Daily Digest: Joe Hart's World Cup dream is over and Jos Buttler's IPL form is rewarded

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Evening all, Matt Jones here, providing you with a bitesize look at what’s going on tonight.

TOP STORY

Joe Hart’s World Cup dream is over as he is left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad

0515 Joe Hart

Joe Hart‘s World Cup dreams appear to have gone up in smoke as Gareth Southgate prepares to name the England squad bound for Russia.

Months of speculation, scrutiny and intrigue come to a head on Wednesday afternoon, when the 23 men charged with taking on the world’s best this summer are revealed.

Their delight will contrast markedly with the disappointment of those missing out, with Hart – comfortably England’s most-experienced player – said to have missed the cut.

Read more on this here.

FOOTBALL

Making player rankings is one of the best ways to have fun as a sports fan. There are so many superstar players, but that mere fact is never enough – we need to know who’s the best.

They’re controversial, too, which is part of the fun. Unlike team standings, player rankings come with a fair degree of subjectivity, no matter what the stats say. And in any case, the best part about rankings is arguing over your favourite players.

Without further ado, here are our rankings of the top ten players across six positions in Europe’s top five leagues – with all the usual obvious names, surprise picks, talking points, and plenty of scope for debate.

Read the full piece.

CRICKET

Jos Buttler was rewarded for his stellar performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League with a return to England‘s Test squad at the expense of James Vince.

England’s new national selector Ed Smith announced a 12-man squad on Tuesday to face Pakistan at Lord’s next week, in which there is no place for Vince. There was also a potential debut for Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess.

Catch the story here.

REGIONAL

A callow Al Jazira must learn from their heartbreaking late elimination at Persepolis in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s round of 16, according to deflated coach Henk ten Cate.

The inexperienced Pride of Abu Dhabi headed out on Monday into the cauldron atmosphere created by a fevered 80,000-capacity crowd at Azadi Stadium with a 3-2 advantage from last week’s home leg.

“To lose like this in the 89th minute… we were very close,” said Ten Cate, who could have overseen the last match of his transformative two-and-a-half-year stint. “I think we did very well.”

Read more on this story.

FEATURE OF THE DAY

Kevin De Bruyne 4

Just how good is Kevin de Bruyne? According to his Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, right now he’s the best player in the game not named Lionel Messi.

Hyperbole? Absolutely. But not by much. City’s dominant season in the Premier League was a result of De Bruyne’s consistent brilliance in the centre of the park, a player so attuned to the demands of his manager and the vision behind a historic success.

The Belgian duly tops our ranking of midfield maestros in Europe’s top five leagues – see who else made our top 10.

Read Matt Monaghan’s piece here.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Cricket: Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders – 18:30

Football: Al Duhail v Al Ain – 19:30

NBA: Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers – 04:30 (+1)

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Daily Digest: Royal Challengers Bangalore keep IPL play-off hopes alive, Persepolis edge past Al Jazira

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Hello there, Niall McCague is here with everything you need to know in the world of sport…

TOP STORY

Royal Challengers Bangalore sailed to a 10-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab inside 10 overs in the IPL on Monday to keep their play-offs hopes alive.

Fast bowler Umesh Yadav picked up three wickets while another three fell to run-outs as Kings XI were shot out for a paltry 88 in 15.1 overs in Indore.

The Royal Challengers were not troubled one bit during the chase as captain Virat Kohli (48 not out) and fellow opener Parthiv Patel  (40 not out) secured victory in 8.1 overs as the entire match took less than 24 of the designated 40 overs.

Read our talking points here!

FOOTBALL

Thomas Tuchel has been appointed as the new coach of PSG on a two-year deal, the French champions confirmed yesterday.

The 44-year-old has agreed to succeed Unai Emery, who will leave the club after the final game of the season this weekend.

In other news, Roberto Mancini has been officially appointed as the new head coach of Italy.

CRICKET

In tonight’s match, the race for the play-off spots is on with the Kolkata Knight Riders taking on Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens.

In a highly crucial clash for the two teams, who are level on points (12), the margins are fine.

REGIONAL

Persepolis captain Jalal Hosseini struck a late winner to deny Al Jazira a place in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals on away goals. Read our talking points from the game.

