai TV has shown footage of an ambulance believed to be carrying the coach, Ekaphol Chantawong to the hospital in Chiang Rai. Here’s what we know about him:

Chantawong, 25, took his squad into the cave on 23 June. He was once ordained as a Buddhist monk, and since leaving the monkhood has spent much of his time caring for his grandmother. Thai news outlets have reported that the authorities have not ruled out charging him with a crime, but Thai government spokesman Lt Gen Werachon Sukondhapatipak told the Guardian that “no one is talking about that”.

Werachon said the coach’s presence had been a comfort to the boys: “The coach is advising them that they need to lie down, of course [try] meditation, try not to move their bodies too much, try not to waste their energy. And of course, by meditation, they stay conscious all the time, so their mind will not be wandering around.”

The parents of the boys wrote the coach telling him: “Please don’t blame yourself.”

“To all the kids,” one letter, written by the mother of Nattawut Takamsai, 14, said: “We are not mad at you at all. Do take good care of yourself. Don’t forget to cover yourself with blankets as the weather is cold. We’re worried. You will come out soon.”

Addressing the coach she said: “We want you to know that no parents are angry with you at all, so don’t you worry about that.”

The last three navy seals and the medic, who were with the boys for the last few days, are still in the cave. It is unclear when they will emerge, but they are said to be on their way out.

The weakest boys were the last to be taken out, sources have said. They are understood to include the youngest in the group – 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng.


The city of Chiang Rai is starting to party as drivers honk their horns, according to Reuters.

“This is an important event in my life. It is something I will remember,” said a visibly emotional Rachapol Ngamgrabuan, an official at Chiang Rai’s provincial press office.

“There were times when I cried,” he added. “Happy. Very happy to see all Thai people love each other.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said he would host a celebration for all of those involved in the multinational rescue effort.

“We will host a meal for all sides,” said Prayuth.

People react near a hospital, where the children’s football team members are being treated.
People react near a hospital, where the children’s football team members are being treated.
Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

What we know so far

  • All twelve members of a boy’s football team and their coach have been rescued, after being trapped in a cave in Thailand for 18 days. The Thai navy Seals, who have been running the operation, confirmed that all 13 were out. “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science or what”, the Seals said on their Facebook page.
  • The news has been greeted by global jubilation and the rescue workers have been lauded by world leaders. Donald Trump tweeted “great job” and Theresa May said: “The world was watching and will be saluting the bravery of all those involved.”
  • Three navy seals and a doctor, who had been with the boys, are expected to emerge from the cave soon. The four boys and their coach rescued on Tuesday have been airlifted to hospital to join their eight teammates rescued on Sunday and Monday.
  • Fifa has confirmed that the rescued boys will not be able to attend the World Cup final on Sunday as previously hoped. Doctors have said they need to remain in hospital for at least seven days. Manchester United have invited the boys to Old Trafford next season.
  • The final rescue operation began at 10.08am local time on Tuesday as the first eight boys, freed in operations on Sunday and Monday, recuperated at a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai. The authorities said preparations for the final rescue mission were unaffected by heavy overnight rain.
  • Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, a physician from the Thai ministry of public health, said the eight boys rescued on Sunday and Monday were “cheerful”. Two boys among the first batch to be freed, who he said were aged between 14 and 16, had shown possible signs of pneumonia and all had low temperatures when they arrived.
  • The rescued boys are being kept in isolation to avoid the risk of infection, but the first batch have been seen by their parents through a glass window. They are not yet allowed to eat the rich Thai food they’ve been requesting – so far it’s diluted porridge, bread, and some chocolate.
  • The office of Thailand’s prime minister has thanked the tech entrepreneur Elon Musk for his offers of help. Officials praised his mini-submarine but said it was not needed. Musk praised the “outstanding rescue team”.

Fifa has confirmed that the boys won’t be able to make the World Cup final on Sunday while they recover from their ordeal, the BBC’s Richard Conway reports.

Medics said the boys would have stay in hospital for at least seven days.

The last of the rescued boys are being airlifted to hospital as night falls over the area.

Volunteer rescue workers have been shown singing and dancing on Thai TV.

Amid global jubilation many are pausing to remember Saman Kunan, the former Thai Navy Seal who died last week trying to save the boys.

They include the Italian football team AS Roma and the Spanish royal family.

Bhutan’s prime minister, Tshering Tobgay, joins the international celebrations. “Hooyah!!!” he tweeted.

Man U invites team to Old Trafford

Manchester United has invited the boys to Old Trafford.


The BBC’s Howard Johnson finds an English football team angle.

It’s coming home.

Trump: ‘great job!’

Donald Trump joins in the celebrations. “Such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!” he tweeted.


The tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, who offered an unneeded mini-submarine to the rescue operation, has added his congratulations.

Angela Merkel’s spokesman has also welcomed the news.

Steffen Seibert tweeted: “So much to admire: the perseverance of the brave guys and their coach, and the ability and the determination of their rescuers.”

What a wonderful message #Thailand!

The celebrations have begun, but we’re still waiting for news of the three Navy seals and the doctor who were with the boys in the cave.

“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” says the latest Facebook post by the Thai navy Seals.

Theresa May joins the growing list of world leaders welcoming the news.

Just to recap:

All 12 boys and their football coach have been successfully rescued from a cave in northern Thailand after more than two weeks trapped underground.

“The 12 Wild Boars and coach have emerged from the cave and they are safe,” the Thai navy Seal unit said on its official Facebook page. It added: “Hooyah”.

Hooyah looks set to be the word of the year.

A new update from Thai navy Seals says we are still waiting for the divers and the doctor to emerge from the cave. “Send encouragement to them,” its Facebook page urges.

Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, was the first world leader to welcome the news. She won’t be the last.

What we know so far

  • All twelve boys and their coach have been rescued, after being trapped in a cave in Thailand for 18 days. The Thai navy Seals, who have been running the operation, confirmed that all 13 members of the Wild Boar football team, have been rescued in an update on its Facebook page.
  • Three navy seals and a doctor, who have been with the boys, are expected to emerge from the cave soon. The rescued boys are being airlifted to hospital.
  • The operation began at 10.08am local time on Tuesday as the first eight boys, freed in operations on Sunday and Monday, recuperated at a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai. The authorities said preparations for the final rescue mission were unaffected by heavy overnight rain.
  • Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, a physician from the Thai ministry of public health, said the eight boys rescued on Sunday and Monday were “cheerful”. Two boys among the first batch to be freed, who he said were aged between 14 and 16, had shown possible signs of pneumonia and all had low temperatures when they arrived.
  • The rescued boys are being kept in isolation to avoid the risk of infection, but the first batch have been seen by their parents through a glass window. They are not yet allowed to eat the rich Thai food they’ve been requesting – so far it’s diluted porridge, bread, and some chocolate.
  • They will remain in hospital for at least seven days. This mean they will probably have to turn down a Fifa invitation to the World Cup fina on Sunday.
  • The office of Thailand’s prime minister has thanked the tech entrepreneur Elon Musk for his offers of help. Officials praised his mini-submarine but said it was not needed.

The Thai Navy seals have confirmed the four “frogs” remain in the cave. These are a doctor and three navy seals who have been supporting the boys.

Confirmed: 12 rescued and coach

The 12th boy has been rescued and the coach, the Thai navy Seals have confirmed. “Hooyah.”


Report: 12th rescued

A twelfth person has been seen being carried out of the cave, a witness has told Reuters. Once again the Guardian is trying to confirm.

A foreign journalist has been detained for flying a drone near the cave entrance area, according to Thai media. On Monday the authorities complained that a journalist flew a drone above the operation.

There are also reports that some media have been listening to police radio reports. “This is really wrong,” said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.

Local TV says the tenth and eleventh boys to be rescued are about to be airlifted to hospital, while the ninth boy has reached the hospital in Chiang Rai.

