Starting Saturday, only 16 of World Cup’s qualifying 32 teams will continue to play in the tournament. After just two matches, Spain — the defending champion — was the first country to be eliminated during the group stage. Notable squads like Italy, the 2006 champion, and England are also heading home.Because the World Cup is the most anticipated sporting event on the planet, many fans are unlikely to tune it out after their country is booted. But which team will they root for now?Answering this question isn’t easy. Once patriotism is out of the equation, a preference for another country’s side could be based on all sorts of factors: Do you love one team’s style of play? Are you influenced by politics, religion or race? Did you have fond memories of travel to a particular place? Perhaps the most confounding factor is whether you’re motivated by love or hate. That is, will you root for your next favorite country or against a loathsome rival?The ideal data to help answer this question would be recent, statistically-sound, cross-country polling of all 32 nations participating in the World Cup. Unfortunately, as is often the case in data analysis, our wishes have not been granted.The best polling we’ve got is the Pew Global Attitudes Survey, which provides cross-country favorability measures for nine of the countries participating in this year’s tournament: the U.S., the U.K. (which we’ll take to approximate England’s team), France, Greece, Italy, Germany, Spain, Iran and Russia. The survey tries to gauge Greeks’ opinions of Spaniards, Russians’ of Americans, and so on. The specific question that Pew poses is, “Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of [country name].” The acceptable responses are, “Very favorable,” “Somewhat favorable,” “Somewhat unfavorable,” “Very unfavorable” and “Don’t know/Refused.” To condense this information into one value, I’ve weighted the responses +2, +1, -1, -2 and 0, respectively.Based on the favorability polling, it appears the English might prefer Germany over France of the teams left in the World Cup. But you probably won’t catch an Italian cheering on the Greek national side. No, fans in Rome might instead be rooting for the United States. (In fact, the Italians view the U.S. more favorably than they view their own country.) The defending World Cup champions, Spain, ranked Germany in the most favorable terms, followed by England and then France. So with no more matches of their own in Brazil, the Spanish might be inclined to root for Germany.But if you look closely, yes, that’s right: The country that has the lowest opinion of Spain is … Spain. It’s worth noting that Pew conducted this survey in March and April of 2012, at the height of the European economic crisis.Greeks, for example, have an extremely unfavorable opinion of Germany. That’s no surprise given the intra-Eurozone disputes over bailouts, austerity measures and dire economic circumstances. (So, if Greece were to be eliminated in the knockout round and Germany played on, it’s a safe bet that Greek fans wouldn’t be cheering for Die Mannschaft.) But outside of Greece, Germany appears to be rather highly regarded. On the flip side, Russia is viewed unfavorably throughout Europe, except by Greece. (Russia exited the tournament after drawing with Algeria on Thursday, but the Greeks will have at least one more opportunity to cheer on their national side in the Round of 16.)Still, no matter whom the eliminated countries’ fans go on to root for — if they root for any country at all — that new team won’t match the fans’ true wish: for their original favorite to have won the Cup.CORRECTION (June 27, 10:45 a.m.): An earlier version of this post misstated the result of Thursday’s Algeria-Russia match. It ended in a draw, not a loss for Russia.
