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The Sport Matrix: Thursday 16 August 2012


Defoe's superb strike ensures England beat Italy

Jermain Defoe's superb second-half strike claimed England a 2-1 victory over Italy at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne, Switzerland, last night. Defoe's winner arrived in the 79th minute.

The Spurs striker picked the ball up from James Milner's through ball, doubled back against Ignazio Abate and struck from the edge of the area past the Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

Roy Hodgson's side, playing Italy just two months after their Euro 2012 exit to the same country, fell behind in the 15th minute. Michael Carrick failed to track Daniele De Rossi when he came into the box for Alessandro Diamanti's corner which he headed past Jack Butland. England levelled in the 27th minute, though, Phil Jagielka heading the equaliser, diving low at the near post to connect with Frank Lampard's corner from the right-hand side. MORE

England seek to level SA series

England begin their attempt to beat South Africa in today's third Test at Lord's, which would need one of their greatest wins. Graeme Smith captains the visitors, who lead the series 1-0 and are favourites to win and become the No 1 side, for a record 94th time in a Test. MORE

Strauss 'surprised' by Pietersen antics

England captain Andrew Strauss has been "surprised" by Kevin Pietersen, whose apology was received stiffly by the England and Wales Cricket Board. "I've always got on very well with Kevin," said Strauss, "which is why the stuff has been quite surprising to me." MORE

Van Persie poised to sign for United

Arsenal have agreed to sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United for about £22m. Manchester City's manager, Roberto Mancini, failed to persuade his board to move for the forward, who said he would not be entering negotiations to renew his Arsenal contract. MORE

Scotland grab win over Australia

Scotland came from behind to defeat Australia 3-1 and claim their first win of 2012 at Easter Road. Northern Ireland claimed a 3-3 draw with Finland at Windsor Park, Wales lost 2-0 to Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Republic of Ireland held Serbia to a 0-0 draw. MORE

Nadal withdraws from US Open

Rafael Nadal's long-term future is in doubt after he withdrew from the forthcoming US Open because of his knee problems. Nadal said: "I have to continue with my recuperation and preparation to be ready to play in the right conditions." MORE

Modric set to sign for Real Madrid

Luka Modric is set to fly to Spain today to finalise a £27.5m move from Tottenham to Real Madrid, after playing in Croatia's 4-2 defeat by Switzerland. Modric has never hidden his desire to play for Jose Mourinho's side. MORE

Muamba retires from the game

Fabrice Muamba spoke of his sadness at retiring from football on medical advice. "While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for," said Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the field in March. "I thank God that I am alive." MORE

Supporters' Trust can save Pompey

The Pompey Supporters' Trust has emerged as the front-runner to save Portsmouth from liquidation after businessman Balram Chainrai's decision to withdraw his offer for the club. Chainrai had been administrator Trevor Birch's preferred bidder.

Everton open talks to sign Mirallas

Everton are in talks with Olympiakos to secure a £5.3m deal for Belgium's Kevin Mirallas. The move for the striker, 24, who scored 20 goals in 25 games last season, follows Jack Rodwell's sale to Manchester City. MORE

Opinion: Stephen Brenkley

It would be a mistake to exonerate England and their management completely from blame. They have been pushed into a corner by Kevin Pietersen but they should have seen it coming. MORE