Here’s footage of an ambulance taking one of the rescued boys to hospital.

Thai navy seals: ‘the Wild Boars will be reunited’

“Today the Wild Boar pack will be reunited”, the Thai navy seals confidently predicts in a new post on Facebook. “Hooyah!”

The time between getting the rescued boys from the cave to hospital-bound helicopters has been slower today, but the ninth person to emerge from the cave has now been airlifted to Chiang Rai.

Chanin Wiboonrungrueng
Chanin Wiboonrungrueng
Photograph: Thai Rath

There are more local reports that the eleventh boy to be rescued is Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, who at aged 11 is the youngest of the group.

Our guide to the team has a little more about him.

Titan, as he is nicknamed, has been playing football for five years. When he joined his school’s sports club three years ago, he was invited to play for the Wild Boars.

The rescued boys were given anti-anxiety drugs but not anaesthetic, the Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, has revealed.


Thai prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, was given a briefing on the operation by the man in charge Narongsak Osatanakorn.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is shown a map of the Tham Luang cave area
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is shown a map of the Tham Luang cave area
Photograph: Thai Government Spokesperson’S Office Handout/EPA


Confirmed: 11th rescued

Guardian sources have confirmed that 11 people have now been rescued from the cave.

Thai TV said the eleventh to be rescued is the smallest, assumed to be 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng. His identity has not been confirmed.

Reuters has a little more detail:

An eleventh person was rescued on Tuesday from a flooded Thai cave complex where 12 boys and their football coach were trapped for more than two weeks, raising hopes all 13 would be out by the end of the day.

A Reuters witness saw three people being carried out of the Tham Luang cave on stretchers separately on Tuesday, the third day of the rescue operation.

Report: 11th rescued

An eleventh person has been seen being carried out of the cave, according to Reuters. The Guardian is trying to confirm.

What we know so far

  • Two more people have been rescued from the flooded Thai cave complex on what authorities hope will be the last day of the rescue operation. A witness saw people being carried out of the Tham Luang cave on stretchers. They were the ninth and tenth to emerge from the cave since the rescue effort began on Sunday.
  • Seven people remain in the cave. The identities of those rescued have not been confirmed. If the adults are rescued last those remaining in the cave would be two more boys, their coach, three navy seals and a doctor. Narongsak Osatanakor, the head of the operation, said: “If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and three Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out. Four plus one coach, so it’s five.”
  • The operation began at 10.08am local time on Tuesday as the first eight boys, freed in operations on Sunday and Monday, recuperated at a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai. The authorities said preparations for the final rescue mission were unaffected by heavy overnight rain.
  • Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, a physician from the Thai ministry of public health, said the eight boys rescued on Sunday and Monday were “cheerful”. Two boys among the first batch to be freed, who he said were aged between 14 and 16, had shown possible signs of pneumonia and all had low temperatures when they arrived.
  • The rescued boys are being kept in isolation to avoid the risk of infection, but the first batch have been seen by their parents through a glass window. They are not yet allowed to eat the rich Thai food they’ve been requesting – so far it’s diluted porridge, bread, and some chocolate.
  • They will remain in hospital for at least seven days. This mean they will probably have to turn down a Fifa invitation to the World Cup fina on Sunday.
  • The office of Thailand’s prime minister has thanked the tech entrepreneur Elon Musk for his offers of help. Officials praised his mini-submarine but said it was not needed.

The Thai navy Seals have confirmed the rescue of a ninth boy with another “Hooyah!” on its Facebook page. It has yet to confirm the rescue of a tenth boy.

Confirmed: Ten rescued

Reuters has a little more detail:

A tenth person was rescued on Tuesday from a flooded Thai cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, raising hopes all 13 would be out by the end of the day.

A Reuters witness saw two people being carried out of the Tham Luang cave on stretchers. They were the first two to be taken out on Tuesday, the third day of the rescue operation.

Eight of the boys were brought out on stretchers over the first two days – four on Sunday and four on Monday. Officials were not immediately available to comment on who had been brought out.

Rescue personnel prepare the transport for the evacuation of the boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave
Rescue personnel prepare the transport for the evacuation of the boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave
Photograph: Social Media/Reuters

Report: tenth person rescued

Reuters reports that a tenth person has been seen being carried out of the cave on a stretcher. The Guardian is trying to confirm this.


The office of Thailand’s prime minister has thanked the tech entrepreneur Elon Musk for his offer of help, AFP’s Jerome Taylor reports.

Confirmed: ninth boy rescued

A Guardian source has confirmed that a ninth boy has been rescued from the cave.


Reports: ‘ninth boy rescued’

Both CNN and Reuters are reporting that a ninth boy has been rescued. Reuters cited an official with knowledge of the operation.

CNN cited two sources: a Thai navy source and a member of the rescue team.

The Guardian in trying to get confirmation.


Chefs anticipate this will be the last rescue day as they prepare a vast vat of stir-fried pork for the rescue workers, Guardian contributor Veena Thoopkrajae reports.

Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, has met relatives of the boys trapped in the cave. On Monday he was due to visit the cave, but postponed the visit for fear of disrupting the rescue operation. He stayed in nearby Chiang Rai where the rescued boys are being treated.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha poses with relatives of boys trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha poses with relatives of boys trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave
Photograph: HANDOUT/Reuters


AP says an ambulance has been seen leaving the site of the cave. But there has been no confirmation that a ninth boy has been rescued.

An ambulance leaves from the Tham Luang cave area as the operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park
An ambulance leaves from the Tham Luang cave area as the operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park
Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

We’re still waiting for the news of the latest rescue attempt. There has been speculation that as yesterday’s operation went more quickly than Sunday’s another boy could emerge soon. But overnight rain could have made conditions much tougher in the cave, with higher water levels and stronger currents.

Members of the media report from a hill near the Tham Luang cave area as the operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave
Members of the media report from a hill near the Tham Luang cave area as the operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave
Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

The tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has posted a new video of conditions in the cave.

He was politely told that a small submarine he offered rescue workers was surplus to requirements.

“Although his technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, told reporters.

Musk tweeted that he had brought the mini submarine – “made of rocket parts and named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team” – to the cave site, leaving it there in case it was useful in the future.

Here’s our latest report on the rescue operation:

Divers have entered a northern Thailand cave to retrieve the last four members of a football team and their coach on what rescuers hope will be the final day of the mission to free them.

The operation began at 10.08am local time on Tuesday as the first eight boys, freed in operations on Sunday and Monday, recuperated at a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai.

Torrential rain struck the cave site on Monday evening and the downpour continued through Tuesday morning, but authorities said preparations for the final rescue mission were unaffected.

“You have seen the rain so you might be wondering – preparation for the third operation has been under way since early morning,” said , the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.Thailand cave rescue: how are the boys getting out?Read more

“If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and three Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out,” he said. “Four plus one coach, so it’s five.”

Here’s a reminder of how the four remaining boys and their coach will be rescued. There are also three navy Seals and a medic still in the cave.

Thai cave rescue explainer

Even after completing the dark, treacherous journey from the depths of Tham Luang cave to safety, the rescued members of the Wild Boars football squad face additional barriers to resuming their normal lives.

Before the boys can enjoy a warm embrace with their relatives, doctors must be confident they will not make anyone ill.

Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, a Thai health department official, told the news site Kom Chad Luek there would be “no hugging or touching” until blood tests proved the boys were free of infections. He named leptospirosis and meliodosis – bacterial infections that can be transmitted through soil or water – as possible risks.

Hugh Montgomery, a professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, said caves presented a risk of tick-borne relapsing fever as well as histoplasmosis, a fungal lung infection commonly known as “cave disease”.

The policy of separation between the boys and their loved ones marks a departure from the initial plan described to the Guardian by a member of the mental health crisis assessment and treatment team at the rescue site. The original plan was to arrange for at least one parent to accompany each boy in an ambulance on the way to Chiang Rai’s Prachanukroh hospital.

