Sports Shorts: FIFA lifts Nigeria suspension
Nigeria's suspension from international football was lifted on Friday, world governing body FIFA said.
The African country was banned earlier this month due to government interference in the national federation's affairs.
"FIFA has noted that the court proceedings and order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football that prompted the suspension have been withdrawn," a FIFA statement said.
"As statutory order has been reinstated at the NFF and the legitimate bodies reinstalled, FIFA has decided to lift the suspension as of today, Friday 18 July 2014."
Image: Nigeria pose for a team photo prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Photographs: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Sports Shorts: Hamilton on top in German GP practice
Lewis Hamilton denied Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg the satisfaction of lapping fastest at his home German Grand Prix on Friday.
With track temperatures soaring, Hamilton set a sizzling pace with a quickest lap of one minute 18.341 seconds in the afternoon session.
Formula One world championship leader Rosberg, who had been fastest before lunch with a best of 1:19.131, was second on the timesheets a mere 0.024 off Hamilton's pace.
Dominant Mercedes, seeking their first German Grand Prix victory as a works team since Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio triumphed 60 years ago at the Nuerburgring, finished one-two in both sessions.
Friday was the first chance to assess the performance of cars since the governing body ruled against a front and rear interconnected suspension (FRIC) system.
All teams had presented their cars for scrutineering without the systems on Thursday but the times showed no seismic change in the pecking order even if champions Red Bull appeared to have edged slightly closer.
"It was quite difficult to find the balance with the track being so hot and it is a tricky circuit to drive in general," said Hamilton.
"The car is a bit different now as everyone made some setup changes in a different direction to what we've had in the past, but it's still fun to drive."
Mercedes also made a rare pitlane bungle when they had the wrong tyres ready for Hamilton during a race simulation and Rosberg had to wait behind him with overheating brakes.
"We had a bit of a situation in the pit lane when my team mate came in suddenly just before I was called in too," said the German. "But the boys reacted quickly and cooled my car and brought his tyres out."
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who has won the last two races at the southern circuit which alternates with the Nuerburgring, was third fastest in the morning - and 0.292 off the pace - and then ninth in the afternoon.
"I don’t think going away with FRIC changed much in terms of driving style...but running without it, we just have to adapt and be as well prepared as possible with what we have," said the Spaniard.
NEXT: Yaya Toure 'staying for the fans' at Manchester City
Image: Lewis Hamilton
Photographs: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Yaya Toure 'staying for the fans' at Manchester City
Yaya Toure has no intention of leaving Premier League champions Manchester City and is looking forward to the new season with them.
"The fans have always been good to me, they've always been good to my family," Toure told Sky Sports television.
"I want to stay. I will always honour my contract. I don't think about all this speculation. It's a big pleasure to stay and enjoy the next season."
Media reports over the summer linked the midfielder with a number of clubs since his agent Dimitry Seluk tweeted in May that he was unsettled.
Seluk claimed that the Ivorian was not given proper recognition by the club on his birthday during a close-season trip to Abu Dhabi, comments subsequently supported by Touré on Twitter.
The furore was despite City posting a video on the club's website showing the player being presented with a birthday cake.
"Everything is fine now. There was a lot of speculation, you know. I think sometimes it's quite disappointing. I need to do something for the fans.
"The team is preparing well and we will try to win again next season," added the 31-year-old who was one of the driving forces in City's title triumph.
Toure, who signed a new four-year contract with City last year, was due for talks with City over his future before the club’s second match of their summer tour of the United States on July 27.
He is expected to join Manuel Pellegrini’s squad no later than three days before the champions face Milan at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
He joined City from Barcelona in 2010 and quickly became an influential figure in midfield, scoring the winning goal in the 2011 FA Cup final, and adding League championship medals in 2012 and 2014.
NEXT: Janmaat joins Newcastle
Image: Yaya Toure
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Dutch World Cup defender Janmaat joins Newcastle
Newcastle United have signed Dutch World Cup defender Daryl Janmaat on a six-year-deal from Feyenoord, the Premier League club announced late on Thursday.
Janmaat, 24, made five appearances for the Netherlands in Brazil and scored five goals in 63 league appearances since joining Feyenoord from Heerenveen in 2012.
No transfer fee was announced but British media reported Newcastle paid around £five million ($8.55 million) for Janmaat, whose arrival allowed France fullback Mathieu Debuchy to complete his move to Arsenal.
