The Sports Matrix: Friday 22 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Hart ready to save or take in any Sunday shoot-out

England goalkeeper Joe Hart says he has done his homework in case Sunday's quarter-final with Italy goes to penalties – and that he would take a kick if required.

Hart has prepared by studying clips of penalties. "There's a big game on. I've not got a magic answer," he said. "I just know in my head what I want to do. If worst comes to worst on Sunday and it comes to penalties, I'd like to think I've got some kind of advantage."

Three years ago Hart scored a penalty for England in a European Under-21 Championship semi-final, and said that he would happily take one again. "I don't know if I'll be one of the five penalty-takers, but I'll definitely put my name forward," he said. "But we've got some quality players in this squad and if there are five other potentially better than me, I'll be cool with that."

Roy Hodgson will put on a full training session in Krakow today, and England are confident that Ashely Young will be fit. Wayne Rooney praised the mood in the camp. "We are more organised than ever and we are all fighting for each other. We all want to do this together, so I think we've got a great chance." MORE

Laudrup will not change formula

Michael Laudrup has insisted he will not make "change for change's sake" at Swansea after being unveiled as the Welsh club's new manager yesterday. "I would like to come in and see how things are here," the Dane said. "I don't think [change for the sake of it] is good." MORE

Waldrom and Goode make starts

Thomas Waldrom and Alex Goode have been handed first England starts in tomorrow's third Test against South Africa. Danny Care, James Haskell, Alex Corbisiero and Tom Palmer have been recalled by Stuart Lancaster for the dead rubber. MORE

Ronaldo heads Portugal through

A Cristiano Ronaldo header made Portugal the first side to reach the semi-finals, the Real Madrid player's late strike earning a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic. Ronaldo had the majority of the chances before his winner, being denied by both Petr Cech and the post, twice. MORE

Gibson envious of England's strength

Ottis Gibson believes England's current squad is the "envy of the world". "The English system has been a well-oiled machine for some time now," the West Indies coach said ahead of today's final ODI. "They are the top team in the world." MORE

Hummels praises German unity

Mats Hummels spoke of the spirit in the German camp ahead of their quarter-final with Greece tonight. "We grew up together. I have known many of them for four or five years so it feels more like a family. It is different because we don't have so many senior players." MORE

Blanc: It is normal to row after defeat

France manager Laurent Blanc said that the row after their defeat by Sweden was not a problem. "It is quite normal to have emotional discussions after a game. If they lose matches it is good that happens, to help improve." France play Spain in a quarter-final tomorrow. MORE

Murray learns from Chinese lesson

Andy Murray believes he has learnt his lesson from Beijing as he prepares to compete in the Olympics again. "I have learned from that and [will] do things differently," he said of his first-round exit in 2008. "It also gave me a kick up the bum." MORE

Kvitova out to follow Czech mate

Petra Kvitova says she dreams of emulating her hero, Martina Navratilova, as she prepares to defend her Wimbledon crown. "I have a really long way to go," Kvitova said of the nine-time winner. "When I was growing up, she was my idol." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

You cannot get out of your mind how the European Championship will be wrecked by expansion to 24 teams for 2016's finals. Michel Platini's plan is more than negligence, it is official vandalism. MORE