Mike D’Antoni said he was as surprised as Phil Jackson that the Los Angeles Lakers hired him as coach over the 11-time champion Jackson.D’Antoni told the New York Daily News that he assumed, like most everybody else, that Jackson was a lock to return to the job and replace Mike Brown, who was fired just five games with the team at 1-4.“Sure I did,” the former Suns and Knicks coach told the newspaper when asked if he thought the job was Jackson’s. “For sure I did. Didn’t everybody? When I got the call that it was me, my first reaction was, ‘Are you serious?’??”A league source told ESPN.com that D’Antoni received a three-year deal worth $12 million with a club option in the fourth year. D’Antoni’s agent Warren LeGarie confirmed the deal late Sunday night, several hours after the Lakers beat Sacramento 103-90 for their second straight win under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.The Lakers said they plan to hold a news conference most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday. In a statement released by the team, Lakers spokesperson John Black said team owner Jerry Buss, executive vice president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak were “unanimous that D’Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time.”Jackson said he told Kupchak and Buss that he had “confidence that (he) could do the job” when he met with them about returning to coach the Lakers on Saturday.Jackson then left the meeting with a handshake and understanding “that (he) would have until Monday (today) to come back to them with (his) decision.”Jackson was prepared to return to the Lakers on Monday morning if negotiations between his agent and the team went well, a league source told ESPN late Sunday night. But before he could do so, Jackson said Kupchak woke him around midnight on Sunday and told him the team had instead signed D’Antoni.“The decision is of course theirs to make,” Jackson said in a statement. “I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker Fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.”D’Antoni said he was excited to be reunited with point guard Steve Nash, who he coached in Phoenix for five seasons. Nash won back-to-back NBA MVP awards (2004-05, 2005-06) running D’Antoni’s signature up-tempo offense, and they won at least 54 games in each of D’Antoni’s last four seasons.“To get one more chance to have him run the thing the way he did for me before (in Phoenix), well, that’s the kind of thing you never think is going to happen. But now it has,” he told the newspaper.D’Antoni coached the Knicks for the past four seasons, resigning last March after a largely unsuccessful tenure featuring just one playoff appearance and no postseason victories.D’Antoni said he considered himself “lucky or even blessed” to get the opportunity to coach the Lakers.“I like this team,” D’Antoni told the newspaper. “We’re good, and we’re gonna get better.”
More Tim Tebow news has recently surfaced on the Web. The quarterback, who was released last week by the New England Patriots, refused to change his positions after another NFL team attempted to possibly sign him, according to a report.The report didn’t say which team expressed interest in Tebow.Tebow also reportedly refused an offer to play in the Canadian Football League. According to the source, Tebow would only return to the NFL if he’s given the chance to play quarterback.Tebow, who has seen great success in both the high school and college levels, said he will be in “relentless pursuit” of continuing his dream of being an NFL quarterback.As an NFL player, Tebow completed 47.9 percent (173 of 361) of his passes for 2,422 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and rushed for 989 yards and 12 scores. The quarterback’s best highlight as a pro, is perhaps when he led the Broncos to a win over the Steelers in a 2012 wild-card game, when he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime.
After suffering its third loss of the season to Illinois on Thursday, the No. 10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (22-3, 9-3 Big Ten) bounced back with an 80-71 win against the No. 16 Purdue Boilermakers (19-6, 9-3 Big Ten) Sunday. Sporting pinks socks and shoes to support breast cancer awareness, OSU trailed for the majority of the first period, which included a seven point deficit with 4:34 left in the half. Going into the locker room, the Buckeyes were down, 37-31. “At times it was hard for us to get gelling, but we grinded it out and played as a team,” senior guard Samantha Prahalis said after the game. The Buckeyes shot 48 percent in the first half while the Boilermakers shot 52 percent from the field. The most telling statistic of the half might have been rebounds. Purdue out rebounded OSU, 23-11, in the first half, including nine offensive boards that resulted in eight points. “They are a very aggressive team,” said redshirt junior guard Amber Stokes. “They were getting rebounds but we kind of just changed some things and also got rebounds back.” In the second half, OSU trailed until Prahalis was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit two of her