Despite their ordeal, and the prospect of having to turn down a Fifa invitation to the World Cup final on doctors orders, all the rescued boys are mentally well, an official has told AFP.

“All eight are in good health, no fever… everyone is in a good mental state,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, told reporters at Chiang Rai hospital where the boys were recuperating.

Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk (centre) at a press conference on the condition of eight boys after they were rescued from Tham Luang cave
Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk (centre) at a press conference on the condition of eight boys after they were rescued from Tham Luang cave
Photograph: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

Here’s our latest gallery of images of the rescue mission:

Ivan Karadzic, a member of international rescue team, is full of admiration for the way the rescued boys have coped with the unprecedented operation.

Speaking to the BBC he said:

They are being forced to do something that no kid has ever done before. It is not in any way normal for kids to do cave diving aged 11. They are diving in something that is considered an extremely hazardous environment, in zero visibility, the only light in there is the torches you bring yourself. We were obviously very afraid of any kind of panic. Then there is multiple equipment malfunctions you can imagine.

I cannot understand how cool these small kids are … Incredibly strong kids.

BBC interview with Ivan Karadzic



Quite a bit has happened so far today.

The main thing to note, of course, is that the third and hopefully final rescue mission began a few hours ago, with the intention of bringing out all four boys, their 25-year-old coach, and the doctor and the navy Seals who have been in the cave with them. We’ll bring you updates as we get them about that mission.

  • 19 divers went back into the cave system at 10.08am, local time.
  • Authorities hope the mission can be completed even faster than yesterday’s nine hours, which shaved two hours off the total time of the first mission.
  • Conditions remain similar to previous days, despite heavy rains overnight.
  • From the information released about the rescued boys, it’s understood the youngest, aged just 11, as well as the coach remain in the cave.
  • Health officials say the first four boys rescued have now seen their parents – through a glass window – and will soon get to speak to them. The second group of four are expected to also reunite with their parents soon.
  • The boys are in good health, although two have “minor” lung infections, and all are wearing sunglasses after spending more than two weeks in near total darkness.
  • They are undergoing further tests, and have been kept away from TVs so as not to impact their mental health.
  • They are also not yet allowed to eat the rich Thai food they’ve been requesting – so far it’s diluted porridge, bread, and some chocolate.
  • They will remain in hospital for at least seven days, meaning they won’t make it to the World Cup finals, which they were invited to by the president of Fifa.
  • Elon Musk has shown up with his mini-submarine and left it at the site, but the rescue chief has said it’s not of any use.


“Hooyah,” the Thai Navy Seals have posted to Facebook.

“Today is 10 July 2018. It will be longer than previous ones. We will celebrate together! Hooyah!”


The rescue chief has politely dismissed the much publicised attempts by tech entrepreneur, Elon Musk, to help the mission. According to his tweets, Musk has spent the past few days designing and building a small submarine, ostensibly to help get the boys out safely.

“Although his technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, said a short time ago.

Earlier today, Musk tweeted that he had brought the mini submarine – “made of rocket parts and named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team” – to the cave site, leaving it there in case it was useful in the future. Four boys were already out at that stage, but the rescue mission for another four and their coach had not yet begun.

If everything goes to plan, by end of the day, no Wild Boars will be left inside the cave.

“You have seen the rain so you might be wondering – preparation for the third operation has been under way since early morning,” said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.

He said the first 19 divers involved in today’s operation were sent in around 10.08am, with more to enter gradually throughout the day.

Torrential rain overnight had not affected conditions for the rescue, he said, it was hoped the rescue could proceed even faster than yesterday’s.

“The first day we spent 11 hours, yesterday we spent nine hours, [today] we hope we can do it faster or the same as yesterday.”

“If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out,” he said. “Four plus one coach, so it’s five.”


Final mission under way

Thai authorities have confirmed today’s rescue mission began at 10.08 this morning (local time), with 19 divers going in.

Despite the heavy rain overnight, conditions in the cave haven’t changed much.

Michael Safi reports there was applause in the room as the rescue chief, Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, announced the four boys and their coach will be brought out in the one mission.

More to come.


While we wait for confirmation about today’s scheduled rescue mission, Michael Safi has addressed some of the frequent questions we are getting from readers.

Has the rescue started again?

That is unclear so far.

Will all five get out today?

Authorities have said this decision will be made by the diving team. “I cannot answer this question right now,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation said on Monday night.

“It’s down to weather conditions and our plan. We’ve set a plan for four but if we want to rescue five, those responsible will have to adjust the plan. We can’t overrule the diving team because it involves safety.”

How are they selecting the boys? The weakest or the strongest?

This question has also been left to divers to decide, specifically the medics on the team. The only hint Osatanakorn has given as to the criteria of selection boys is a comment he made at Monday’s morning press conference.

Asked which boys would be extracted that day, he replied: “The perfect ones, the most ready ones.”

He also said the boys freed on Monday were in “better condition” than those removed the day before – make of that what you will. Based on information from the health authorities, we can be pretty certain that the youngest boy – aged just 11 – and the 25-year-old coach remain in the cave.

“When [the first four] arrived, they went through all necessary health checks include blood tests, lung X-rays, heart, eye and mental tests,” said Dr Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, from the Thai ministry of public health.

The boys were set up with IV drips and antibiotics and given vaccines for tetanus and rabies.

“When the first group came, their temperatures were low,” he said. “Two of them showed irregularities in their lungs. One had a wound on the right ankle.

“[But] now they have no fever and can do their normal activities,” he said.

“For the second lot of patients arriving last night,whose ages range from 12-14, they arrived with very low body temperature, and one of them had a low heart rate,” he said.

“Doctors have treated the boys and now all of them are okay and cheerful. They talk normally. No fever. We’ve started giving them “medical food” this morning.”

The boys will miss the World Cup. Doctors have said they will spend at least seven days in hospital being treated after their ordeal, which means they won’t be able to take up the offer from the president of Fifa to attend the match in Russia next week.

According to a preliminary health check on the first four boys conducted yesterday, two had minor lung infections and one had a fever, doctors said.

Both were treated with antibiotics and were healthy enough to be joking around by the evening.

The boys have seen their parents through glass, but not yet been able to touch or hug them. The hospital hopes they can have a conversation with each other over the phone today.

The boys are still wearing sunglasses as a precaution after spending two weeks in total darkness.

Their diet has been upgraded from diluted porridge: they are now allowed bread and chocolate, their two requests on Tuesday morning. The doctors have emphasised that all are safe and healthy.

We’ll have further details about the boys’ medical conditions shortly, from our reporters in Thailand. Michael Safi reports doctors are setting up a phone line so the boys in hospital can speak with their parents.

From the information given by health officials, we are getting a clearer idea of who is out of the cave.

It would appear the youngest child, Chanin Wiboonrunreung, and the coach, Ekaphol Chantawong, are still inside.

The first four boys to be rescued have now seen their parents, and the other four will likely see their parents today, Michael Safi is reporting from the scene.

The reunification was from a distance however – the boys are in hospital and only saw their parents through glass.

Health officials have in the last few minutes provided an update on the state of the boys. The boys are generally health and safe, doctors said, but two are receiving treatment for “minor” lung infections.

It will be at least seven days before they are discharged from hospital.

The Australian foreign minister has flagged official recognition of the Australians assisting with the rescue effort once it is all over.

Julie Bishop said on Tuesday the workers’ priorities were on the rescue, but once their “extraordinary” work was over there would be thanks given.

“I am very proud that the Australian team have been able to play such an important and critical role in the rescue,” said Bishop.

“Dr (Richard) Harris, for a start, has been intimately involved in the health assessment of the boys.

“Our Australian Federal Police divers have been part of the daisy chain of rescuers. The Navy clearance divers have also been involved and we have crisis response teams on the ground.”

