From the Back Pages, November 20: Kevin Pietersen revels in Ashes war of words

From the back pages
From the back pages

Kevin Pietersen was in feisty form meeting the press today as he prepares for his 100th Test in the Ashes opener against Australia at the Gabba. Since arriving in Brisbane, Pietersen has come under fire from the local Courier-Mail newspaper which suggested the England batsman was “so arrogant not even his own team-mates like him”. (THE tIMES)

“Give me a 1-0 victory now and I would snap your hand off,” said Alastair Cook as he stared out at the patch of turf where he booked in for bed and breakfast three years ago. Raymond Illingworth said something similar back in 1970 only to be appalled to hear his tour manager, David Clark, one of the old school, say that he would prefer to lose the Ashes series 3–2 than win 1–0. There is more unanimity in this tour party. (The Guardian)

Oh well, at least nobody is going to be making bold, stupid, embarrassing predictions. It certainly did not feel like “bring on the World” last night. (The Mirror)

Sometimes words cannot do a deed justice but in Stockholm Sweden coach Erik Hamren filled the vacuum with a simple gesture. On seeing Cristiano Ronaldo tear out his heart with his hat-trick goal, Hamren turned away. puffed out his cheeks and slowly shook his head. (Daily Mail)

France crushed Ukraine in a pulsating match to reach the World Cup finals and avoid the embarrassment of failing to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in 20 years. (The Telegraph)

GERMANY coach Joachim Low has admitted he is keeping an eye on Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry with a view to including him in his squad for the World Cup at the end of the season. (The Express)

Barcelona’s injury woes deepened on Tuesday when tests showed that Spain playmaker Xavi had a muscle strain and winger Cristian Tello suffered ankle ligament damage in training. (The Independent)