Guus Hiddink, the former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Netherlands head coach, announced his retirement at the age of 74.

Hiddink declared in a television interview that he had decided to quit as boss of Curacao and would not return to football.

The Dutch great told SBS 6: "Lately, with COVID, I haven't worked much. Coincidentally I was talking with the president of the Curacao federation and we came to the conclusion it was better that I stop for a while, because they are going in a new direction.

"But I'm going to stop totally. Am I going to do a Advocaat. No, no."

That was a reference to his fellow veteran coach Dick Advocaat, who was expected to retire after leaving Eredivisie giants Feyenoord last season but instead took on the job of coaching Asian nation Iraq.

Hiddink began his career at PSV and had two spells with the Eindhoven club, from 1987 to 1990 and 2002 to 2006, winning three Eredivisie titles in each successful stint.

His PSV side won the old European Cup in 1988, beating Benfica on penalties in Stuttgart following a goalless draw, clinching a treble after already landing the domestic league and cup titles.

He twice led teams to World Cup semi-finals – the Netherlands in 1998 and South Korea in 2002 – and helped Australia reach the second round of the 2006 tournament.

His Russia team reached the Euro 2008 semi-finals, where they lost 3-0 to Spain, and he had his first short spell as Chelsea interim manager while still in that national team job, helping the Blues win the 2009 FA Cup.

Hiddink was not a success at Madrid, failing to complete the 1998-99 season before he was sacked. He managed one trophy while at the Santiago Bernabeu, helping Madrid beat Vasco da Gama in the Intercontinental Cup.

A long career as a head coach also took in jobs at Valencia, Real Betis, Turkey, Fenerbahce and Anzhi Makhachkala.

Hiddink had a brief and unsuccessful second stint as Netherlands boss, then succeeded Jose Mourinho at Chelsea in December 2015 and helped the team recover from a shocking start to their title defence season, but that was just a half-season tenure.

A year as China Under-21 coach followed, and then the curtailed spell as Curacao boss, his final act, barring a change of heart.

Rhyan Grant scored his first international goal as Australia sealed a 10th consecutive World Cup qualifying win with a 1-0 victory over Vietnam.

The defender nodded home in the 43rd minute after Ajdin Hrustic's searching cross picked him out at the back post.

It maintained the Socceroos' perfect qualifying record on the road to Qatar 2022.

Grant was an unlikely match-winner, opening his account on the occasion of his 14th cap with what proved to be the visitors' only shot on target at an empty My Dinh Stadium.

Despite appearing a little shot-shy on this outing, Graham Arnold's men have scored 32 goals in their winning streak, while Tuesday's clean sheet means they have conceded only twice.

Arnold's men resume their qualifying campaign with games against Oman and Japan next month.

Ian Foster and Dave Rennie backed the law change over red cards in the Rugby Championship after New Zealand completed a Bledisloe Cup sweep over Australia on Sunday.

Jordie Barrett scored the game's opening try in Perth, setting New Zealand on the way to a 38-21 triumph that means they have won all three Tests against their trans-Tasman rivals this year.

However, the full-back did not last long after scoring, dismissed for dangerous play after catching Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete in the face with a boot while catching a high ball.

All Blacks boss Foster felt the decision to send off Barrett was a little harsh, particularly as it could lead to a suspension that has an impact on the rest of the Championship campaign.

"I was pretty surprised to be honest [that he got the red card]," Foster told the media. "We'll go and have a good look at it, but certainly we'll be putting together a case for that one.

"He just lost balance and you could see he tilted and you could see what happened.

"I feel for the refs in situations like this, because technically they saw things and they make their decisions. I get all that. Have we got a technique problem? No."

While Barrett did not feature again, the tournament is experimenting with a ruling where players who have been sent off can be replaced by a substitute after a 20-minute period.

The initiative allowed the All Blacks to be back at full strength early in the second half, by which time they were comfortably in charge of proceedings.

"It's why all the SANZAAR countries were pretty united in wanting to carry on this global trial," Foster said of the trial.

"It's easy to ask me my opinion because we were the ones on the end of it, so we probably benefited by only having a 20-minute red card. I get that.

"But we were keen supporters of that even before the game and today probably justifies that."

Wallabies head coach Rennie felt the red card was the right call, even if Barrett had not been malicious in making contact with Koroibete, but also backed the initiative on trial.

The hosts still trailed 18-0 at half-time and while they did cross three times after the break, New Zealand eased clear to claim a bonus-point victory that puts them top of the table after two rounds.

