The Sport Matrix: Friday 11 October 2013

 

Hodgson: England expects ahead of defining qualifiers

Roy Hodgson last night admitted the expectation of the nation weighs heavy as England look to meet the public’s demand of reaching next year’s World Cup finals.

Hodgson added he would make no excuses in the event of failure, as England prepare to face Montenegro tonight and Poland on Tuesday, both at Wembley. England will guarantee qualification for Brazil if they win both games. Failure to extract maximum points will leave them relying on other results in order to top the group.

Hodgson said: “It’s a big responsibility, taking on the role as manager of an England team. We are England, one of the big nations and we’re expected to qualify for World Cups and European Championships. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll get criticism. If you’re wise, you realise there’ll be criticism during qualifying as well.”

Hodgson is expected to find room in his team for the Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge (above), but it remains to be seen whether Jack Wilshere will get the nod ahead of Frank Lampard.

One fact in England’s favour tonight is that Montenegro are missing a number of key players through injury.  MORE

Legend Tendulkar set to leave crease

Sachin Tendulkar yesterday  announced that he will retire from all forms of cricket after playing his 200th Test next month against West Indies. The former India captain, whose career has spanned 24 years, is the leading run-scorer in both Test matches and ODIs. MORE

Barton lashes out at Hodgson’s England

QPR midfielder Joey Barton has hit out at the England side ahead of tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Montenegro saying: “The English national team are s**t at the minute.” He also had a go at Sir Alex Ferguson, the Premier League and the FA’s special commission. MORE

Southampton and Chelsea slam FFP

The chairmen of Chelsea and Southampton have condemned Uefa’s Financial Fair Play for thwarting small clubs’ ambition. It was as if “we had a broken finger and we cut off the arm”, said Chelsea’s Bruce Buck, while Saints’ Nicola Cortese said: “It is financial regulation.” MORE

Coleman is forced on to defensive

Chris Coleman yesterday tried to deflect attention away from his future as Wales manager ahead of tonight’s World Cup qualifier at home to FYR Macedonia. “I’m here until the end of the campaign because I said I would never ever walk away from this job,” Coleman said.

Vettel feeling the love for Japan

Sebastian Vettel says he does not mind where he clinches his fourth World Championship but admits it would be “special” to seal it in Japan. “All in all, it’s a place where we love to race. It’s a fantastic place, special track, crazy fans,” Vettel said. MORE

Kane bags hat-trick as England stroll

Spurs’ Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as England Under-21s won 4-0 in San Marino. Manchester United’s Michael Keane opened the scoring. Goalkeeper Andrea Manzaroli was sent off prior to half-time for bringing down Raheem Sterling. MORE

Federer slips up in race for London

Roger Federer’s least successful campaign for 12 years continued as he lost to Gaël Monfils 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in the third round of the Shanghai Masters yesterday. He is now in danger of missing out on the season-ending ATP Finals in London. MORE

Fury in Twitter trouble yet again

British heavyweight Tyson Fury faces disciplinary action after he posted a series of expletive-ridden tweets of a violent and homophobic nature aimed at world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis and David Haye.

French favourites for Heineken Cup

While back-room rows rumble over the competition’s future, Europe’s top teams can start getting on with the rugby as the Heineken Cup begins tonight. But it’s hard not to look across the Channel for a winner. MORE

Kevin Garside

The coming four days define the latest chapter in the evolution of a football culture at odds with itself. The idea that Roy Hodgson might fail in his quest is too big a deal to contemplate. MORE