The Sport Matrix: Thursday 5 June 2014


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The Independent Online

England hit by Ox injury scare

England’s World Cup warm-up match against Ecuador was overshadowed by a worrying injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the sending-off of Raheem Sterling.

The Arsenal forward will have a scan tomorrow amid fears he has damaged knee ligaments. Roy Hodgson fielded an experimental line-up and the makeshift defence was exposed as early as the eighth minute, when Ecuador took a surprise lead as Enner Valencia beat Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw to Walter Ayovi’s cross and headed past Ben Foster.

Wayne Rooney and Rickie Lambert put England ahead but Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken off shortly after he looked to have over-extended his knee in a challenge with Carlos Gruezo.

Then Sterling, a substitute, was handed a straight red card for his rash tackle on Antonio Valencia, who was also sent off for retaliating by grabbing the Liverpool man by the throat.

Sterling will not face a World Cup finals ban for his dismissal, but the worry for Hodgson is that Oxlade-Chamberlain may miss England’s opening match in Manaus. MORE

Murray battles into semi-finals

Andy Murray battled past Gael Monfils to reach the French Open semi-finals, the Scot letting a two-set lead slip before eventually defeating the Frenchman 6-4 6-1 4-6 1-6 6-0. Murray will now face eight-time champion Rafael Nadal, who beat fifth seed David Ferrer.

Costa to complete Chelsea move

Chelsea will sign Diego Costa for £32m over the next few days, after the Atletico Madrid forward completed a medical in Madrid on Monday. He was examined there before travelling with the Spain squad to Washington for their World Cup warm-up period.

Italy held by lowly Luxembourg

Italy, England’s first opponents at the World Cup, were held 1-1 by Luxembourg in Perugia last night. Maxime Chanot, who once played for Sheffield United and Mansfield, scored Luxembourg’s equaliser. Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands defeated Wales 2-0 at the Amsterdam Arena.

Lineker: Terry should be playing

Gary Lineker believes England’s central defence looks “a bit lightweight” and feels John Terry would have strengthened it. The former England striker said: “The best partner for [Gary] Cahill would have been John Terry but there is too much water under the bridge.”

Ballack: Götze and Özil must start

Germany’s coach, Joachim Löw, must find space for both Mario Götze and Mesut Özil in his starting line-up at the World Cup, according to former captain Michael Ballack. He said: “For their quality, I think they have to play both.”

England could turn to opener Robson

Middlesex’s opener Sam Robson may be included in England’s squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka, which is announced today. All-rounder Ben Stokes, fit again after breaking his hand on a dressing-room locker, should also be selected.

England name team for All Black Test

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has selected Leicester lock Geoff Parling and Wasps’ James Haskell in the starting line-up for Saturday’s first Test against New Zealand. Dave  Attwood and Tom Johnson  make the bench.

Exiles return to Premiership

London Welsh sealed their return to the Premiership after beating Bristol 21-20 on the night and 48-28 on aggregate. Carl Kirwan and Seb Stegmann scored late tries and fly-half Gordon Ross slotted 11 points to help the Exiles triumph.

Steve Bunce

Carl Froch will be 37 on 2 July and has still not confirmed his ring intentions. He should follow the likes of Lennox Lewis and Henry Cooper and retire on his own terms, free of desperation.