Dr Harris went into the cave to medically assess the boys ahead of the dangerous rescue dives.

Bishop said the Australian team – which included personnel from the Bangkok embassy – were working under the guidance of the Thai government and Thai Royal Navy. There were also several rescue teams from other countries, including the US, China, and Great Britain.

Last night, Gen Buncha Duriyaphan, an army commander involved in this rescue operation, said he had been asking the god of rain for three days’ reprieve to get the boys out.

They appear to have been granted two.

Rain has bucketed down on Mae Sai all night and continues to fall this morning in torrential quantities.

The extraordinary rescues of the past two days have been predicated on “perfect” conditions, including weather and water levels in the cave, authorities have said.

It is unclear if this downpour on Tuesday will complicate today’s mission. We are talking to sources at the cave site and hope to learn more soon.

There are reports that the Chiang Rai city hospital will provide an update shortly on the health of the eight boys already freed.

In the meantime here are some numbers, put together by the Australian Associated Press (and so are a bit Australia-focussed but I’ll work on getting some stats about other countries’ involvement):

  • 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach entered the Tham Luan Nang Non cave on June 23.
  • It was 10 days before they were found.
  • To escape, they have to negotiate about 3.2km of dark, narrow passages by swimming and using scuba equipment and wading.
  • It’s an 11-hour round trip to get in and out but divers have been doing it more quickly because many parts of the route are now drained.
  • Divers need up to 20 hours to lay air tanks and prepare the route.
  • So far there’s been one fatality – former Thai navy Seal Saman Kunan died while placing air tanks along the route.
  • There are 18 divers, five Thai and 13 foreigners, including Australians taking part in the delicate operation.
  • The number of Australians helping with the rescue operation varies depending on rotations, but up to 19 are involved.
  • The group includes six Australian Federal Police divers supporting the Thai Navy, together with a liaison officer and interpreter and Dr Richard Harris, a specialist in hyperbaric medicine.
  • A 100-strong support team is pumping out litres of water to stop more flooding in the caves.
  • Four boys were taken out on Sunday in 11 hours.
  • Four boys were taken out on Monday in nine hours.

Eight young members of the Wild Boars football team have been rescued after more than two-and-a-half weeks trapped in a cave in northern Thailand. In the second day of the long, complicated and high-stakes rescue missions, a second group of four boys emerged on Monday.

“We are so happy that today we could rescue another four kids,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, announced at a press briefing on Monday evening.

All four were airlifted to a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai. “Now they are fine,” he said.

Four fellow teammates and their coach, Ekaphol Chantawong, remain inside, with hopes that they will be rescued on Tuesday.

Authorities would not make any guarantees, but the next operation is scheduled to begin at 4pm local time.

We’ll bring you updates as the mission progresses. In the meantime read our latest full report from South Asia correspondent, Michael Safi, who is at Mae Sai.

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Eighth boy rescued as divers re-enter Thai cave


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Eighth boy rescued as divers re-enter Thai cave” was written by Michael Safi in Mae Sai, for theguardian.com on Monday 9th July 2018 18.37 Asia/Kolkata

An eighth boy has been rescued from the cave in northern Thailand where their football team and coach have been trapped for over two weeks, on the second day of a daring series of rescues that has gripped the country.

Sources at the site said the fifth boy emerged before 5pm local time and was leaving the entrance. Minutes later, an ambulance passed the media centre a few kilometres from the cave, followed by a helicopter passing overhead a short time later.

About 6pm a sixth boy was stretchered from the cave and was being treated in a field hospital, a source said.

An hour later a seventh had emerged with an eighth following soon after.

Divers at the site told the Guardian on Monday morning they were preparing to re-enter the cave where they spent more than eight hours on Sunday guiding four of the 12 trapped boys to freedom.

Officials later confirmed the divers had entered Tham Luang Nang Non cave at about 11am local time (5am BST). “At 11am we sent the second team,” said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.

He said the conditions that had triggered Sunday’s operation – declining water levels in the cave, the readiness of rescuers and the physical and mental health of the stranded boys – were the same on Monday morning and the rescue had commenced five hours’ earlier than expected.

“The factors are as good as yesterday [and] the rescue team is the same team with a few replacements for those exhausted,” he said.

The first boy would emerge between 7.30pm and 8.30pm local time, Osatanakorn said. Asked which boys would be coming he said: “The perfect ones, the most ready ones.”

An official from Thailand’s forestry department said water levels were still declining in the cave thanks to thousands of pumps operating inside and had not been substantially affected by the intermittent rain of the past 48 hours. “The water level is not worrisome,” he said.

Authorities declined to say how many boys would be removed on Monday. “Maybe after,” he said.

The Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said in a TV interview on Monday morning she believed the boys would be brought out in groups of four. This would mean at least two more operations.

The boys who were rescued on Sunday were strong and safe but needed to undergo detailed medical checks, interior minister Anupong Paojinda had said earlier on Monday.

“This morning they complained that they were hungry and they asked for khao pad kraprow [basii chicken with rice],” Osatanakorn said.

The freed children are yet to meet their parents, who late on Sunday night were yet to be told which of their sons had been evacuated.

Doctors quoted by Thai media have said the delay is to manage the mental health of the parents whose children are still inside the cave, as well as to ensure the boys can be tested for any diseases they might have picked up inside its dank, flooded interior.

Authorities said on Monday a medical team was assessing whether to reunite the boys with their parents soon.

“The medical team is considering whether to let closest relative visit them,” Osatanakorn said. “It could be a visit through transparent glass rooms. We are discussing this with doctors at the hospital.”

The freed boys would not yet be officially named due to “doctor-patient confidentiality”, he added.

News of the release of the first four children on Sunday was greeted with elation in Thailand but rescuers say there are still significant risks with a majority of the boys still to undertake the risky 3.2km (2 mile) journey through the jagged, narrow and muddy cave.

Preparations are also under way to manage the mental health of the boys once they are all freed. Students and teachers at Maesaiprasitsart school, attended by many of the children, have been given instructions to avoid “talk that hurts [the boys’] feelings”, said teacher Thongyaud Kejorn.

The boys will not have to sit an exam scheduled for next week, he added. “They will not have to follow the normal schedules.”

Kittichok Kankeaw, a teammate of Nattawut Takamsai, one of the trapped boys, said he would try to assist his friend to catch up at school. “I can help him with his homework,” he said.

Additional reporting by Jacob Goldberg and Veena Thoopkrajae

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Thailand cave rescue: navy Seals confirm four boys have been rescued – live


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Thailand cave rescue: navy Seals confirm four boys have been rescued – live” was written by Mattha Busby (now), Kate Lyons (earlier), for theguardian.com on Sunday 8th July 2018 19.25 Asia/Kolkata

The press conference is underway.

A round of applause erupted after Narongsak Osottanakorn, who is head of the joint command centre which is coordinating the search, said he had met the children.

He said their health is “perfect” and called today the “best situation”.

Another operation to free more of the boys will commence in 10-12 hours, according to the governor.

50 foreign divers and 40 Thai divers are currently involved in the rescue operation.


A helicopter flies over the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, around 50 miles from the rescue site, following two ambulances which arrived earlier.

The condition of one of the freed boys is being ‘closely monitored’ – local reports

The Thai news site Khaosod English is reporting that one of the four boys rescued from the cave is being “closely monitored”.

More photos have emerged of the helicopter landing, and taking off, at the rescue site and of ambulances arriving at the hospital.

At the cave entrance, a number of rescuers were just seen to be walking away wearing illuminated hard hats.

A military helicopter lands to carry some of the rescued boys.
A military helicopter lands to carry some of the rescued boys.
Photograph: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA
An ambulance arrives at hospital.
An ambulance arrives at hospital.
Photograph: Pongmanat Tasiri/EPA
A Royal Thai Police helicopter carrying rescued schoolboys takes off near Tham Luang cave complex.
A Royal Thai Police helicopter carrying rescued schoolboys takes off near Tham Luang cave complex.
Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters


Yet more ambulances are leaving the scene, according to sources at the scene, as a helicopter flies over the press centre to rapturous applause from journalists and volunteers.