three foul shots to tie the score at 50. With 12:30 left, Prahalis was fouled on another shot attempt and sunk one of her free throws to give OSU a one-point lead. The lead was short-lived, as Purdue scored on its next five possessions to pull ahead, 61-56. The Buckeyes would answer with a 14-3 run, but Purdue crept within two points with 1:03 left. Prahalis eliminated any doubt of a victory when she hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to put the lead at, 76-71, and seal the victory for OSU. “Ashley posted up pretty strong, I saw she was open, I passed it to her, she made a great pass back and I hit,” said Prahalis, who lead all OSU players with 26 points and five assists, said. Stokes followed her, who tallied 14 points. The Boilermakers were lead by senior guard Brittany Rayburn and junior forward Sam Ostarello, who had 22 points and 12 points, respectively. Sunday’s game had the top spot in the Big Ten at stake, but OSU coach Jim Foster said his team isn’t focused on the conference rankings. “You are giving these kids far too much credit if you think they are analyzing the standings,” said Foster. “I think every game we play for the rest of the season is a must win.” The Buckeyes return to action Thursday as they host the Indiana Hoosiers (5-19, 0-11 Big Ten). The Buckeyes defeated the Hoosiers, 73-55, the last meeting. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
Then-junior guard Aaron Craft (4) shoots a game-winning 3-pointer during the March 24 NCAA Tournament game against Iowa State. With the 78-75 win, OSU advanced to the Sweet 16.Lantern file photoOne of the four players that left the Ohio State men’s basketball program following the 2013-14 season has found a home in the NBA, at least temporarily.Former OSU guard Aaron Craft has signed a partially-guaranteed contract and has accepted an invitation to attend training camp with the Golden State Warriors, after playing for their NBA Summer League team in July, according to a report by the Bay Area News Group.Following the announcement of the news, Craft, who went undrafted in June’s NBA Draft, tweeted his thoughts on the deal from his Twitter account, @ACraft4.Excited & grateful for the opportunity to take part in the @warriors training camp!The work has only just begun… #Blessed #Hungry— Aaron Craft (@ACraft4) August 6, 2014During his time with the Warriors’ Summer League team, Craft averaged 7.4 points per game, shot 45 percent from the floor and netted 2.6 steals per game, all the while earning some high praise from Golden State coach Steve Kerr.Kerr wasn’t shy in his praise for the former Buckeye, lauding his defense and calling him a “winner” throughout Summer League play.There is no date set for the start of Warriors training camp for the 2014-15 season, according to the team’s website.
OSU coach Urban Meyer is interviewed during media day on Dec. 29. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorNational Signing Day will come a little earlier for student-athletes in the 2018-19 football recruiting class.The NCAA announced on Monday that it has officially adopted an early signing period for football recruits following the approval by the Collegiate Commissioners Association, the governing body for the National Letter of Intent program. The new rule will allow recruits to sign a letter of intent to play for a collegiate program within a 72-hour period between the dates of Dec. 22 and 25.As expected, the Collegiate Commissioners Association has approved a 72-hour football early signing period beginning Dec. 20. pic.twitter.com/m8AzLf8crN— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) May 8, 2017Previously, prospective student-athletes for football were unable to officially sign a letter of intent until the first Wednesday in the month of February.The CCA added in their release that while this will change the signing period for high school recruits, the period for junior college students to transfer remains between Dec. 20, 2017 and Jan. 15, 2018.The rule change had been approved on April 14 during a meeting held among the NCAA Division I council and the American Football Coaches Association, but the change could not be made official until the CCA approved the change in a vote.Ohio State coach Urban Meyer spoke out against the proposal back on Sept. 26, 2016, saying that an early signing period would be forcing young kids to make a decision too early. He also said that as a coach, it would be difficult for him to be able to know exactly where a kid will be physically by the time he starts playing collegiate football, citing the physical development of his son during a six-month period.“Bodies change and the game of football, I want as much time, I want to watch them play their senior year,” Meyer said. “I wish we would move it back. Everybody is talking about moving it forward and having an early signing period — and I heard July, early signing date. That means they’re going to be visiting here, some of them, 16 years old. Most 17 years old. Without some of them SAT or ACT score. Doesn’t make sense. And if I’m a high school coach, I’m not in favor of that at all either.”
