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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 20 November 2013
Ronaldo’s stunning hat-trick ensures Portugal qualify
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning hat-trick as Portugal qualified for a fourth straight World Cup finals, beating Sweden 3-2 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate in their play-off. Ronaldo’s drive put Portugal ahead before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice, but the Portuguese winger struck two more goals in quick succession to seal his side’s place in Brazil. France, meanwhile, became the first European team to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit, reaching the World Cup with a 3-0 win over Ukraine. Mamadou Sakho scored twice and Karim Benzema (above) also struck as France progressed. MORE
Mertesacker goal gives Germany win at Wembley
Per Mertesacker scored the only goal as Germany beat England 1-0 in a friendly at Wembley. Mertsesacker’s goal in the 39th minute came just moments after goalkeeper Joe Hart had saved brilliantly from the Germany captain, diving to his left to push the ball around the post. When Toni Kroos crossed from the right Mertesacker (left) beat Chris Smalling to the ball and opened up the angle to head it across Hart and into the far corner. England’s best chance came when Andros Townsend struck a shot against the post but their attacks were in vain as Roy Hodgson’s team suffered their second friendly defeat at Wembley in four days. MORE
Wales call up teenager Amos
Wales have made 11 changes for their game with Tonga, which will be Warren Gatland’s 100th match as an international coach. Hallam Amos, 19, will make his debut while Ryan Jones replaces Sam Warburton as captain. MORE
Archibald in GB squad for Mexico
Katie Archibald has been promoted to the Great Britain team for the second round of the Track World Cup in Mexico next month. The 20-year-old won European team pursuit gold with Britain last month.
Button optimistic despite dire season
Jenson Button remains hopeful that McLaren can end their worst season for 33 years on a high at the Brazilian GP on Sunday. “I don’t think we’re far off the pace,” said the Briton. “We have to aim for a podium [finish].”
It’s not ideal our vice-captain Matt Prior (left) is an injury doubt, but Jonny Bairstow will be well prepared to perform if he ends up coming into the side during the series. MORE
Pietersen rejects talk of retirement
Kevin Pietersen insists he has no intention of retiring any time soon as England prepare for the first Ashes Test. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it’s my opinion that I’ll be playing for a while yet,” he said. MORE
Gibraltar manage draw on big debut
Gibraltar drew 0-0 with Slovakia yesterday, in the British colony’s first match as a fully recognised senior international side. The friendly was played at a virtually empty Estadio do Algarve, in Portugal, which can hold 30,000 fans.
Strict Aussie rules for Olympians
Australian Olympians must now abide by stringent rules. They face the possibility of disciplinary action not only for consuming alcohol but also for “having rambling conversations” and “talking boisterously”. MORE
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