A press conference has been called for 9pm local time, around 30 mins from now.

It is unclear whether the boys swum out, or if they were sedated and delivered by the rescuers.


The US president Donald Trump has suddenly announced that his government are working closely with the Thai government to help evacuate the cave.

He paid tribute to unspecified “Very brave and talented people!” in what is thought to be his first public comment with regards to the Thai cave rescue operation.

Earlier this week, Elon Musk announced that he was sending engineers from The Boring Company, as well as SpaceX experts, to the rescue site to assist authorities, with whom he had been in contact with.

Sources are telling the Guardian’s Michael Safi that the third and fourth boys to have been rescued are receiving medical examinations outside the cave, while the fifth and sixth boys are about to emerge – or indeed may already be out.


Up to four boys from a group of 12 children who have been trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand for more than two weeks have been freed, the Guardian has confirmed.

Sources in the diving team and the Thai navy confirmed the first two boys were freed late on Sunday afternoon and were airlifted to Chiang Rai city, about 50 miles away.

The Thai navy Seals Facebook page posted that an additional two boys had also been freed – the third at 7.35pm local time and the fourth 12 minutes later.

Unconfirmed reports are also circulating in international and local media that the first boy to be rescued was Mongkol Boonpiem, 13, while the second was Prachak “Note” Sutham, 14.


The latest photos from Chiang Rai.

An ambulance arrives at hospital.
An ambulance arrives at hospital.
Photograph: Pongmanat Tasiri/EPA
Rescue workers along the main road leading to the cave.
Rescue workers along the main road leading to the cave.
Photograph: Linh Pham/Getty Images
Rescue workers along the main road leading to the cave.
Rescue workers along the main road leading to the cave.
Photograph: Linh Pham/Getty Images


What we know so far

The Guardian’s Michael Safi is at the scene in Mae Sai and has been in touch to confirm what we know so far.

  • The Guardian understands at least two boys have been rescued from a northern Thailand cave were they were trapped with 10 other children and their coach for the past 15 nights
  • Those two boys were rushed by ambulance to a helicopter and airlifted 50 miles to a hospital in Chiang Rai, which they reached a little while ago
  • Some Thai media outlets and Reuters are reporting that four more boys have also have been removed from the cave in the past few minutes


Six boys have now exited the cave – reports

A senior member of the rescue medical team has reportedly told Reuters that six boys have now exited the Tham Luang cave complex.

Reuters and local media report that the first boys rescued from the cave have been transferred by helicopter to the hospital in Chiang Rai.

Here are several photos of an ambulance leaving the rescue site.

One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after the rescue operation began.
One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after the rescue operation began.
Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP
One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after the rescue operation began.
One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after the rescue operation began.
Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP

Four boys expected to ‘walk out’ soon – AFP reports

Lieutenant-General Kongcheep Tantrawanit has said another four of the boys are expected to walk out “shortly”.

They are currently at the divers’ “base camp”, inside the cave system, he said, according to Agence France Press.

“Four boys have reached chamber three and will walk out of the cave shortly,” he said,.

Another ambulance is going up, according to the BBC’s Helier Cheung.

It has been reported that doctors assessed the boys inside the cave on Saturday and drew up an priority evacuation list with the weakest to be brought out first, and the strongest to be rescued last.


A reporter at the scene has apparently been told by rescue teams at the entrance of the cave that the lowered water levels have shortened the journey out of the cave.

Many chambers are reportedly walk-able now, which would go some way to corroborating the Reuters report.

Further rain, however, is forecast later today.

A helicopter has apparently taken off from the vicinity of the cave complex.

Thai media are broadcasting live on Facebook.


The BBC has posted a video of an ambulance leaving the cave site.

Which is promptly followed by a second.


First two boys have been rescued, local officials tell Reuters

The first two members of the Thai football team have been rescued, a local rescue official told Reuters.

“Two kids are out. They are currently at the field hospital near the cave,” said Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai’s health department and part of the rescue team.

“We are giving them a physical examination. They have not been moved to Chiang Rai hospital yet,” Tossathep told Reuters.


I’ve just spoken to a source inside the rescue operation. He says mounting Thai media reports that at least two boys may already have been released are “not wrong”, but was unable to say more, citing restrictions placed on them by rescue authorities.

If it has happened already, that’s more than two hours ahead of even the most optimistic schedule set by authorities this morning – an extraordinary beginning to the end of the this saga.

Contradictory reports circulate regarding emergence of two trapped boys

Various contradictory reports are circulating regarding the emergence of two of the boys.

Reuters says, citing a local official, that the first two members of the Thai football team have been recovered from the cave.

ITV’s John Irvine says that a local police chief has just told him that two of the boys are out of the cave complex. They are apparently safe and reasonably well.

The Bangkok Post, meanwhile, says the first 2 boys are on their way to the entrance of the cave suggesting that they have completed the swim and are now walking through the chambers.

The Guardian cannot confirm any of these reports. If the boys have escaped, it would be at least two hours ahead of schedule.


Thirteen medical teams are standing ready outside the cave – each with its own helicopter and ambulance – one for each of 12 boys and their coach.

After an initial assessment at the site, there are plans for the boys to be airlifted around 50 miles to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.

A source at the hospital told Reuters that five emergency response doctors were awaiting the party and a further 30 doctors were on stand-by, adding that everyone was feeling tense.

Thai police officers on security for the arrival of the rescued youth soccer team and their assistant coach at a road outside the hospital in Chiang Rai province.
Thai police officers on security for the arrival of the rescued youth soccer team and their assistant coach at a road outside the hospital in Chiang Rai province.
Photograph: Pongmanat Tasiri/EPA

“The teams here are happy the boys are being rescued but also anxious about the severity of the boys’ conditions. We’re under a lot of pressure,” she said, under condition of anonymity because she was not allowed to speak to the media.

The area outside the hospital is cordoned off and police are patrolling the area. On the street leading to the hospital, vendors are being ordered to “keep off the road” and to “not obstruct the transfer mission”.

Thai police officers stand guard outside the hospital in Chiang Rai province.
Thai police officers stand guard outside the hospital in Chiang Rai province.
Photograph: Pongmanat Tasiri/EPA

There has reportedly been a flurry of activity near the cave with people being ordered to leave the sides of the roads amid rumours a high-ranking politician may soon be arriving.


Governor: ‘It is unknown how long it will take before the team can bring out the first batch of boys’

In a press release, the head of the joint command centre, Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn, issued an update on the progress of the cave rescue operation.

The operation began at 10am when 13 international divers entered the cave. 10 of them headed for chamber 9 (where the boys are) and chamber 6 (near the junction) as planned. Another 3 cave divers performed their duty to support diving efforts beginning at 14.00.

There are a number of additional rescue personnel including divers, from Thailand, USA, Australia, China and Europe stationed from chamber 3 to the entrance. This includes a rope system to assist over difficult terrain in chambers 2 and 3.

Due to the difficulty of the operation, Osottanakorn says it is unknown how long it will be until the first child has made it out – it had been suggested earlier today that the first of the boys could be out by 3pm BST.

Because of the complexity of the cave and difficulty of the operation. it is unknown how long it will take before the team can bring out the first batch of boys. The divers will work with medics in the cave to assess the boys’ health before determining who will come out first.

They cannot decide how many of them will be able to come out for the first operation.Based on the complexity and difficulty of the cave environment it is unknown how long it might take and how many children would exit the cave.


The boys are expected to now be swimming throughout the passageways in tandem with the cave divers.

A graphic published by the Thai News Agency illustrates the task ahead in what it calls the “cave maze-bottle neck”.