OSU senior Lena Springer (26) pitches during the game against Rutgers on April 1 at Buckeye Field. Credit: Emily Hetterscheidt | For The LanternIt’s hard to believe Minnesota shut out Ohio State’s softball team 6-0 in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday when you hear the Buckeye players speak.“I just think we’re kind of firing on all cylinders right now,” senior pitcher Shelby Hursh said. “The pitching’s doing well. Hitting is back around. Our defense, we were amazing last weekend.”“I just think, when all that comes together, we’re so good and I don’t think you can ignore that.”The team was happy with the result — OSU’s first appearance in the Big Ten tournament championship game in 10 years — but believes there is more to be accomplished.“We have a lot of unfinished business to handle and we’re not going to just bow down,” sophomore infielder Lilli Piper said.The Buckeyes (36-16) will look to back up their words when they head south to take on South Carolina-Upstate (41-11) in Tennessee at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.OSU earned an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament and was placed into the Knoxville Regional as the No. 2 seed with USC-Upstate, Longwood and No. 8 Tennessee. Last year, OSU also competed in the Knoxville Regional, but was knocked out after falling to Arizona (2-0) and Tennessee (10-1).If the Buckeyes beat USC-Upstate, they will face the winner of Friday’s Tennessee-Longwood matchup. But if they lose, they will face the loser of Tennessee-Longwood and would have to win their next four games to avoid elimination. “Just knowing that coming out as strong as possible so people then know that we mean business and we’re there. Coming out and playing strong the very first game, knowing that no one’s going to stop us,” Piper said.Unlike OSU, who throwsfour pitchers, only two players have thrown more than 20 innings in the circle for the Spartans all season — seniors Lexi Shubert and Holly McKinnon.McKinnon is 24-7 with a 1.36 ERA, having pitched 196 innings with 207 strikeouts. Shubert has a 19-4 record with a 1.43 ERA in 156.1 innings. Despite the duo’s success, Piper is certain her team will be able to get on base and accumulate runs.“I think just being relaxed, knowing that our offense is going to be better than their pitching and that’s what, in our head, is important to us,” Piper said. “That there’s no one that they’re going to put that we’re not going to go right through them.Piper, a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, leads the team in batting average (.424), home runs (17), RBIs (51), runs (46), slugging percentage (.785) and on-base percentage (.420). Seven OSU starters maintain a batting average higher than .270.Upstate batters don’t struggle to reach base either as eight players have batting averages higher than .285. The Spartans have proven dangerous once they get on base as five of their players have stolen at least 10 bases. Sophomore shortstop Ashley Gilstrap leads the team with a .343 average and has converted 32 steals on 34 attempts.OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said Hursh will likely be the starting pitcher against Upstate on Friday. She feels confident in Hursh and her other pitchers because they’re facing fresh competition.“I think it’s an advantage to our pitchers that these hitters haven’t seen them again and again,” she said. “I mean, Michigan State saw us for the fourth time in like three weeks (in the Big Ten tournament). I think it will help our pitchers have a better mindset because they know that these hitters haven’t seen them.”Hursh holds a 15-5 record with a 2.33 ERA. She leads the team with 129 innings pitched, 115 strikeouts and five shutouts. Kovach Schoenly signs extensionOn Wednesday, OSU announced Kovach Schoenly would remain the Buckeyes’ coach through the 2020 season as her contract was extended four years.The softball coach came to OSU after spending six seasons at the helm of Miami (Ohio). Since she took over in Columbus in 2013, the Buckeyes hold a 163-105-1 record and the team has made the NCAA tournament twice. OSU’s 35 wins this season are the team’s most since 2010.“The program is in a good place as athletes have excelled in the classroom, on the field with back to back NCAA bids and in the community with increased fan support,” said T.J. Shelton, associate athletics director for sports administration in a press release. “This is a clear sign that it’s heading in an upward trajectory.”Kovach Schoenly’s 163 wins at OSU are the most by any softball coach in their first five years at the school in program history.
