England’s Footballers were boosted in their preparations for next summer’s European Championship with a 1-0 friendly victory over defending champions and World Cup holders Spain at Wembley. Spain dominated but could not break through and stand-in captain Frank Lampard’s 49th-minute header from close range proved decisive.
Wales also had a good result, beating Norway 4-1 in Cardiff thanks to Sam Vokes’ brace plus goals from Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy. Scotland won 2-1 in Cyprus courtesy of great finishes from Kenny Miller and Jamie Mackie.
The Republic of Ireland are almost certain to join England at Euro 2012 after winning the first leg of their qualifying play-off 4-0 in Estonia. The second leg is on Tuesday.
Keith Andrews headed the Republic into the lead and the visitors took advantage of Andrei Stepanov’s red card as Jonathan Walters nodded in and Robbie Keane grabbed a brace either side of Raio Piiroja being sent off.
Lewis Hamilton won Formula One’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after world champion Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire on the first lap. Hamilton started second behind Vettel, who suffered a puncture at the second corner. Fernando Alonso pushed Hamilton hard but to no avail and Jenson Button finished third.
England qualified for Rugby League’s Four Nations final thanks to an impressive 28-6 win over world champions New Zealand in Hull. Tries from Tom Briscoe and Ryan Hall put the hosts ahead and, although Jason Nightingale pulled one back, further touchdowns for James Graham and Sam Tomkins secured victory.
In Saturday’s showpiece at Elland Road England will play Australia, who had already qualified and came from 8-0 down to thrash Wales 56-14 in Wrexham.
Rugby Union’s European Cup began with wins for Harlequins, Cardiff Blues, Leicester, Edinburgh, Munster, Ospreys, Scarlets, Ulster, Glasgow, Saracens and Toulouse. Montpellier and Leinster drew 16-16.
In Cricket, former Somerset captain Peter Roebuck died aged 55. The player turned journalist took his life in a Cape Town hotel, local police announced. The opening batsman played for Somerset in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, a period when they won five trophies in as many years.