"I think it's good that we have a 20-minute red card at the moment, because it's certainly not malicious," Rennie said.

"But based on law, when you field a ball, kick your foot out and hit someone in the head, there's going to be repercussions for that. So, I think the decision is probably accurate, and the fact it's only 20 minutes is a good thing."

New Zealand cruised to a Bledisloe Cup clean sweep in 2021 thanks to a 38-21 victory over Australia in Perth, despite the first-half dismissal of Jordie Barrett. 

The All Blacks had lost 47-26 on their previous trip to Optus Stadium in August 2019 but there was to be no repeat result for the Wallabies, who had already lost twice to their trans-Tasman rivals in Auckland last month. 

Beauden Barrett kicked a pair of penalties to make it 6-0 to the visitors before putting his boot to good use in open play too, a clever grubber creating the chance for brother Jordie Barrett to get the opening try of the game. 

However, the full-back's involvement in the contest only lasted a further 12 minutes. Claiming a high ball, he caught Marika Koroibete in the face with an outstretched boot while still in the air, leading to a contentious red card for dangerous contact with the head. 

Despite being down to 14, New Zealand extended their lead before the break to 18-0 when David Havili grabbed the first of his two tries, the other coming just after the hour mark as the second half saw a glut of points. 

Folau Fainga'a gave Australia hope 10 minutes after the interval with a try that Noah Lolesio converted, yet the All Blacks responded impressively, moving the ball across the line for wing Will Jordan to waltz over. 

They also exploited turnovers ruthlessly, both Havili and substitute George Bridge crossing after Australia had lost possession, the latter benefiting from a superb kick into space by TJ Perenara.  

In between, Anton Lienert-Brown went over from Akira Ioane's inside pass near the touchline, New Zealand easing to a bonus-point triumph that sends them top of the Rugby Championship standings after two rounds. 

Substitute Nic White forced his way over for a second Wallabies try, while they had the last say in terms of the scoring with Tom Banks' 79th-minute effort converted by Reece Hodge, but the hosts were already condemned to another heavy loss that leaves them bottom of the table. 


Where there's a Will, there’s a way

Jordan's second-half try means he has now scored in six consecutive Test appearances, the best streak by any player from a Tier 1 nation since the beginning of 2010. His latest effort was put on a plate for him by his team-mates, with the impressive Ioane breaking free of a tackle to create the simple finish after some neat handling had stretched the Australian defence out wide.

Barrett off, All Blacks still march on

Koroibete was certainly at the centre of the early action. He had already seen a try ruled out by the TMO by the time he was hit by Jordie Barrett's boot. However, the Wallabies were unable to capitalise when having an extra man on the field, with the competition's rules allowing a replacement to come on after a 20-minute period.

Ian Foster has challenged Jordie Barrett to bring a "calmness" to New Zealand at full-back when they attempt to complete a Bledisloe Cup clean sweep of Australia on Sunday.

The All Blacks racked up a record score against the Wallabies to win the Bledisloe Cup for a 19th successive year at Eden Park last month, winning 57-22.

Head coach Foster has made five changes to his side for the rearranged clash at Optus Stadium, with expectant fathers Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Richie Mo'unga absent.

Barrett has got the nod over Damian McKenzie, while Brad Weber gets his second start at scrum-half and Ardie Savea has been named captain for the rest of the Rugby Championship, with Sam Cane injured.

Foster said: "We've been pretty happy with Damian at the back in terms of his influence in the first-receiver role and some of his decision-making from behind. Jordie we know is a quality player. We get asked a lot of questions decision-making-wise on attack and defence at 15, and that's probably his biggest work-on.

"We know he's a great individual athlete who can do some pretty special things, it's just about bringing that calmness to the back and making sure we have real clarity. There is a nice little battle going there at full-back."

Samu Kerevi returns at inside centre for Australia, while Izack Rodda will make his return from the bench and Folau Fainga'a makes his first start of the year.

Stats Perform use Opta facts to preview the Rugby Championship showdown in Perth.

 

AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND

Form

New Zealand showed no mercy as they put Australia to the sword in Auckland last time out.

The Wallabies have fond memories of facing their trans-Tasman rivals at Optus Stadium, having scored their highest points total against the All Blacks two years ago in a 47-26 triumph.

New Zealand have lost only one of their past seven Tests against Australia (W5, D1), that 24-22 loss coming at Suncorp Stadium last November.