Then-OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) leaps over a defender during a game against Western Michigan on Sept. 26 at Ohio Stadium.Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe NFL suspended former Ohio State and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for the first six games of the season without pay, the league announced Friday. The league also added that he should have no more violations of league policy, and could face a potential ban from the league if he is found to be in violation of any more rules.In a letter addressed to Elliott from the NFL and its chief disciplinary officer Byron Todd Jones, the league cites that Elliott used physical force against his alleged girlfriend Tiffany Thompson in 2016. A separate incident in which Elliott pulled down a woman’s shirt at a bar this year was also cited, though the letter states that it will not be considered separately for any additional discipline.According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension. He must file the appeal within the next three business days, and a subsequent hearing must be scheduled within 10 days after the appeal is made official.Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is expected to appeal 6-game suspension, per sources. Has three business days to file appeal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2017Elliott’s incident with Thompson allegedly took place during the week of July 16, 2016, and had been investigated by the city of Columbus. However, the Columbus Division of Police made no arrest, and a decision by the Columbus City Attorney’s office was made to not prosecute Elliott for the incident.The NFL investigated Elliott and determined that there was substantial evidence backing Thompson’s claims, citing three separate instances in 2016 on July 17, 19 and 21 where Thompson was physically abused by Elliott.On July 17, he reportedly caused injuries to Thompsons’ arms, neck and shoulders, claims that were backed up by several photographs of the injuries. Two days later, he reportedly again caused injuries to Thompson’s face, arms, wrist and hands. There were more photographs provided to back up the claims. Then on July 21, he was reported to have used force again to injure Thompson’s face, neck, arms, knee and hips. More photographs were provided, and medical experts confirmed the photographs backed up the claims made by Thompson.Though Elliott was never charged with any crimes, the letter states that players may still be suspended if evidence is found to support conduct prohibited by the league.The league finished the letter by saying that Elliott is also required to engage in a clinical evaluation by a qualified professional. He is expected to follow through with any recommendations of treatment or counseling provided by that professional.
When Urban Meyer, an Ohio native, took the head coaching job at Ohio State prior to the 2012 season, he knew what he had to do. “We’re going to make the great state of Ohio proud in everything we do,” Meyer said in his opening press conference. Six years, two Big Ten championships, two College Football Playoff berths and one national championship later, Meyer seemed to keep the promise on the football field. And after earning his second straight Big Ten title and his first Rose Bowl appearance in his 27 years in coaching, Meyer announced his tenure at Ohio State would be over. Ohio State announced Tuesday morning that he would be retiring as the head football coach at Ohio State. He will formally announce this as a part of a press conference at 2 p.m. Ohio State said that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day will replace him. Meyer said he was honored to represent his home state of Ohio and the university for the last seven years. “My goal has always been to make this one of the premier and comprehensive programs in all of America,” Meyer said. “It has always been the goal to see a healthy, strong program handed to an elite coach in person.” This announcement comes after a tumultuous season in which Meyer was suspended for the first three games after he was accused of knowing of domestic violence allegations made against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Meyer also disclosed this season he has suffered with a cyst in his brain that has led to severe headaches over the past few years.Meyer said he has been dealing with headaches over the past few years, saying it hit hard after the Penn State game in 2016. He also said it was something that both Gene Smith and his family knew about at the time. “But we had conversations back then about longevity and the seriousness of it,” Meyer said. “Because, as they said, it’s not your elbow or your foot. We’re talking about something else.” Meyer also said his decision was not based on the events surrounding the firing of Zach Smith in July and his suspension through the first three games of the 2018 season. It was the combination of the different situations he was in. “The decision was a result of cumulative events. And health number one,” Meyer said. “The fact that we have an elite coach on our staff. The fact that our program is very healthy. We’ve recruited very well all played a significant role in this. And I can’t say this is the reason, this is the reason. But there’s cumulative reasons that we’re at this point.” Meyer also said that he believes he will never coach again. