Sometimes sport is at its most tense when it is at its most still – in those micro‑lulls before world title fights as the protagonists coil in their corners, awaiting the bell, and adrenaline and testosterone races through the crowd like white water; between the purse of a referee’s lips and the first step in a shootout; before the starter’s pistol shatters the hush of an Olympic 100m final; and, yes, when the world chess champion is hunched over the board, brain scurrying back and forth through innumerable tunnels of calculation looking for a clear path to victory.
Odd little memories stand out crystal clear from the great mêlée of Saturday’s match, which was otherwise one long blur of flying bodies, boots and balls, reset scrums, rolling substitutions, red and yellow cards.
One more rose-tinted victory against Australia on Saturday will make this, statistically, the most impressive calendar year in English rugby history.
José Mourinho is facing a third touchline ban in little more than a year after being sent to the stands for the third time in 20 Premier League matches during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Crystal Palace co-owners will need to see evidence that Alan Pardew is willing to make radical changes to his own approach and to gauge the players’ reaction in training this week before determining whether he still has a future as manager of the ailing London club.
Crystal Palace are braced to be without their player of the year, Wilfried Zaha, for up to five weeks in the new year after the twice-capped England international expressed his intention to declare for Ivory Coast before the Africa Cup of Nations.
Arsenal right-back suffers yet another injury.
The first of many for Brendan Rodgers at Celtic? It certainly seems like the beginning of an era.
Colorado Rapids lost 1-0 at home to Seattle Sounders FC to surrender Major League Soccer's Western Conference Final 3-1 on aggregate.
Steven Gerrard has said the chance to begin his managerial career with MK Dons came “a bit soon” to take up the challenge.
Manchester City are through to the Champions League last 16 with a match to spare though Pep Guardiola had to use four separate defensive units to ensure the required draw.
The sense of deflation which grumbled around the majority of supporters left in this arena at the final whistle told its own story.