Janmaat joins midfielders Remy Cabella, Siem de Jong and Jack Colback, and striker Ayoze Perez as off-season arrivals at Newcastle, who open their league campaign against champions Manchester City on Aug. 17.
Janmaat told the club's official website (www.nufc.co.uk): "Newcastle is a fantastic club, with a big history and a great stadium. I have also been told all about how great the fans are.
"This is the perfect move for me, and I am really looking forward to being with the team and getting started here at Newcastle. I think we are going to have a great season."
Manager Alan Pardew said he was delighted to see Janmaat join the club, adding: "Daryl had an excellent World Cup and we are looking forward to him continuing that form for Newcastle."
Next: Schumacher's wife offers hope for the future
Image: Daryl Janmaat
Photographs: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Schumacher's wife offers hope for the future
Michael Schumacher's wife Corinna has thanked fans of the Formula One great for their support through the dark days of his fight for life after a skiing accident and offered hope for his future recovery.
"The German Grand Prix gives me the perfect opportunity to cordially thank you all for the good wishes and positive energies you keep sending to Michael," she said in a message published in the programme for Sunday's race.
"I have to say your sympathies blew us all away. Good to know that together we made it through the hardest time.
"Now we are facing a phase which will presumably take a long time. We trust that - as for so many years in F1 - time will be Michael's ally in the fight."
Seven times world champion Schumacher, the most successful Formula One driver in the history of the sport, won his home race four times.
The German suffered severe head injuries when he slammed against a rock in a ski accident in the French Alps last December.
The 45-year-old is currently in hospital in Lausanne, near his Swiss home, after spending months in a coma.
Next: Kristoff too strong for Sagan on Tour stage 12
Image: Michael Schumacher of Germany with his wife Corrina
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Kristoff too strong for Sagan on Tour stage 12
Norway's Alexander Kristoff claimed his maiden Tour de France victory when he beat Peter Sagan in a sprint to prevail in dominant fashion on the 12th stage, a 185.5-km ride from Bourg en Bresse on Thursday.
Katusha rider Kristoff timed his effort perfectly to win with a comfortable margin to leave Slovakian Sagan, who looks set to win the green jersey for points classification, still without a win on the Tour this year.
French champion Arnaud Demare took third place and Italian Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.
"I've always dreamt of winning a stage on the Tour de France," Kristoff, who snatched his major victory when he won Milan-San Remo this year, told a news conference.
"It's the second biggest win of my career."
A five-man breakaway was reduced to four when Spain's David de la Cruz went down hard on a bend and pulled out with a suspected broken collarbone.
Then they were just two, Dutchman Sebastian Langeveld and Simon Clarke of Australia on their own ahead of a bunch led by Europcar and Giant-Shimano who were looking to set up their sprinters for the finale.
Europcar played another card, however, with Frenchmen Perrig Quemeneur and Cyril Gauthier attacking to join Clarke after the Australian had shaken off Langeveld.
But the peloton led by Giant-Shimano reined them in with a few kilometres left.
German Andre Greipel, one of the pure sprinters who had managed to go through the two climbs near the finish, crashed after tangling with Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel and could not take part in the final sprint.
The peloton went through Sorbiers, where the late Kazakh rider Andrey Kivilev was buried after he died following a crash in March 2003 during the Paris-Nice race.
His death prompted the International Cycling Union (UCI) to implement the mandatory use of helmets in all races.
It brought back memories to fellow Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov, now the Astana manager who was Kivilev's best friend.
Next: Del Bosque planning to stay on as Spain coach
Image: Alexander Kristoff of Norway and Team Katusha celebrates winning stage twelve
Photographs: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Del Bosque planning to stay on as Spain coach
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque says he plans to lead the team into Euro 2016 and has the backing of the national federation despite their shock early exit at the World Cup last month.
Del Bosque broke his silence over his future on Thursday by saying he intends to stay at the helm and that the team does not need a major overhaul to challenge at the European championship in two years.
Spain’s golden spell where they won the 2010 World Cup and European titles in 2008 and 2012 came to an abrupt end in Brazil in the group stages after they lost their first two games against Netherlands and Chile.
"We can do a lot better and get back on the right lines. We will try to defend the title at the next European Championships," Del Bosque told reporters in Spain.
"A drastic revolution is not necessary, instead we must continue on the same path with some minor changes."
The 63-year-old took over following Spain’s triumph at Euro 2008 and his current contract runs until 2016.
