The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 17 June 2014


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The Independent Online

Müller’s hat-trick hammers Portugal

Thomas Müller scored the first hat-trick of this World Cup as Germany thrashed Portugal 4-0. Müller, who won the Golden Boot with five goals in South  Africa four years ago, struck twice in the first half and  completed his treble late on, with Mats Hummels also finding the net in a fine display. MORE

Suarez: I’m fit to face England

Luis Suarez has declared himself “100 per cent” fit to face England on Thursday. Suarez said England “have defensive weaknesses and we [Uruguay] can take advantage of them.” MORE

‘You can’t compare Pele and Neymar’

Antonio Lima dos Santos, who coached Neymar to greatness and roomed with Pele for 11 years, says it is wrong to compare them. “No, no. You can’t compare any player with Pele,” he says. “Because you will never find another one like Pele.” Neymar’s Brazil face Mexico in Fortaleza tonight. MORE

Wilmots improves Belgian mentality

Belgium open their campaign against Algeria in Belo  Horizonte tonight as the main dark horses to win the  tournament. Head coach Marc Wilmots, who took charge in 2012, feels he has transformed the team’s philosophy. “I have replaced the I, I, I with the we, we, we,” he said. MORE

Capello aims for Russian success

Russia begin their campaign  under Fabio Capello tonight when they face South Korea. The Italian is out to rebuild his reputation and defender Vasily Berezutskiy has outlined their target: “It’s been 12 years since Russia participated in the World Cup so our objective is to play more than three games.” MORE

Sri Lanka cling on for first Test draw

England were denied in a thrilling finale to the first Test as Sri Lanka’s last pair batted out the final five balls to seal a draw. Nuwan Pradeep was given out lbw off the penultimate ball, only for the DRS to reveal an edge. Then a last-ball edge fell short at slip,  for a close at 201 for 9. MORE

Wawrinka ready for Wimbledon

Stanislas Wawrinka crashed out in the first round of the French Open but was satisfied with his run to the semi-finals at Queen’s last week and believes he can do well at Wimbledon, which begins on Monday. “There’s no reason why I can’t [make a mark],” the Swiss player said.

United line up £10m deal for Vermaelen

Manchester United are  confident they will succeed with a £10m bid to sign the Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen after the World Cup.

His agent has denied reports the Belgium defender has agreed personal terms with United, but it is thought the player does want to move to Old Trafford.

United’s new  manager, Louis van Gaal, who is leading the Netherlands at the World Cup, knows the 28-year-old well, having seen him progress as a youngster while technical  director at Ajax. Vermaelen has spent five years with Arsenal. MORE

Murtagh’s haul helps Middlesex

Tim Murtagh claimed 6 for 93 as Middlesex took a strong position against Nottinghamshire. After Middlesex had made 505, Notts did well to avoid the follow-on, making 392, with Murtagh taking four late wickets. Middlesex then reached 220 for 5.

Koeman named Saints manager

Southampton yesterday named Ronald Koeman as their new manager. The former Dutch international, now 51, agreed a three-year contract to replace Mauricio Pochettino, who was appointed Tottenham Hotspur manager last month.

Kaymer eyes the Open after US title

Martin Kaymer’s caddie Craig Connelly feels the new US Open champion can challenge at next month’s British Open. “He’s got the game to do well anywhere,” Connelly said of the German, after his Pinehurst win.

Red-rose crusade

England, who will be led by Leicester’s Ed Slater, play the Crusaders in Christchurch today in a match of huge significance. It will raise money for those affected by the earthquake in 2011. MORE