Foster's men have scored 50 points or more in four of their five Tests this year. The last time the All Blacks brought up a half-century of points more times in a calendar year was when they did so on five occasions in 2007.

 

Ones to watch

Kerevi has not played for his country since a heavy defeat to England at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The centre's international career looked to be over when he moved to Japan but he is back on the Test stage as he replaces Matt Toomua.

Explosive powerhouse Kerevi, who will partner Len Ikitau, will be expected to make a big impact in the midfield battle.

Foster's pre-match words will be ringing in the ears of Jordie Barrett as he prepares to start in the 15 shirt.

Barrett has scored 106 points in 27 Tests, including 15 tries, and is capable of tormenting Australia.

Australia made it nine World Cup qualifying wins in a row on the road to Qatar 2022 with a straightforward 3-0 triumph over China at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. 

The Socceroos finished top of their group in the previous round and made a winning start to the third qualifying stage thanks to goals from Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle and substitute Mitchell Duke. 

China had won their previous four qualifiers and managed to restrict their opponents to minimal opportunities in the opening quarter of the contest on neutral territory. 

But Mabil acrobatically volleyed home to give Australia the breakthrough – the goal allowed to stand despite a high boot from the winger – and Boyle fired in a second from the edge of the box less than two minutes later. 

Graham Arnold's side had a penalty shout for handball turned down, but they had a third goal that their dominance deserved with 70 minutes on the clock. 

Duke was on hand to tap home after Mabil was denied from one of his five shots on target – the joint-most of any player in a game in the 2022 Asian World Cup qualifiers – as he scored just 59 seconds after being introduced off the bench. 

That was the fastest any substitute has scored in the Asian qualifiers since Tana Chanabut for Thailand after 36 seconds against the United Arab Emirates in October 2016.

England captain Joe Root has regained top spot in the ICC men's Test batting rankings following his impressive displays in the ongoing series with India.

The 30-year-old has recorded centuries in all three Tests, which is tied at 1-1 ahead of the fourth match at The Oval this week, aggregating 507 runs at an average of 126.75.

Root was fifth on the list at the start of the series but his form throughout 2021 has seen him overtake Virat Kohli, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and previous number one Kane Williamson to lead the way for the first time since December 2015.

Kohli has slipped out of the top five, with Rohit Sharma overtaking his team-mate with his highest ever position.

The 916 ranking points accrued by Root is one below his career-best aggregate from August 2015 and has been bettered by only four other England batsmen – Len Hutton, Jack Hobbs, Peter May and Denis Compton

"Obviously it's a nice thing to hear," Root said. "I've got to keep trying to score in this series and get us over the line.

"As nice as it is, there is still so much hard work to do. Our focus does not change. I'm obviously proud to have achieved this and I'd like to stay there now by playing like I am.

"Hopefully the form of my life is still to come, but I do feel very good at the minute. I've got to stay focused now."

In bowling terms, Root's England team-mate James Anderson has moved back up to number five in a list led by Australia's Pat Cummins.

England levelled their five-match series with India thanks to an innings victory in the third Test at Headingley last week.

All-rounder Moeen Ali has been confirmed as England's vice-captain for the fourth Test after Jos Buttler was given a paternity break ahead of the arrival of his second child.
 

The Australian government has been praised by FIFPro after evacuating women footballers and other athletes from Afghanistan. 

Many sportswomen in Afghanistan have gone into hiding after the Taliban seized control of the country's capital Kabul. 

Football's governing body FIFA contacted a number of governments last week to request help getting footballers out of the country and it has been reported at least 50 have made it to Australia.

"We are grateful to the Australian government for evacuating a large number of women footballers and athletes from Afghanistan," FIFPro, the international organisation for professional players, said in a statement.

"These young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger and on behalf of their peers around the world we thank the international community for coming to their aid.

"There remains much work to do to support and settle these young women and we urge the international community to make sure that they receive all the help they need."

Former Afghanistan national team captain Khalida Popal hopes more players can be helped to escape the country.

"The last few days have been extremely stressful but today we have achieved an important victory," she said.

"The women footballers have been brave and strong in a moment of crisis and we hope they will have a better life outside Afghanistan.

"But there is still much more work to do. Women's football is a family and we must make sure everyone is safe."

FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann added: "It has been an incredibly complex process for everyone involved to secure their evacuation.

"Our hearts go out to all the others who remain stranded in the country against their will."

