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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 6 February 2013


Hodgson to give Cole 100th cap for Brazil showcase

England manager Roy Hodgson will start Ashley Cole tonight for the friendly against Brazil at Wembley, when the player will win his 100th cap. Hodgson said that Cole, a divisive figure, deserved a good reception from the Wembley crowd tonight.

"I see no reason for England fans not giving him the credit and reception and the admiration he deserves playing his 100th game," said Hodgson. "If you are an England fan and don't respect or love someone for doing that, then that's your problem and not his."

There are no plans to make Cole captain for the occasion, as has been the case in the past because, in Hodgson's view, he has never "pushed to be a potential captain".

Jack Wilshere will also begin the game for England alongside Steven Gerrard in midfield, the Arsenal midfielder's first start for his country since June 2011.

Hodgson also conceded that he has very few options in attack, with Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe having already withdrawn. MORE

Adlington retires at the age of 23

Great Britain's double Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington has retired. The 23-year-old from Mansfield became Britain's first female to win Olympic gold in the pool in 48 years, with 400m and 800m freestyle victories at the 2008 Beijing Games. MORE

Scolari: It hurt to turn down England

Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has said that rejecting the chance to manage England still "hurts". Scolari, who is preparing his country to face England tonight, ruled himself out of contention to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2006 after media intrusion. MORE

England's women through in India

England took West Indies apart to win by six wickets in the Women's T20 World Cup, booking their place in the Super Six. Danielle Wyatt hit 40 runs for England, while Anya Shrubsole took four wickets. MORE

Britain's Fed Cup hopes are high

Britain's women are this week hoping to reach the Fed Cup's elite World Group for the first time in 20 years, and the emergence of Heather Watson and Laura Robson could see the team, captained by Judy Murray, take a significant step. MORE

McLeish lasts just 41 days at Forest

Nottingham Forest manager Alex McLeish has left the Championship club by mutual consent after 41 days in charge. The 54-year-old Scot cited "a difference of understanding of the development strategy" as the reason for his exit. MORE

Ince helps England take down Swedes

England Under-21s romped to a 4-0 victory over Sweden Under-21s at Banks's Stadium in Walsall last night. Tom Ince scored either side of Jonjo Shelvey's first-half goal, with Conor Wickham heading in England's fourth. MORE

Harley and Ford come in for Scots

Scotland will make two changes to the line-up for the Six Nations meeting with Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday. Rob Harley replaces injured Alasdair Strokosch at blind-side flanker, while hooker Ross Ford comes in for Dougie Hall. MORE

Authorities look at fixing allegations

Hungarian authorities expect to complete their investigation into match-fixing by the end of this month amid allegations that a Debrecen player was involved in attempts to fix a Champions League match against Liverpool at Anfield in 2009, which Liverpool won 1-0. MORE

Players' delegation offers Gazza help

The England captain Steven Gerrard said yesterday that a players' delegation from the national team has approached the Football Association and pledged to offer help over the plight of Paul Gascoigne, whose recent mental state has been a cause for concern. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is in the first stage of his attempt to repeat his achievement of 2002, when Brazil astounded a doubting nation and a scepti-cal football world with a fifth global triumph. MORE