Renewed monsoon downpours above them have come and gone throughout the past hour, according to reporters at the scene.

Jacob Goldberg, who is reporting for the Guardian, says:

Earlier this afternoon, reporters working frantically under a network of plastic canopies at the Pong Pha sub-district office snatched their devices to save them from a sudden torrent of rain that streamed through the many cracks in the shelter.

Though normal in Thailand this time of year, each instance of rainfall puts a look of panic on the faces of everyone covering the rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the belly of the nearby mountain.

Fortunately, the worst of the wetness lasted only a few minutes, and work quickly returned to normal. It rained lightly for less than an hour, and now, the mountain and the area around it are dry, prolonging the favourable conditions that allowed the rescue attempt to begin this morning.

Rafael Aroush, an Israeli volunteer diver tells CNN that speed is “very, very important,” now, he says. “(There) might be crucial changes in the rescue operation (plan) and somebody will make a decision maybe to bring more of them out today.”

He says because the cave is limestone and there are many streams overflowing into the system, ongoing inclement weather could “destroy the whole operation.”


A plastic model mapping the mountains above where the boys and their coach are trapped has been spotted in a local government office.

Andy Eavis, former head of the British caving association, tells the BBC that the cave divers at the scene are “the masters of the profession” and have “the best chance of anyone on earth” at successfully rescuing the boys.

I should point out straight away from diving in caves is significantly different to diving in open water.

It was very important to get cave divers out there,veople who have the right mindset to operate in these types of conditions – low visibility, tight spaces and no air space above.

So they have got a team now of international cave divers and that is the key to this. They are the masters of the profession and they have been in these situations before. They have the best chance of anyone on earth at getting these guys out.

He goes on to say that “the only real danger is panic” and that if the boys get used to being underwater then they should make it out safely.

The word to avoid here is panic. There’s been a lot of positives like the fact the boys themselves did not panic when they were in the dark for nine days. They’re pretty cool, calm collected about it now. The authorities are not panicking and I know the cave divers are also not panicking.

When they put [the boys] in the water with scuba gear on, the only real danger is panic. If they can get them used to being underwater and breathing underwater they will get them out safely.


The first group of boys should be on their way back now.

Helicopters await to ferry them to the region’s largest hospital almost 60 miles away.

This graphic of the cave layout sketches out the complex more clearly than any other I have seen so far.


Veena Thoopkrajae, who is on the ground working for the Guardian, has tweeted a video of volunteers cooking food non-stop.

Some of that food is then being delivered underground to the boys and the rescuers.

Boys to be split into four groups – reports

The trapped boys will be divided into four groups, the Bangkok Post is quoting a source as saying.

It says the first group will have four people, with the second, third and fourth containing three people. The coach will be in the final group.

Jacob Goldberg, who is reporting for the Guardian, has interviewed Dr. Andrea Danese, a child psychiatrist at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, who has discussed the possible psychological consequences of the ordeal on the boys.

After a long time spent underground, the boys will be tired possibly mildly confused – almost as if they were jet-lagged – and likely quite emotional. Bringing them together with a parent will certainly be a positive experience. The mental health professionals could advise the parents on how to support their children in the aftermath of this scary experience.

The parents can help their children in many ways. They can comfort them emotionally by finding the right words to communicate that the threat is over, saying that is OK to feel strong emotions in the aftermath of scary experiences, suggesting ways of coping with those emotions, and importantly to bring back normality by using routines familiar to the boys.

Overall, this is clearly an unusual situation but we can think about the mental health of these boys based on work in traumatised young people more broadly. Many of the boys will have some emotional symptoms – they may be tearful, easily upset, and clingy. These symptoms will resolve within weeks in most of the boys.

A sizeable minority of the boys will develop psychiatric disorders, says Danese, who recommends the boys are carefully assessed and monitored for some time after they are freed.

A sizeable minority of them will develop psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or possible conduct problems and substance abuse. Therefore, the boys should be carefully assessed and monitored after being reunited with their families.

The assessment needs to be broad, considering all types of psychopathology rather than only focus on PTSD, should include a careful assessment of their risk for self-harm, and identify changes in functioning since the incident. Some children may have had pre-exising vulnerability to psychopathology, which should be considered in the assessment.

It is important that the boys who develop psychopathology receive evidence-based treatments personalised to their clinical presentation rather than general counselling advice related to copying with distress or interventions with poor evidence base.


It’s a “war against water”, according to Narongsak Osottanakorn, the governor of Chiang Rai province.

“It’s always been against time but that has become more and more critical over the past few days,” reports the BBC’s Sophie Long, holding an umbrella as monsoon rains pour down upon the area around the cave.

“The fear was that if they didn’t move now that the rain .. would gush down the mountain and refill the [cave] leaving the boys in an even worse situation than there were in, in the first place.”

Fresh oxygen canisters are being delivered to the mouth of the cave.

As the tragic death of “national hero” Saman Kunan proved this week, it is vital that there is the requisite oxygen to replenish everyone along the route out.

Rescue workers move air tanks at the Tham Luang cave area as operations continue.
Rescue workers move air tanks at the Tham Luang cave area as operations continue.
Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

The Thai government has published a graphic detailing how each child will be rescued.

Two divers will accompany each boy, who will wear full face masks as they are guided through the passageways by rope.

When facing a particularly narrow path the divers will release the tank from their back and slowly roll it through as they guide the boy through. This means that the boys will never be alone, as had been previously feared.

They will then walk from chamber 3, which has been drained to the extent that it is possible to walk in it, to the mouth of the cave that they entered on June 23.

Heavy rain is pouring down around a mile from the cave.

Meanwhile, the operation to drain the cave of water – which has seen millions of gallons pumped out throughout the past week – continues apace.

A Thai version of the possible solution mooted by Elon Musk is being tested near the Tham Luang cave, according to the BBC’s Jonathan Head.

Earlier this week, Musk said that an inflatable tube with airlocks could serve as an effective escape pod.

The Thai Navy Seals have posted a photo to their Facebook page which demonstrates how local and international forces have united in the effort to free the trapped boys throughout the past fortnight.

“เรา”…ผนึกกำลังทั้งทีมไทยและทีมนานาชาติ นำน้องๆทีมหมูป่า…กลับบ้าน

This roughly translates to: “we”… the seal is both Thai team and international team leading the sisters of the boar team… go home.



Officials are planning to send the boys to the Chiangrai Prachanukroh hospital, almost 60 miles from the cave, after they are freed.

A number of trolleys now sit by the main entrance in anticipation of their arrival.

Not all of the families approve that the rescue operation has been launched, it has been suggested.

When approached by a journalist who asked if all of the families have given their blessing, the governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, replied “No .. they know and the understand.”

Daniel Sutton, a senior Journalist with Network Ten Australia then asked, “Do they approve?” to which the governor reiterated “They know and they understand.”


Divers expected to be preparing the first boy for the journey out

It has been five hours since the team of divers went in to the cave complex and they are now expected to be “preparing the first and strongest of the team for the perilous underwater extraction”.

The Bangkok Post is quoting government sources who claim the Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-Ocha will fly to Chiang Rai tomorrow and arrive at the rescue site in the afternoon to oversee the rescue effort and to meet with the families of those trapped.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha speaks to family members of missing children and their coach.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha speaks to family members of missing children and their coach.
Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

It is unknown how he will be received with the popularity of the Thai military junta, who staged a successful coup in 2014, at reportedly all time lows. Prayut visited the camp last week where he spoke to families.

The last Thai general election was held in February 2014, three months before the coup, and the government claim the next will be held “no later” than February 2019 – in what was the latest delay to anger critics of the government.

I’m Mattha Busby and I’ll be taking over from my colleague Kate Lyons as 18 divers make their way through the Tham Luang cave complex to rescue the 12 footballers and their coach who have been trapped for 15 days

Just to remind readers just waking up in the UK, officials have cleared the 1.5km section between the cave entrance and chamber three sufficiently that people can walk along it.

