In South Korea: the Luge World Cup from Pyeongchang. Pyeongchang will host an International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup for the first time this weekend, as mentioned yesterday, and in the ramp up to next year's Winter Olympics. Luge men’s and team relay contests will be bringing the competition to a close today.
In England: FA Cup Soccer: Fulham will take on Tottenham as Tottenham Hotspur make the short trip across London to play Fulham in the FA CUp fifth round on Sunday. The last time Tottenham won the FA Cup was 1991, but recent years have proven that nothing is predictable in UK Association Football. 1991 was their 8th Cup, but it has been a long droughth.
In Vile Bodies Evelyn Waugh wrote of the "Bright Young Things" who took control of the social season in London, and won the adoration of others like their own. The Hotspur has a bench full of skilled and hungry young studs, their own bright young things, ready to fight through the competition. Footballers do not develop at the same rate, but the early signs are at least promising for these up and coming players. Securing a top-four finish and Uefa Champions League football may be Hotspur's principal aim in the next few months, but they certainly have silverware in their sights, and another goal-scoring show on Sunday from their bright young things can help make that prospect become a step closer.
In Italy: Serie A Soccer: Senegalese striker Keita Balde came off the bench to hit a late winning goal as Lazio defeated Empoli 2-1, which boosted Lazio’s Europa League hopes on Saturday. Lazio remains in fifth place (a fifth place secures a Europa League berth) at 16 points behind Juventus. Empoli’s 13th defeat kept them in 17th, eight points above third-from-bottom Palermo and 6 points behind archrival Roma.
Roma, in second, has been embroiled this week in their stadium controversy. Despite years of negotiations and progress, their American owner was told this week he cannot build a new stadium (using his own funds) in a blighted section of the Eternal City, but instead the team must continue to play at the Olympic Stadium, which they share with Lazio, and various national teams, including Italy Rugby Six Nations, which took priority two Sunday ago. Roma can restore their seven-point deficit with a win at home to Torino on Sunday. (see bottom of post for video of a great Roma ggggggooooooollllllll!)
Fellow title challengers Napoli, two points further off the pace, sit third before visiting Chievo on Sunday. Lazio's Simone told Sky Sport: "We’re up there and we want to stay here... But the lads did well to pull it back and claim the victory." Today features contests between Bologna and Milan Inter, and Milan vs. Fiorentina.
In the USA, in NHL Hockey: Washington Capitals travel to the New York Rangers in a Metro Division matinee at Madison Square Garden, and the Detroit Red Wings travel to the Pittsburgh Penguins in an Eastern Conference face-off at PPG Paints Arena.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach. The two fastest drivers earn front-row starting positions next Sunday. Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevy) and Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota) were last year's top qualifiers at over 196 MPH.
The NBA All Star Game from New Orleans. The National Basketball Association's superstars take center stage in their 66th midseason showcase, the All-Star Game, at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. West center Anthony Davis starts from the hometown Pelicans alongside Kevin Durant and James Harden. The East features 13-timeAll-Star LeBron James and first-timer Giannis Antetokounmpo, the first Milwaukee Bucks' All-Star since 2004. Russell Westbrook, All-Star MVP last year, comes off the bench for the West, while Kyle Lowry can join starter and Raptors teammate DeMar DeRozan in the East backcourt.West center Anthony Davis starts from the hometown Pelicans, while the East features LeBron James and first-timer Giannis Antetokounmpo.
|India's Shreyas Iyer|
Cricket takes center stage in many countries this week, today with several ODI and Twenty20 competitions, and Test Cricket heating up during the week. In ODI action today, New Zealand will take on South Africa in their first ODI today at Hamilton. Zimbabwe takes on Afghanistan in their second ODI later today in Harare. in T20I action, Australian will host Sri Lanka at Geelong. Pakistan Super League play hosts an exciting competition as the Karachi Kings and the Peshawar Zalmi meet at Sharjah. Unfortunately, two Pakistani batsmen have been charged with corruption, fixing games, including standout Sharjeel Khan. Khalid Latif has also been accused.
Australia will play a four-match Test series against India with the first Test scheduled to start in Pune from February 23. Indranil Mukherjee. With Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood rested, Australia hopes to play strongly, but last week their three-day practice cricket match at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai did not go their way. You have to go all the way back to October 2004 for the last Australia Test win on Indian soil, and no matter how well they bowl, the series will be decided by the manner in which their batsmen cope against the Indian threat.
Meanwhile, in the USA, the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues are in action once again, with the beginning of Major League Baseball's Spring Training.