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said it was a unique opportunity for the program to have a succession plan in place with Day. He said he and Meyer had begun to have discussion about the transition a month ago and that, instead of having a national search, he felt more comfortable with a coach already on staff in Day. “Our program does not need disruption,” Smith said. “It does not need to blow up and try and adapt to our standards of operation and try and change the infrastructure that we put in place for the student athlete. We had a talented guy that many others wanted to interview and potentially hire.” Day, coming in from the offensive coordinator role, will try and build off of what Meyer has created in his seven years with the program. “We are all part of something special here at Ohio State. And the culture that Urban Meyer has created here is strong. And my pledge to the players is that our staff will give you every opportunity to maximize yourself as a football player, as a student and establishing your career after football,” Day said. “You have my word that I am going to give everything I have to continue the tradition of excellence and winning in its storied career.” Meyer has been a head coach since 2001, coaching at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State in that timespan. In those 16 seasons, he has recorded the seventh-highest winning percentage in NCAA history, with a record of 177 wins and 31 losses. Through six seasons as the head coach at Ohio State, Meyer posted a record of 73-8, winning the first College Football Playoff in 2014 and giving the school its eighth national championship. Meyer has led three teams to a national title in his head coaching career and is the first to do so in two separate conferences, in 2006 and 2008 with Florida in the SEC and in 2014 with Ohio State in the Big Ten. With a career record of 46-3 in conference play, Meyer led Ohio State to six Big Ten East titles and two Big Ten championships. In six bowl games, Meyer posted a 4-2 record for the Buckeyes, including a win over USC in the Cotton Bowl.Over the past four years, Ohio State, under Meyer, has produced 26 NFL draft picks, including seven first round selections. Meyer also coached six consensus All-Americans while he was with the Buckeyes, including defensive end Joey Bosa, who was named an All-American twice.Taking over an Ohio State team amidst scandal, with the team ineligible for both the Big Ten Championship and any bowl game, Meyer led Ohio State to its sixth undefeated season in school history. He continued that success into the 2013 season. With quarterback Braxton Miller leading the way, the Buckeyes finished with a record of 12-2, losing to No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State finished the season with a loss to No. 12 Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Starting the 2014 season as the No. 5 team in the country according to the AP poll, Ohio State lost Miller to a season-ending injury prior to the start of its first game against Navy. With redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett at quarterback, the Buckeyes suffered a home loss to Virginia Tech during Week 2. However, after the loss to the Hokies, Ohio State went on a run, winning 10 straight games and entering the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin as the No. 5 team in the country. However, with Barrett out for the rest of the season after being carted off the field during the Buckeyes’ win over Michigan, Meyer was down to third-string quarterback Cardale Jones to start the conference championship game. Jones started with a bang, defeating the Badgers 59-0 and earning the No. 4 seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Meyer then led Ohio State to wins over Alabama and Oregon to win the Buckeyes’ first national championship since the 2002 season. With extremely high expectations entering the 2015 season, beginning the season as the No. 1 team in the country, Ohio State matched those expectations, winning 10 straight to start the season. However, Meyer and the Buckeyes fell to Michigan State in Week 11, losing their chance for a Big Ten Championship and, eventually, a berth in the College Football Playoff. After the 2015 season, Meyer saw 15 players leave for the NFL. In the 2016 NFL Draft, Ohio State had 12 players selected, including five first round selections, including the No. 3 overall pick in Bosa and the No. 4 overall pick in running back Ezekiel Elliott. Despite the amount of turnover the football program had prior to the 2016 season, a conference loss to Penn State and no spot in the Big Ten Championship game, Meyer still found a way to return to the College Football Playoff. As the No. 3 team in the country, the Buckeyes recorded only nine first downs, falling to No. 2 Clemson 31-0 in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. During the 2017 season, Meyer and Ohio State suffered two losses to No. 3 Oklahoma and Iowa, but earned his second Big Ten Championship of his tenure, defeating No. 7 Wisconsin 27-21 in the championship game. However, this failed to give Ohio State a Playoff berth and the Buckeyes went to the 2017 Cotton Bowl, defeating No. 12 USC 24-7. Updated at 3:55 p.m. with quotes from Urban Meyer, Gene Smith and Ryan Day.