It is expected that the first boy will make it out by 3pm BST.

It’s been suggested this morning that the Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-Ocha will arrive tomorrow to oversee the rescue effort and to meet with the families of those trapped.

Meanwhile, camera crews are camping out in the bushes near the entrance to the rescue site. It could be a bit of a wait, and we’ll be bringing you updates all of the way.


While details of the rescue team are still murky, a key player in the team is Australian doctor and diverDr Richard Harris, an anaesthetist based in Adelaide.

The civilian diver was specifically asked to join the rescue mission by the British divers who found the boys on Monday night.

He has worked at South Australia’s emergency medical retrieval service (MedSTAR) as an aeromedical consultant and has previously worked with AusAID in Vanuatu providing anaesthesia and intensive care services.

In 2011 he was part of the team that worked to retrieve the body of his friend the diver Agnes Milowka from Tank Cave at Millicent.

He has also worked as an underwater cameraman on National Geographic documentaries and feature films.

On Saturday, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop, tweeted that Australia was “sending a medical specialist with cave-diving experience to join the team of 17 [Australians] … helping Thai government rescue 12 boys and soccer coach”.


What we know so far

  • Thai authorities have confirmed that a rescue operation to retrieve 12 boys and their football coach from a cave in northern Thailand is under way.
  • At 10am local time 18 divers went into the cave to bring out the boys – including 13 international divers and five Thai navy Seals.
  • The former governor who is in charge of the rescue operation called the international divers “all-stars” and the Thai divers “five of our best”.
  • Water levels have dropped significantly since Saturday, and officials say that they are now at “peak readiness”.
  • Officials would not confirm if the boys would have to dive out of the caves,but said that water levels had dropped enough that much of the cave network was walkable.
  • It might take several days for all the boys and their coach to come out. The boys will be brought out one by one.
  • Officials said that they might stop and start the operation “depending on weather”.
  • The first rescued boy could come out at 9pm local time on Sunday.
  • The children are said to be in high spirits and “ready to go”. The families have been informed about the plan and have also agreed to it.
  • The boys were assessed by an Australian doctor who gave them the all-clear to make the journey.
  • Earlier today all media and non-rescue personnel were cleared from the cave site area.
  • The coordinator of the rescue efforts said rescuers were still in a “war with water and time” as monsoon rainclouds loomed over the north of the country early on Sunday.
  • The 12 boys and their football coach have been trapped inside the cave for 15 days, after they ventured into the caves on 23 June and got trapped by rising waters.
  • They were discovered by British divers on Monday night after a nine-day round-the-clock search involving teams from all over the world.

A reminder of some numbers:

The 12 boys and their football coach have now been trapped in the cave for 15 days, venturing in there on 23 June after football practice.

It has been more than five days since they were discovered by British divers on Monday night.

Officials have been working round-the-clock to pump water out of the cave complex and have cleared the 1.5km section between the cave entrance and chamber three sufficiently that people can walk along it.

It takes 11 hours for experienced adult divers to make a round trip from the entrance of the cave to where the boys are, and out again.

Eighteen divers – 13 international experts and five Thai navy Seals – set off this morning at 10am to begin the rescue mission. The boys will be brought out one-by-one and we are not expecting to see the first boy before 9pm today.

Our reporter, Jacob Goldberg, says that camera crews – barred from the cave site and forbidden from taking pictures of the rescue – are camping out near the entrance to the site, trying to get as close as they can to the cave’s entrance.

The divers set off at 10am local time. It is currently just after 1:30pm in Thailand. We have been told not to expect the first boy to emerge from the cave until 9pm, so as Jacob writes “it will be a long, wet wait”.

The Thai navy Seals have posted a photograph to Facebook about the rescue mission that five of their number have embarked on.

“We, the Thai navy Seals, along with the international diver team, are ready to bring the soccer team home!” they wrote in the caption of the post.

Five Thai divers, whom Narongsak Osatanakorn, the coordinator of the rescue mission, described as “some of our best” will join 13 expert international divers in a rescue mission to bring the 12 boys and their football coach out of the cave.

The mission could take days, with Narongsak saying the first boy could emerge at about 9pm local time – 11 hours after the mission commenced.

Thai navy Seals have been staying with the boys in the cave since they were found on Monday night and officials have spoken of the importance of having Thai-speaking divers, with whom the boys have formed a bond, as part of the rescue mission.

The Seals experienced a blow on Friday when one of their former members, Saman Kunan, who was volunteering in the rescue mission, died while returning from the cave where thee boys are trapped.

Veena Thoopkrajae who is on the ground working for the Guardian, reports that traffic around Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, which is where officials plan to send the boys when they get them out of the cave, has been closed.

The hospital is about 57 km from the cave.

Elon Musk has wished the “extremely talented dive team” luck on their mission, in a tweet that seems to indicate his involvement in the rescue efforts may have come to an end.

Earlier this week, the billionaire entrepreneur was approached to assist with the rescue mission.

Musk tweeted overnight that a team from his rocket company SpaceX in Los Angeles was building a mini-sub to help with the rescue, and that it would take eight hours to construct the mini-sub and 17 hours to transport it to Thailand.

However, after today’s news that the rescue mission had begun he tweeted: “Extremely talented dive team. Makes sense given monsoon. Godspeed.”


How the morning unfolded – in pictures

A Thai policeman stands guard at an entrance of the cave early in the morning.
A Thai policeman stands guard at an entrance of the cave early in the morning.
Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images
Ambulances arrive at the cave complex as media are moved out.
Ambulances arrive at the cave complex as media are moved out.
Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters
Journalists & non-essential personnel are ordered to leave the cave site and surrounding roads are cleared.
Journalists and non-essential personnel are ordered to leave the cave site and surrounding roads are cleared.
Photograph: Linh Pham/Getty Images
A journalist stacks up chairs up as she prepares to leave the site of Tham Luang cave complex
A journalist stacks up chairs up as she prepares to leave the site of Tham Luang cave complex
Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
Australian military personnel outside the cave.
Australian military personnel outside the cave. 13 of the rescue divers are international expert cave-divers.
Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters
Rescue workers are seen near the cave complex
Rescue workers are seen near the cave complex.
Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters
A US military personnel carries an oxygen cylinder at the Tham Luang cave complex
A US military personnel carries an air tank at the Tham Luang cave complex
Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters
Rescue workers move air tanks at the Tham Luang cave area ahead of the rescue efforts.
Rescue workers move air tanks at the Tham Luang cave area ahead of the rescue efforts.
Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images
Rescue workers arrive at the Tham Luang cave complex ahead of the mission to free the boys and their coach from the cave.
Rescue workers arrive at the Tham Luang cave complex ahead of the mission to free the boys and their coach from the cave.
Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
Thai Police stand in front of the hospital in Chiang Rai.
Thai Police stand in front of the hospital in Chiang Rai.
Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images


We understand that the Australian doctor who gave the boys the final approval for the operation is a civilian who has extensive cave-diving experience and was specifically requested by British divers involved in the operation.

He is now part of the rescue mission – though we are unclear if he is one of the 18 divers inside. Authorities say they are not approved to release his name and can’t ask his permission because he’s currently involved in the mission.

