The Sport Matrix: Thursday 14 November 2013


German fans shun Wembley as tickets returned to FA

Germany football fans have turned their backs on Tuesday’s glamorous Wembley friendly against England with so little interest that the German football federation (DFB) has downgraded its ticket request to less than 1,000.

The interest in the game is in stark contract to the estimated 18,000-20,000 Polish fans who attended the World Cup qualifier last month, many of them expats living in the United Kingdom. The Football Association would have made more than double the tickets available to travelling German supporters had they requested it.

While it is unclear why the Germans have decided not to attend the game, which the FA still expects to sell out, the DFB believe it is because the midweek scheduling makes it more difficult for travel. Germany play Italy in Milan tomorrow and it is expected that their supporters will attend that game in far greater numbers.

Steven Gerrard will miss out when England play Chile tomorrow, having had an injection on his hip. Kyle Walker is also out while Daniel Sturridge is a doubt.  MORE

Robshaw relishing McCaw match-up

Chris Robshaw is relishing his meeting with Richie McCaw this weekend. “He epitomises what it is to be an international open-side flanker,” the England captain said. “He’s won a World Cup, won Tri- Nations titles. As a player, you want to emulate that success.” MORE

Broad shines but England toil in field

Stuart Broad took three wickets as England toiled on the opening day of their tour match with an Australian Invitational XI. The hosts were struggling on 93 for 5 in Sydney, before an unbroken stand of 178 from Ryan Carters and Peter Nevill helped them recover to 271 without further loss. MORE

Meulensteen joins Fulham as coach

Fulham yesterday appointed former Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen as head coach. “We share a vision of how football should be played and players developed,” he said of manager Martin Jol. “It’s our job to bring this vision to life on the pitch.” MORE

Barkley seeks to make impression

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is determined to impress on England duty this week and make the squad for next summer’s World Cup. “It’s every youngster’s dream,” he said. “Hopefully, if I play well for Everton I will push into that team and get to Brazil.” MORE

Simmonds and Payne lose funding

European gold medallist Lizzie Simmonds and former world champion Keri-Anne Payne are among those who have lost personal funding for 2014. The sport had it’s purse cut by £4m by UK Sport, and just 62 swimmers will now be supported. MORE

Williams excited by new challenge

Winter Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams is looking forward to making her rallying debut in the Wales Rally GB. “I have loved being part of this sport,” the former skeleton racer said. “Some of us are born with something that makes us find new thrills.” MORE

Ward ready to step out of the shadows

On Saturday Andre Ward returns after a 14-month exile to defend his WBA super-middleweight title in a fight that will hopefully be the end of his obscurity and the start of a short journey that will end in lucrative super-fights. MORE

Vettel bids farewell to departing Webber

Sebastian Vettel has praised Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber as the Australia prepares to bid farewell to the sport. “We’ve not had the best relationship,” Vettel said. “But we’ve been successful for the team. I don’t think we’ve lacked respect.”

Bay tips the scales for Hennessy Cup

Tidal Bay, second in last year’s Hennessy Gold Cup under top weight, again leads the handicap this year. He topped the scales at 11st 12lb, while Invictus is 5lb lower than when last seen, ahead of the Newbury contest. MORE

Lewis Moody

Patiency will be the key for Chris Robshaw’s England against New Zealand. Take your chance when it comes – that is what they do, that’s why they are the best. If a chance comes, bang, they take it. MORE