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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 11 September 2013

Giles defends team following criticism

Ashley Giles has maintained a depleted England one-day squad is capable of giving Australia a game, despite criticism from Michael Vaughan. "It's harsh," the coach said. "This is an exciting side to come and watch." MORE

Lacklustre England make their point to remain on course

England remain on top of Group H and with their World Cup qualifying fate in their own hands after stumbling to a goalless draw in Ukraine last night.

Despite failing to convince for long periods, Roy Hodgson, left, saw his side leave the Olympic Stadium requiring two home wins in next month's final qualifiers to reach next year's finals in Brazil. Frank Lampard, on his 100th appearance for his country, went close with a header in the closing minutes, after Theo Walcott limped off injured.

"Had we thrown caution to the wind, we'd have come out with a 0-1 which would have virtually ended our hopes of topping the group," Hodgson said.

"I don't think it was top class but defensively we were solid," added captain Steven Gerrard. "It gives us the final two games to win. It's a different type of pressure but we are capable of getting the job done." MORE

English and French sides to leave Heineken Cup

The future of the Heineken Cup was in severe doubt last night after the leading clubs in England and France confirmed plans for a rival two-nation tournament to begin next season. Provincial and regional teams in the other major European nations – Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – have been given six weeks to join them in the new venture.

"We made it clear more than a year ago that we would withdraw from the Heineken Cup [won last season by Jonny Wilkinson, left, and Toulon] as it is currently constituted at the end of this season." said Mark McCafferty, chief executive of Premier Rugby, the organisation that is representing English top-flight clubs.

"We've put forward proposals to [change it], but there has been no movement. Now we need to crack on and put something in place." MORE

Northern Ireland slump to defeat

Northern Ireland went down to a 3-2 defeat in Luxembourg, handing the hosts only their fourth World Cup qualifying victory, while in Group C, a late David Alaba goal helped Austria beat Republic of Ireland 1-0. MORE

Maloney magic earns Scots win

Shaun Maloney's last-minute free-kick earned Scotland a 2-1 win in Macedonia after Ikechi Anya's earlier strike had been cancelled out. Elsewhere in Group A, Wales were well beaten 3-0 at home by Serbia. MORE

In a golden era for men's tennis

Rafael Nadal's comeback from injury, which reached a new peak with his victory over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final, is surely the most extraordinary triumph of all. MORE

England pitch for 2018 World Cup

England will bid for the 2018 Women's World Cup in London as part of moves to help grow the game here. England Hockey have also made tenders for the Men's Champions Event and World League semi-finals.

McQuaid attacks Cookson tactics

Pat McQuaid claims Brian Cookson indulged in "gangster politics" in the latter's bid to derail his campaign for re-election as UCI president. "I have given my all over the past eight years," McQuaid said. MORE

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