The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 10 June 2014


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The Independent Online

Hodgson: England have a plan to stop Pirlo in Italy clash

Roy Hodgson says that he has a plan to stop Andrea Pirlo, the man who almost passed England to death at Euro 2012 before scoring one of the penalties in the shoot-out that eliminated them at the quarter-final stage.

Pirlo has figured prominently in England’s thoughts since they drew the Italians in World Cup Group D in October, with midfielder Jack Wilshere having already admitted that England had worked on a plan to stop him in their opening game in Manaus on Saturday.

In an interview given to Italian media, England manager Hodgson said: “What are we going to do this time against Pirlo? First, we’ll play a lot better, we’ll play with more energy because we’ll have more energy – it will be the first game in the tournament. We’ll be even more compact than we were in that game.

“We’re going to make certain also that Italy have a lot more to concern themselves with our attacking play, because one of the problems we had in that game is that we weren’t functioning well as an attacking unit. So Italy had too much of the ball and we were doing too much defending.” MORE

Mourinho: This is Rooney’s moment

Jose Mourinho believes Wayne Rooney will thrive with England at the World Cup in Brazil. “He is in what I call ‘the best age’. I think it is his World Cup,” said the Chelsea manager, who was a contender to take the England job after Steve McClaren was sacked in 2007. MORE

Lallana basks in Brazilian backdrop 

Adam Lallana is relishing preparing for England’s first World Cup group game against Italy. Lallana, the midfielder who has come a long way since his playing days in League One, enthused: “Training in these conditions and the scenery there, the backdrop – it’s lovely.” MORE

Chaos in the city as World Cup looms

The World Cup starts with Brazil’s game against Croatia in Sao Paulo on Thursday, but the big kick-off is being clouded by chaos in the city. It was the fifth day of the metro workers’ strike yesterday, causing desperate gridlock, and police officers tried to resist protesters. MORE

England’s men reach semi-finals

England’s men progressed to the World Cup semi-finals after an enthralling 3-2 win over Belgium in their last Group A match. With the score at 2-2 – a draw would have seen Belgium progress at their opponents’ expense – Iain Lewers’ late penalty put England into the last four.

Murray: Mauresmo is a good listener

Andy Murray said a key reason he hired Amélie Mauresmo as his new coach was because she is a good listener. “I found that with my mum especially she listened extremely well,” Murray said. “That was something that I felt I needed right now.” MORE

In-form Froome outpowers field

After Chris Froome had delivered an opening time-trial win in the Critérium du Dauphine, he showed he is on top climbing form outpowering the field to take yesterday’s first summit finish, leaving him favourite for the Tour de France.

Hartley defends England tactics

Dylan Hartley hit back at New Zealand’s claim that England delayed tactics at scrum and line-out in the first Test. “Why would we want to slow the game?” he asked. “We have variation in our game; we have ball-carriers, we have handlers.” MORE

Newey as crucial to Red Bull as drivers

Red Bull ended weeks of speculation over the future of design guru Adrian Newey by announcing a multi-year extension to his contract. The 55-year-old is seen as the one technical figure who is as valuable financially to the team as the best drivers. MORE

Bellos on Brazil

Author Alex Bellos has a unique insight into Brazil. In his first World Cup column, he explains why Manaus, where England play Italy, is one of the country’s most fascinating places. MORE