"I have been in contact with the federation during this period of reflection and they have considered that the previous six years were more important than two bad matches," said Del Bosque.
"The federation is positive and they value my work. We are feeling strong and we are going to continue with our work as before.
"We are planning the games ahead knowing that we will need to make some changes to the team as we have done in the past."
Next: Mercedes unfazed by suspension rule change
Image: Spain's coach Vicente del Bosque
Photographs: Jon Nazca/Reuters
Mercedes unfazed by suspension rule change
Mercedes are unlikely to suffer any significant setback from a decision to ban a suspension system from this weekend's German Grand Prix, according to their title contender Lewis Hamilton.
"I don't think much at all," the Briton told reporters at Hockenheim when asked about the possible impact on his dominant team of the removal of the front and rear interconnected suspension (FRIC) system.
"We may lose some time this weekend but if everyone is taking it off then everyone will lose the same pretty much. I don't think the order should generally change much," added the 2008 champion.
Formula One technical delegate Jo Bauer said after scrutineering on Thursday that he could confirm "no car is fitted with a front to rear linked suspension system of any sort."
The teams did so out of concern that they could otherwise be challenged by rivals and subsequently disqualified in Sunday's race.
The systems, which stabilise the car through corners, have been in use for several years but the governing FIA believes they have now been developed to the point where they are an aerodynamic aid and contravene the rules.
Teams were given the option of using them for the rest of the year, before a ban starting in 2015, but that required unanimous agreement which proved impossible to reach.
Nico Rosberg, Hamilton's team mate who leads the championship by four points, felt there would be some effect but it was too early to say what it might be.
Rivals agreed but still hoped the change could narrow the gap between them and Mercedes.
"I hope it brings the field closer to Mercedes but it's difficult to say," declared Red Bull's quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel, last year's winner in Germany but without a victory so far in 2014.
"All of the teams have been playing with it to some extent. How much it has an impact? I think it has to be seen this weekend and also probably next week in Hungary. After those two races, I think you can have another judgement."
Sauber principal Monisha Kaltenborn questioned whether it was correct to change the rules midway through the season, however.
"It just another point where we have a very unnecessary discussion right in the middle of the season," she told reporters. "It doesn't create a good image for Formula One."
Next: Hamilton expects Rosberg to feel World Cup boost
Image: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg unveil the new Mercedes F1 car
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Hamilton expects Rosberg to feel World Cup boost
Lewis Hamilton hopes to tap into some of Germany's World Cup euphoria at Mercedes' home Formula One race this weekend even if championship-leading team mate Nico Rosberg gets a bigger boost.
"For every driver, when you go to your home country I think naturally you will get that extra boost," the Briton, who won in front of his home crowd at Silverstone two weeks ago, told reporters on Thursday.
"I think Nico will have that extra boost perhaps more this weekend because they've just won, they have the World Cup, so I think Germany is running on a serious high," added the 2008 champion.
Mercedes are sponsors of the German team who won the cup in Brazil last weekend, their fourth championship and first as a unified nation, and most of the fans thronging the campsite and forests around Hockenheim are already in party mood.
Mercedes have their own grandstand at Hockenheim and the paddock motorhome has 'The Best' written in large letters on the front.
Rosberg, who leads Hamilton in the championship by four points at the halfway stage, has everything going for him at the moment.
He has celebrated his 29th birthday, got married last week and signed a new multi-year contract with Mercedes on Monday.
Victory at Hockenheim would make him the first German to do so for Mercedes in his home race since 1939 and would also make amends for the costly retirement at Silverstone that saw his lead slashed from 29 points.
Hamilton, who jokingly questioned after Silverstone whether Hockenheim would really be a home race for Monaco resident Rosberg, hoped that some of the German glow would at least reflect on Mercedes as a team.
On that, Rosberg, who will be racing with a special helmet bearing the colours of the German flag and with four stars for each world championship won by a German team, was also in agreement.
"The effort of the team as a whole, how they all played together and everything was really great to see and that’s what won them the tournament I think, not any individual strength or anything," he said of Germany at the World Cup.
"That’s what we’re trying to do as well, to really work well, everybody together, to really make the most of it.
"I think we’re also on the right track with that...because to dominate the sport as we are doing at the moment, I think that indicates we work pretty well together as a team," added the German.
Mercedes have won eight of the nine races so far - Hamilton five to Rosberg's three.
Image: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP celebrates after winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images