Buffon's Serie A prize balm for Finals pain
MILAN • Italian football legend Gianluigi Buffon eased some of his World Cup heartache by winning the Serie A Best Player of the Year award at the Gran Gala del Calcio Awards in Milan.
Napoli's Maurizio Sarri was named the best coach in the Italian football awards.
Buffon quit international football last month as four-time champions Italy sensationally missed out on their first World Cup Finals in 60 years after a play-off defeat by Sweden. He has also said he will retire at the end of this season, unless his club Juventus win the Champions League title.
Pizzi going to Finals after all - with Saudis
BANGKOK• Juan Antonio Pizzi, who resigned after failing to steer Chile to the World Cup Finals, will still show up in Russia next year for football's showpiece - as head coach of Saudi Arabia, sources at the country's federation told Reuters.
Spaniard Pizzi replaced Argentinian Edgardo Bauza and would represent Saudi Arabia at the World Cup draw in Moscow on Friday, it added.
Strauss cracks whip as England regroup
SYDNEY • England cricket chief Andrew Strauss has slapped a midnight curfew on his players on the Ashes tour, reports said yesterday.
The move followed Jonny Bairstow's headbutt of Cameron Bancroft in a Perth bar late last month, which only came to light over the weekend and has dominated headlines. There is also sensitivity within the camp about off-field behaviour after the controversy surrounding suspended star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is facing a police inquiry into a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
Grizzlies coach axed after 8 straight losses
LOS ANGELES • National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise Memphis Grizzlies fired head coach David Fizdale and named J.B. Bickerstaff as his interim replacement on Monday.
Memphis are in the midst of an eight-game NBA losing streak.