What we know so far

  • Thai authorities have confirmed that a rescue operation is under way.
  • At 10am local time they sent 18 divers into the cave to bring out the boys – including 13 international divers and five Thai navy Seals. The former governor in charge of the rescue operation called the international divers “all-stars” and the Thai divers “five of our best”.
  • Water levels have dropped significantly since Saturday, and officials say that they are now at “peak readiness”.
  • Officials would not confirm if the boys would have to dive out of the caves, but said that water levels had dropped enough that much of the cave network was walkable.
  • It might take up to two days for all the boys and their coach to come out. The boys will be brought out one by one.
  • Officials said that they might stop and start the operation “depending on weather”.
  • The first rescued boys could come at 9pm local time on Sunday.
  • The children are said to be in high spirits and “ready to go”. The families have been informed about the plan and have also agreed.
  • Earlier today all media and non-rescue personnel were cleared from the cave site area.
  • The coordinator of the rescue efforts said rescuers were still in a “war with water and time” as monsoon rainclouds loomed over the north of the country early on Sunday.
  • The 12 boys and their football coach have been trapped inside the cave for 15 days now, after they ventured into the caves on 23 June and got trapped by rising waters.
  • They were discovered by British divers on Monday night after a nine-day round-the-clock search involving teams from all over the world.


Narongsak Osatanakorn, the governor of Chiang Rai province, has said the boys are “very determined” and ready to come out.

“The kids are very determined and they are of high-spirit. All 13 have been informed about the operation and they are ready to come out. They firmly decide to come out with us.”

The childrens’ families also support the mission, he said.

The governor said the medical team had been rehearsing for the past four days.

“Any bit of confusion is not allowed. We practiced the whole day yesterday. I assure you that we are very ready in this mission.”

Earlier in the week, our correspondents in Thailand wrote a piece about the boys from the Wild Boars football team who are trapped inside the cave. The team includes Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, 11, the youngest in the squad, and left-winger Adul Sam-on, 14, whose English skills have earned him admiration at home.

You can read the full report here:

‘Today is D-Day’

As he announced the launch of a rescue mission to free the children, the governor said:

Today we are most ready. Today is D-Day. Today at 10am, 13 foreign divers went in to extract the children, along with five [Thai] navy Seals.

As we look at the weather forecast, a storm is coming and torrential rain is expected, then our 100% readiness will decrease and we will have to pump the water out again,” he said.

As for the kid factor, the kids are very determined and they are of high spirit. All 13 kids have been informed about the operation and they are ready to come out. They firmly decided to come out with us.

The families of the kids have been informed and they agree with us.

We’ve rehearsed [the medical preparations] for the past three to four days. We even practiced with a real kid – practicing the position of O2 tank and the marking … I assure you that we are very ready in this mission.

I ask you all to patiently wait for news and send support and wish them success.”

Our full story on today’s dramatic events and the rescue mission currently under way is here.


Officials have not confirmed whether the boys would need to dive during the mission, but have suggested that much of the route can be walked.

“Although there are some slightly difficult parts that we have to bend or crawl [in] we can say that we can just walk through,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, former governor of Chiang Rai province, who is heading up the rescue operation said of conditions in the cave.

“We have done extremely well as yesterday we were able to reduce the water level by 30cm, the record of what we’ve achieved.”

However, the governor was asked directly if the boys would need to dive and declined to answer, saying only that most of the path would be walkable.


The governor said that preparations, which have been ongoing for most of the last week, stepped up last night as conditions improved.

“At 9pm last night we started clearing many things because we have reached the peak point of readiness,” he said.

“The meaning of readiness is … perfect weather, water [levels] and the kids’ readiness, physical and mental,” he said.


Rescue mission could take days, says governor

“There is no time limit for the operation,” the governor said.

“It depends on the weather, it depends on the water levels. If something changes we’ll stop. But I expect the operation to finish within the next couple of days.”

Michael Safi was at the press conference that has just concluded and has this full report about what was said there.

Eighteen divers have entered a northern Thailand cave on Sunday morning to retrieve 12 boys and their football coach who have been stranded in a cave for more than two weeks.

The rescue operation commenced around 10am local time and the soonest any boy will be freed is 9pm, said Narongsak Osatanakorn, former governor of Chiang Rai province, who is heading up the rescue operation.

They will be removed one-by-one and the operation could continue until at least tomorrow.

The team includes 13 international divers and five Thai navy Seals. “We can say they are all international all stars involved in this diving operation and we selected five of our best who can work with them,” Osatanakorn said.

The boys and their families had been informed. “Their health and their minds are ready and they all have knowledge of the mission,” he said. “They’re ready to go out.”

He said the 1.5km path from the cave entrance to the “third chamber” that has been a staging ground for the operation was not completely dry but mostly walkable. “Yesterday the water levels were the lowest they had been,” Osatanakorn said.

He would not say whether the boys would need to dive at all in the 1.7km journey from where they are sheltering to the third chamber.

The press conference has now finished.

The operation could take three to four days, said an army spokesperson and the mission “depends on the weather”.

Despite this, the governor reported that all of the 12 boys and their coach are “very ready” to come out.

The governor will not confirm if the boys have to dive out of the caves, which has been a point of concern in the planning of the rescue.

The governor just said that today is the best day to attempt the journey “because most of the path is walkable”.

“International all-stars” and Thailand’s best selected for mission

The governor has said that the 13 international divers who will go in to the cave to rescue the boys are “all stars.”

“And we selected five of our best who can work with them,” he said.

It was previously reported that having Thai-speaking divers whom the boys have a bond with was going to be key to the rescue operation.

An Australian doctor assessed the boys last night and gave them the all-clear, said the governor. Once they are out of the cave they will choose the most suitable way to move them and have helicopters on standby in case they are needed.

A spokesman is speaking now and said they had been aided by lower-than-expected rainfall.


The governor said the earliest the boys would come out was 9pm tonight, due to the long journey from where they are located and the entrance, and they cannot guarantee the mission will be completed today, because the boys will all come out gradually.


Rescue mission is under way, governor confirms

The rescue mission has begun, the governor has confirmed at a press conference this morning.

18 divers have been sent into the caves to retrieve the 12 boys and their football coach. The 13 people inside the cave have been informed and are ready and their families have been informed.

Medical teams have been rehearsing for three days and are ready to treat the group when they emerge.


The governor said that the factors affecting the readiness for any rescue attempt are the weather, the water, and the readiness of the team the condition of the boys.

“Today is the peak of our readiness,” said Narongsak.

It is possible for divers to advance to the third chamber on foot. It’s not dry but it’s the lowest the water level has been, said the governor.

Divers have entered the cave

At 10am, 18 divers entered the cave – 13 international divers and five Thai divers.

“Today is the peak of our readiness,” said Narongsak Osottanakorn, a former provincial governor who is leading the rescue efforts.

The official also said that no shafts found by search teams in the jungle have potential, ruling out drilling as a possible way to rescue the boys.

“I can confirm we will wait until we are 100% ready until we start the action,” said the official.

The press conference has begun and officials have thanked the media for their cooperation, saying they need space to work.

“We will still maintain our planned mission and the two main obstacles are time and water,” the spokesperson said.

Michael Safi and Veena Thoopkrajae are standing by for the press conference, waiting to hear what officials have to say about this morning’s dramatic events.

In case you haven’t seen it, the boys and their parents, who have been unable to communicate for more than two weeks, have exchanged letters with one another, carried by navy divers.

“To all the kids,” one letter, written by the mother of Nattawut Takamsai, 14, said. “We are not mad at you at all. Do take good care of yourself. Don’t forget to cover yourself with blankets as the weather is cold. We’re worried. You will come out soon.”

She wrote to Ekkapol Chantawong, the coach: “We want you to know that no parents are angry with you at all, so don’t you worry about that.”

In their notes the children have said they want to go home as soon as they are out of the cave, that they are strong and not to worry about them. Many also placed requests for their favourite meals when they get out of the cave.

One boy told his parents: “Don’t worry, I’m fine. Please tell Yod to take me out to a fried chicken shop.”

Our stories on those letters are here and here:


For our full guide to where the boys are and how they might be rescued, click here.

A reminder of where the boys are and the difficulty of the rescue mission.

Though rescuers have been able to clear a huge amount of water out of the cave system, meaning it is possible to wade through the first 1.5km of the cave, parts of the journey are still treacherous and it is an 11-hour round trip for experienced adult divers.