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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 19 November 2013

Sturridge should be fit for progress test against Germany

The England manager, Roy Hodgson, expects Daniel Sturridge to be fit to start up front in tonight’s friendly with Germany after confirming his first XI.

Sturridge will begin alongside Wayne Rooney,  with Southampton’s Adam Lallana in line for his second appearance.

“The doctors tell me he’s fit enough to play,” said Hodgson (above) of Sturridge.  “I will expect him to play the amount I think I need to see him. It won’t be 90 minutes – not because I don’t think he’s capable of playing 90 minutes – but because I’ve got Rickie Lambert, who I want to see on the field.”

The friendly at Wembley ives England the chance to gauge where they stand three years and four months after being beaten 4-1 by Germany in the World Cup in South Africa. Captain Steven Gerrard believes they are better off. “If we were to meet Germany tomorrow in a World Cup situation I don’t think we’d leave the pitch having been beaten 4-1. I do feel we are a lot stronger.”

England XI to play Germany Hart; Walker, Smalling, Jagielka, Cole; Gerrard, Cleverley; Townsend, Rooney, Lallana; Sturridge MORE

Aussie press target ‘loner’ Pietersen

With two days until the start of the 34th Ashes series it seems the Australians are already rattled.  A local daily newspaper in Queensland carried a front page picture of Kevin Pietersen yesterday with the headline: “He’s so arrogant not even his own team likes him.”

Armstrong doping ‘aided by UCI chief’

Disgraced Lance Armstrong claims the former president of cycling’s world governing body helped cover his doping. He said that Hein Verbruggen aided him to avoid a ban in 1999 by agreeing to a backdated prescription for steroid cream to treat saddle sores.

McKenzie tackles drinking Wallabies

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has suspended six players and cautioned nine others for drinking four days before their win over Ireland. Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nick Cummins, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan and Liam Gill have been dropped for one game.

Weidenfeller on guard for Germany

Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller will win his first cap against England at Wembley tonight aged 33. Germany coach Joachim Löw said: “He displays composure, is cool, calm and collected, and his goalkeeping abilities are beyond any doubt.” MORE

No Ashes banana skins for Siddle

Australia’s Peter Siddle has revealed how eating 20 bananas a day has helped him improve his game. “I did a lot of research about different ways to approaching my cricket and that’s the lifestyle I’ve gone down. I’m feeling fit and strong.”

Euro big guns need big improvement

If the European Ryder Cup team was chosen today, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell would need a captain’s pick. Westwood said: “My swing hasn’t been in sync all year, I’m sort of fumbling my way around the course.” MORE

Italy and Nigeria draw at the Cottage

Sunderland’s Emanuele Giaccherini scored twice as Italy drew 2-2 with Nigeria at Craven Cottage. The 28-year-old forward opened the scoring early on, before Bright Dike and Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi put Nigeria ahead before half-time.

Broad dismisses hecklers claim

Stuart Broad has hit back at claims he asked for two fans to be thrown out of the Sydney Cricket Ground during England’s final warm-up match. Broadcaster Jimmy Smith made the allegations on Twitter after the win over an Invitational XI.

Ireland set to bid for 2023 World Cup

Ireland are in the early stages of forming a bid for the 2023 World Cup. The Irish Sports Minister, Leo Varadkar, told delegates at an IRB conference that he would seek support from government colleagues next week.

Ian Herbert

The FA acknowledged last year, that 14- to 17-year-olds are dropping off from football in significant numbers, while a quarter of a million fewer people were playing the sport in the year to this July. MORE

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