The Wallabies and All Blacks will clash in the Bledisloe Cup in Perth before Queensland hosts the remainder of the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand pulled out of next weekend's third and final Bledisloe Test due to concerns over coronavirus, with the showdown initially set for August 28 at Optus Stadium.

The fixture will go ahead in Perth, with a date for the game set to be confirmed in the coming days following SANZAAR's announcement on Tuesday.

Afterwards, the Rugby Championship will head to Queensland for doubleheaders across four consecutive weekends in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Townsville, where the centenary Test between the All Blacks and Springboks will be played.

The Wallabies play South Africa on September 12 at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, where the All Blacks then going head-to-head against Argentina.

September 18 will see the teams travel to Brisbane for Argentina-New Zealand and Australia-South Africa contests at Suncorp Stadium.

Australia and Argentina face-off at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville the following weekend on September 25, before the New Zealand-Argentina centenary encounter.

The Rugby Championship concludes on the Gold Coast on October 2, with the Pumas facing the Wallabies and Springboks taking on the All Blacks.

"We thought last year was tough when we had to implement a Tri-Nations tournament in Australia with South Africa absent due to the pandemic, but the current disruption caused by the 'delta variant' of COVID-19 has seen government authorities tighten up border bio-security measures substantially," said SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris.

"This is understandable and therefore, we had no option but to basically move the remainder of The Rugby Championship to Queensland.

"On behalf of SANZAAR and the national unions, I would like to sincerely thank the Queensland Government for working with us around the clock to provide a travel, accommodation, training and playing environment that will safely allow us to complete the tournament.

"SANZAAR and the national unions are incredibly grateful and will work closely with the states' health authorities to ensure all bio-security measures are adhered to." 

Rugby Australia (RA) CEO Andy Marinos added: "This is a world Rugby first and a truly special celebration of the game, in what I see as a once-in-a-lifetime event."

Rugby Australia remain "confident" the third Bledisloe Cup clash will be staged in Perth, despite New Zealand pulling out of the game next weekend.

The All Blacks and the Wallabies were due to meet at Optus Stadium on August 28, but New Zealand Rugby (NZR) opted against travelling due to concerns over coronavirus.

Rugby Australia (RA) announced it was "incredibly disappointed" at the move, while Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie stated in no uncertain terms he was "bloody angry" over the decision.

Playing the Test in the United Kingdom or South Africa had been suggested as an alternative, but RA chief executive Andy Marinos hopes the trans-Tasman rivals can still do battle in Perth next month.

"We're working hard now with the West Australian government and the stadium to see if we can't move that to September 4," Marinos told Channel Nine on Sunday.

"We remain optimistic and confident we can get the game away eventually in Perth."

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson denied claims that RA had not been told that the All Blacks would not fulfil the fixture before it was announced.

He said: "We had calls right through from Wednesday, Thursday, we put something in writing on Thursday and then we spoke to them before anything was released.

"Certainly I know that senior All Blacks and Wallabies were discussing the situation and our players were making them aware of the reality of our situation."

NZR also announced the All Blacks' two home Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa – scheduled for September 25 and October 2 – will not be played in New Zealand following government advice that the Springboks would not be able to enter the country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

SA Rugby has offered to host the remainder of the 2021 Rugby Championship after coronavirus cases in New Zealand saw three All Blacks Tests called off.

With travel and quarantine restrictions tightened in New Zealand, it was announced the national team's matches against the Springboks in Auckland and Dunedin had been cancelled.

The All Blacks also will not travel to Perth for their third Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia – a decision their SANZAAR rivals said they only learned of through the media.

These developments have left Rugby Championship plans in tatters after just a single round of matches.

The tournament was replaced by the Tri-Nations in 2020 when South Africa withdrew. This time, SA Rugby is able to provide a potential solution, confirming in a statement its offer to SANZAAR.

"We have advised SANZAAR that we are ready and able to host the remainder of the competition in South Africa, pending our government's approval," said CEO Jurie Roux.

"But we are now well-versed in turning on rugby Tests within the prevailing COVID restrictions and have the venues and accommodation necessary. We just need the go-ahead."

The Springboks are still set to face Argentina, as scheduled, in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, although the two teams will not then fly out to Australia as they await an announcement on the rescheduling of the tournament.

South Africa has already this year hosted a British and Irish Lions tour, which the Springboks won 2-1.

Rugby Australia (RA) has been left "incredibly disappointed" after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) opted against sending the All Blacks to Perth for game three of the Bledisloe Cup against the Wallabies.