Elsewhere, Al Ain boss Zoran Mamic is convinced his side can do the “impossible” and make the quarter-finals of the competition at the expense of Qatari hosts Al Duhail tonight (19:30). Read our preview ahead of the game.

FEATURE OF THE DAY

Read Aditya Devavrat’s top ten forwards across the top five league’s this season.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

WHAT’S ON TODAY

CRICKET: Ireland v Pakistan, Day Five, First Test – 14:00

IPL: Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals – 18:30

TENNIS: Rome Masters – From 13:00

CYCLING: Giro d’Italia – Stage 10 – 13:05

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Daily Digest: Barcelona lose thriller at Levante as unbeaten La Liga record goes up in smoke

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Hello there, Stuart Appleby is here with everything you need to know in the world of sport…

TOP STORY

First defeat of the season in La Liga for Barcelona.

Disappointing night: First defeat of the season in La Liga for Barcelona.

Last night, Barcelona‘s ambition of becoming the first team to post an unbeaten La Liga season lay in ruins following an astonishing 5-4 defeat by Levante at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia.

The hosts stormed into a 5-1 lead 11 minutes into the second half that was founded on the brilliance of Ghanaian Emmanuel Boateng, who plundered a hat-trick.

Levante, whose fifth win on the bounce caps a run that has steered them well clear of the relegation zone, capitalised on the double winners’ sloppiness with a succession of purposeful attacks that also produced two goals for Enis Bardhi.

Phillipe Coutinho inspired the inevitable fightback by helping himself to three goals, with Luis Suarez claiming the fourth from the spot, but the final breakthrough needed to maintain their unblemished record heading into the final match eluded them.

Read reaction from Ernesto Valverde, here.

FOOTBALL

Meanwhile, Juventus clinched a seventh straight Serie A title to continue their dominance in Italy despite labouring to a 0-0 draw at 10-man Roma.

The Old Lady bagged the point they needed to beat Napoli – who saw off Sampdoria 2-0 on Sunday – to the Scudetto with a game to spare.

The draw completed the double and saw Juve celebrating in Rome again, having only won the Coppa Italia in the capital on Wednesday.

It is a fifth title for boss Max Allegri – a reported Arsenal target to replace Arsene Wenger – having won four with Juve and one with AC Milan in 2010.

CRICKET

In the IPL on Sunday evening, Rajasthan Royals roared to a an emphatic seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on the back of the fifth straight fifty in the competition by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.

Mumbai Indians struggled their way to 168 for six which seemed well below par on a true surface at the Wankhede Stadium. And England wicketkeeper Buttler proved as much as he hit nine fours and five sixes during his 53-ball 94 not out.

Rajasthan Royals thus moved up to fifth on the points table and also pushed Chennai Super Kings into the playoffs.

Ajit Vijaykumar brings you more on the match, here.

Elsewhere, Pakistan quick Mohammad Amir suffered an injury scare during the first Test against Ireland in Dublin. Read more.

REGIONAL

Coach Henk ten Cate has declared “the big pressure” is on hosts Persepolis, despite Al Jazira needing to run the gauntlet at feared Azadi Stadium if they are to secure a landmark 2018 AFC Champions League quarter-final berth.

A fevered crowd at Tehran’s infamous 78,116-capacity venue is expected on Monday for this anticipated continental decider. The teams played out a rollercoaster first leg at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium last week, from which 19-year-old defender Khalifa Al Hammadi’s 96th-minute header earned a 3-2 advantage for the Pride of Abu Dhabi.

Read more from Matt Monaghan here.

FEATURE OF THE DAY

Sport360’s Niall McCague brings you the key talking points from the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona as defending champions Lewis Hamilton roared to his second victory of the season.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

Following his Golden Boot-winning success in a record-breaking Premier League season, social media was awash with tributes to Mohamed Salah.

Congratulations, @mosalah! 🙌

A post shared by Sport360 (@sport360) on

Golden Boot? Come here to daddy 😂

A post shared by Mohamed Salah (@mosalah) on

WHAT’S ON TODAY

CRICKET: Ireland v Pakistan, Day Four, First Test: 14:00

IPL: King’s XI Punjab v Royal Challengers Bangalore: 18:30

TENNIS: Rome Masters

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