The Sports Matrix: Friday 15 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Hodgson thinks Carroll can hurt Sweden

Roy Hodgson is considering playing Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck up front against Sweden tonight in Kiev.

Erik Hamren's side have conceded six of their last seven goals from headers.

"They have conceded a lot of goals off crosses," said Steven Gerrard. "It is an area we will be trying to concentrate on."

Hodgson is giving thought to keeping Welbeck but partnering him with Carroll, above, to exploit this weakness. Ashley Young would then move to the left wing; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would drop to the bench.

Hodgson and Gerrard said England would be favourites against the Swedes. "We have to accept that in the next two games we will not be underdogs and it is up to us to get the results," said Hodgson. Gerrard said: "With all due respect to Sweden, they are not France."

The Swedish former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson warned against complacency: "Sweden is a very tough opponent. It's in the heart and soul of every Swede to make life miserable for England." MORE

Moyes favourite to replace Redknapp

David Moyes and Roberto Martinez are the leading candidates to replace Harry Redknapp as Tottenham manager. Moyes has been at Everton for 10 years and is thought to be interested in a new challenge. Redknapp is keen to return to management. MORE

Torres double ends Irish hopes

The Republic of Ireland were knocked out of the tournament last night after losing 4-0 to a far superior Spain in Gdansk. Fernando Torres scored two goals and David Silva and Cesc Fabregas scored one each as Spain went top of Group C, ahead of Croatia. MORE

Italy draw again against Croatia

Italy recorded their second draw in two games, 1-1 against Croatia in Poznan. Andrea Pirlo capped a dominant first-half performance by the Azzurri with a perfect free-kick but Croatia fought back in the second half, equalising through the striker Mario Mandzukic. MORE

Larsson: We know the English game

Sebastian Larsson hopes Sweden's familiarity with the Premier League and English football will help in Kiev tonight. "I hope they suit us," he said. "I feel it's a special match and many others do too. It's a league we have grown up with and followed very closely." MORE

Finger injury gives Tsonga a scare

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered a fitness scare at Queen's yesterday after injuring his finger in a fall. The Frenchman hurt his little digit during his 7-6 3-6 7-6 defeat to Croatia's Ivan Dodig and the world No 5 could now be a doubt for Wimbledon. MORE

Gibson: Windies must find balance

The West Indies coach, Ottis Gibson, has stressed the need for his side to balance big hitting and safe play. "Everybody has a role to play," he said. "You can't have all six-hitters. It's finding the right balance, getting the right mix." MORE

Armstrong witness identities withheld

The identities of more than 10 cyclists and other witnesses who gave evidence against Lance Armstrong will not be revealed by US anti-doping authorities, for fear of retaliation or intimidation ahead of a potential hearing later this year. MORE

England turn to Joseph and Flood

Jonathan Joseph will make his first Test start against South Africa, after being named in England's XV for tomorrow's Second Test at Ellis Park. Toby Flood replaces Owen Farrell at fly-half and Ben Foden moves back to full-back. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The contrast between the preparations of England and Germany is remarkable. Roy Hodgson's team are hundreds of miles away from their games, Germany have secured the best facilities. MORE