Australia and New Zealand were scheduled to meet at Optus Stadium on August 28, but Bledisloe III has been put on hold following the NZR's decision to keep the All Blacks grounded at home amid uncertainty due to COVID-19.

There have been rising cases of coronavirus in both Australia and New Zealand, with reports claiming the clash could be moved to the United Kingdom or South Africa.

NZR also announced the All Blacks' two home Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa – scheduled for September 25 and October 2 – will not be played in New Zealand following government advice that the Springboks would not be able to enter the country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"Without complete certainty on the team's next movements around The Rugby Championship we felt it was prudent for the team to stay put in New Zealand until SANZAAR have announced the full tournament schedule," said NZR CEO Mark Robinson on Friday, with the All Blacks having already retained the Bledisloe Cup.

"Once the team leaves our shores, they currently can't return until November 23 post their Northern Tour, so given the uncertainty, it makes sense to pause and get more clarity on these fixtures.

"We remain 100 percent committed to playing in the entire Fortinet Rugby Championship in 2021 and are working closely with SANZAAR to look at a range of options to reschedule these important matches."

Having been notified of NZR's decision to abort the Perth showdown via the media, RA CEO Andy Marinos said: "It's incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO moments before and there no mention that this was the intention.

"Despite this outcome, I am confident we will find a solution for the whole Rugby Championship in what continues to be a very challenging environment in which to work.

"We have been engaging in positive discussions with both teams as well as government partners and were confident we were close to finding a solution."

Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins are the big names who will return to the Australia set up for the T20 World Cup.

The four stars did not feature in Australia's recent tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh. Aaron Finch's team suffered a 4-1 defeat in the latter series, while they also lost the T20 series to the Windies.

However, Australia's white-ball captain will be able to call on big hitters Smith, Warner and Maxwell, as well as paceman Cummins, for the World Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in October and November.

They are joined by Josh Inglis, who has been rewarded for his outstanding form with a first international call-up.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has had a brilliant domestic season in both Australia and England, having been the leading run scorer in county cricket's T20 competition, and takes his place in the 15-man squad.

"Josh has been on our radar for some time with his performances in white ball cricket and more recently in the Vitality Blast where he topped the run charts," selection chair George Bailey said.

"He offers the squad flexibility in the batting order with his adaptability, counterattacking ability and power striking. He is a player we are excited about for the future."

Alex Carey is the biggest name to miss out at Inglis' expense, with Matthew Wade the first-choice wicketkeeper.

Nathan Ellis, Dan Christian and Daniel Sams have been named as travelling reserves.

Australia's T20 World Cup squad: 

Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley has given his full backing to the under-fire Justin Langer.

Australia head coach Langer has come in for criticism for his intense style of management, with reports the former opening batsman was recently involved in a heated exchange with a member of CA's digital team.

It has also been claimed that some Australia players have become increasingly disgruntled with Langer's approach.

However, Hockley endorsed the job Langer is doing ahead of the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, with a home Ashes series also on the horizon.

"Justin has done an incredible job in raising the culture, values and behaviours of the Australian men's team since he took on the role in 2018," Hockley said.

"His efforts have restored public faith in the national team. He is contracted as head coach through to the middle of next year, with the focus now on a successful T20 World Cup campaign followed by the home Ashes defence.

"The team has had an extremely disruptive and challenging 18 months during the pandemic.

"Despite those challenges the side has had great success in one-day, Test and T20 cricket, when all players were available.

"Justin, his coaching staff and the leaders within the team have an equally important part to play in ensuring a successful summer ahead."

Langer took over the team in the wake of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, which resulted in Steve Smith being stripped of the captaincy and, along with David Warner being banned from competing for 12 months.

Australia won the 2019 Ashes in England under Langer's tutelage, with Smith returning to play a starring role in the series.

White-ball captain Aaron Finch has expressed his frustration that stories have been leaked from the camp over Langer's methods.

The opening batsman told SEN Radio: "There's always tension when results don't go your way in all sports.

"Wins and losses are what count. I think anytime that doesn't happen, that all gets amplified. It's just one of those things.

"It's disappointing that things are coming to the front the way that they are, that's never ideal. It's just one of those things that keeps popping up, which is disappointing.

"The camp we had on the Gold Coast, to go through our culture and values and things like that, especially from a playing group, was really important, and one that I think players got a lot out of.

"But when things are being leaked out from inside, that's not a great look."

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