The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 05 March 2014


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The Independent Online

Cole must see off Shaw for Brazil spot

Roy Hodgson set the stage for a straight shootout between the 106-cap Ashley Cole and 18-year-old new boy Luke Shaw for a place in the England World Cup finals squad, announcing yesterday that both left-backs will feature against Denmark at Wembley tonight. MORE

£85m Bale ‘doesn’t suit captaincy’

Wales may have a world-class talent in Gareth Bale, but former captain Kevin Ratcliffe believes the Real Madrid star should leave the armband for Ashley Williams. “Some players make good captains, some don’t,” he said. “I think Ashley fits the bill and Gareth is a match-winner.”

Barça legend Puyol reveals departure

Brought through as a winger, transformed into a full-back, but it was at centre-back where he blossomed. Carles Puyol’s announcement that he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season provoked tributes yesterday. The Spaniard was the master of reinventing himself. MORE

United to rethink Europa ticket prices

Manchester United are considering bowing to fan pressure after 73 per cent of those surveyed by the club’s Supporters Trust declared that they may not renew their season tickets if they were charged Champions League prices for Europa League seats next season. MORE

Ecclestone trial to fit around schedule

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that prosecutors have agreed to hearings in his forthcoming bribery trial on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so he can continue to travel to races. He also vowed that F1’s reputation has not been dented by the scandal. MORE

Hartley: We learnt a painful lesson

Ahead of Sunday’s Six Nations showdown, England hooker Dylan Hartley doesn’t feel the painful memories of last year’s 30-3 loss to Wales hinders them. “It’s been good to have it in the back of the mind, for fear of it happening again,” he said. MORE

Bopara ruefully takes finishing role

Ravi Bopara is not known for having a solid temperament, but England are still using him in an unfamiliar role. “If I was asked to go up the order, I’d snap off the hand of whoever makes the decision,” he said ahead of the deciding West Indies ODI. MORE

Dubuisson branded ‘new Seve’ in the US

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is the international man of mystery in the United States following his Match Play heroics, where he drew comparisons with Seve Ballesteros. “He certainly has the game to win a major,” said compatriot Thomas Levet. MORE

Froch v Groves II set for Wembley

Carl Froch and George Groves’ rematch has been confirmed for Wembley Stadium on 31 May, with the IBF and WBA super-middleweight titles on the line. Promoter Eddie Hearn said it was the “ultimate” venue. MORE

Paul Martin

For most of his Test career Graeme Smith averaged over 50, while he has played the most international games as captain in history. South Africa’s captain was brilliant, yet peculiar at times. MORE