Simon Stevens, head of the health service has repeatedly said any extra funding should go towards easing pressures on social care, with thousands of elderly people in hospital, for want of care in their own homes. But new analysis by CQC reveals that the majority of providers which have undergone repeat inspections have either got worse or seen no improvement in their rating. In total, 3,353 hospitals, care homes and GP practices have now had at least two inspections by CQC, a report to its board warns. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. ‘I’ve not heard anything from the very top of Government about what they are going to do in relation to adult social care’David Behan, chief executive, Care Quality Commission “That particular age group is the age group which will have the highest demand for old people’s residential services and nursing home services,” she stressed.Since 2009, the number of people receiving state-funded care has fallen by one quarter, amid cuts in council funding.Latest figures show levels of bedblocking at record levels, with cases rising by one quarter in year.The monthly statistics show 184,188 bed days for patients who were medically well, but lacked help at home, compared with 147,376 a year earlier.The pressures have pushed hospital occupancy levels to a record high, and earlier this year NHS recorded the worst deficit in its history. The report – State of Care – is expected to raise concerns about the sustainability of the social care sector, and the risk that increasing numbers of care homes could close amid financial losses.One in 10 nursing jobs in adult social care is now vacant, with one in three nurses leaving their post last year.Prof Louis Appleby, one of the watchdog’s board members, said services were facing a “perfect storm” which was driving down the quality of care.”We’ve got 562 organisations in special measures at the moment – 406 of them are in adult social care; so that’s about 70 per cent,” he told a CQC board meeting last month, questioning whether anything was being done to address the problems. In a stark admission, CQC chief executive David Behan suggested the issue was not a political priority. “I’ve not heard anything from the very top of Government about what they are going to do in relation to adult social care,” he said.“I know when MPs start raising issues then they will start getting interested in this”.Mr Behan said services for the elderly were being cut at a time when demand was rising. “We’ve got a rising population of older people with complex co-morbid conditions which demands that they need access to services and … that’s occurring at a time when capacity of nursing care is decreasing,” the watchdog chief executive said. Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector for adult social care told the meeting: “Since the beginning of this century the number of older people has increased very significantly – and in particular the increase in the number of people aged 85 and over has increased by 33 per cent and that is continuing on a trajectory upwards.” Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, has warned that “bloody tough times” lie aheadCredit:Joe Giddens/PA Andrea Sutcliffe said demand for elderly care services is rising, with a 33 per cent increase in people aged 85 and over, since 2000Credit:Christopher Pledger NHS officials have raised concern about lack of funding for social care Credit:PA ‘We’ve got 562 organisations in special measures at the moment – 406 of them are in adult social care; so that’s about 70 per cent’Prof Louis Appleby, Care Quality Commission Organisations are targeted for repeat visits if they are rated inadequate or in need of improvement.Of those, just 45 per cent have improved their rating, with 46 per cent of providers seeing no change, while 10 per cent were found to have deteriorated since problems were exposed.The findings come amid growing concern about the state of the health service, with record levels of bed-blocking, and lengthening waiting times in Accident & Emergency.Last year CQC’s annual report was deeply critical of the quality of care in hospitals, with 76 per cent of hospitals given an overall rating of “inadequate” or “requires improvement”.Next week’s report is expected to express concern about a rapidly deteriorating situation in social care, leaving elderly people at risk. New figures show that for the first time in five years, bed numbers in nursing homes have been cut, amid the closure of 64 homes in 2015/16. More than half of failing NHS hospitals, care homes and GP practices have deteriorated or made no improvement since being inspected by watchdogs, official figures show. The alarming findings from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) come ahead of its annual report on the state of care across the health service, which will highlight a growing crisis in care of the elderly.Last year the body identified an “unacceptable level of poor care” across the county, with national results from Ofsted-style ratings.