The Sports Matrix: Friday 16 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Arsenal and Chelsea await European fate

Arsenal and Chelsea, England's two remaining teams in the Champions League, will learn their last 16 opponents at lunch-time today. The two sides both won their groups, and so are in a favourable pot along with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. They will face group runners-up, the strongest of which are Italian sides Milan and Napoli. "There are a lot of top teams also in those runners-up spots," Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "One team with seven European titles [Milan] and, for sure, those will be the ones to try to avoid." An hour after the Champions League draw, Stoke, Manchester City and Manchester United will learn their Europa League opponents. MORE

Spurs out despite Dublin victory

Tottenham's European campaign ended last night despite a 4-0 win at Shamrock Rovers. Steven Pienaar, Andros Townsend, Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane all scored, but as Rubin Kazan drew 1-1 against PAOK Salonika Spurs finished third and go out. MORE

England support to dwindle at Euros

England supporters are unlikely to take up their full allocation for next summer's European Championship following the shortage and expense of Ukranian hotel rooms. Usually one of the best supported teams, many England fans will settle for watching on TV. MORE

Uruguay deny helping Suarez

A decision is expected today on the racism charge hanging over Liverpool's Luis Suarez relating to the match with Manchester United in October. The Uruguay embassy has strongly denied rumours that it attempted to aid Suarez's case. MORE

No decision on new Lampard contract

Andre Villas-Boas would not confirm yesterday that Frank Lampard would be offered a new Chelsea deal. He said that the midfielder's agent had contacted the club regarding a new one, but also that: "I'm not sure of the situation, we've not decided yet." MORE

Steyn races to Test bowling milestone

South African Dale Steyn yesterday became the second fastest bowler to reach 250 wickets as the hosts assumed control of the first Test against Sri Lanka. Playing his 49th Test, Steyn reached the milestone by snaring Tillakaratne Dilshan in the fifth over. MORE

Westwood cards 60 but rues missed putt

Lee Westwood remained disappointed after the opening round of the Thailand Golf Championship, despite carding a career-low 60. The Englishman missed a 15-footer on the penultimate hole to miss out on the magical 59. "It wasn't mean to be," he mused. MORE

Wheldon died after hitting post

IndyCar officials have determined Dan Wheldon was killed by blunt force head trauma after colliding with a post during a Las Vegas race in October. The double Indianapolis 500 winner was involved in a multiple pile-up during the final race of the 2011 campaign. MORE

Doncaster delay Cooke return

Doncaster have chosen to delay making a decision over Paul Cooke until the new year. The 30-year-old has been absent from the game for over a year but is keen to return and is seen by the Dons as a potentially key component of their promotion campaign. MORE

Froch out to restore British boxing pride

Carl Froch admits he is "the last man standing" following a poor month for British boxers. "There seems to be pressure on me to restore the pride in British boxing," he said ahead of tomorrow's fight with Andre Ward. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

After the decision to appoint Chris Foy – who handled Stoke v Tottenham atrociously – to a Premier League game tomorrow, it is impossible to know what it would take to persuade the authorities to embrace TV technology. MORE