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The Sports Matrix: Monday 11 June 2012

England ready for French test, says Hodgson

The England manager, Roy Hodgson, said last night that his side could not be more prepared for tonight's European Championship match against France, despite his mere 40 days in charge. Hodgson, who is likely to set the pace of Manchester United's Danny Welbeck against an immobile French central defence, called on his players to put behind them the negativity of a build-up in which the squad have been portrayed as the weakest in many years. "It's been 40 days," Hodgson said. "But I'm really quite surprised that I'm as confident of what the players are going to show you and do for the nation as I can possibly be, and I can't say more than that." England's players were told the starting XI last night and the manager can call on John Terry, above, and Ashley Cole despite fitness concerns over the two Chelsea defenders. MORE

'Sloppy' defending costs the Irish

Sean St Ledger equalised for Ireland in their 3-1 defeat by Croatia last night but slated poor defending. "We conceded sloppy goals," he said. Mario Mandzukic's opener Nikica Jelavic's goal and a Shay Given own-goal gave Croatia the points in Poznan. MORE

Bolt unharmed in road accident

Usain Bolt walked unharmed from a car crash in Jamaica yesterday. The sprinter crashed his BMW at 5.15am at Half Way Tree, St Andrew. Asafa Powell, his Jamaican team-mate and rival, was present but he was travelling in another vehicle.

Italians let Spanish lead slip in opener

Italy's manager, Cesare Prandelli, was left to rue Cesc Fabregas' equaliser for Spain in a 1-1 draw in Gdansk. "There is regret at seeing our lead slip," Prandelli said. "The result was a fair one. Our intention was to play the game, not just contain." MORE

Tino has Best day to thwart England

Tino Best hit the highest Test score by a No 11, 95, as West Indies dashed England's hopes of victory at Edgbaston. Best shared a stand of 143 with Denesh Ramdin, who scored 107 not out, as the tourists reached 426 all out. England closed on 221 for 5. MORE

'Tornado' awaits co-hosts Ukraine

Oleg Blokhin admits that he does not know how his Ukraine team will handle national expectations when they face Sweden tonight. "[Hosting the tournament is] like a tornado that could throw us in an unknown direction," the co-hosts' manager said. MORE

Hamilton surges to first win of season

Lewis Hamilton came from third in the late stages to win the Canadian Grand Prix yesterday. The McLaren driver overtook Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel for his first victory of the season. The Briton now leads the drivers' standings. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

England, says Roy Hodgson, must live off scraps. They must abandon the idea that they can stand toe to toe with opponents of tonight's quality – this was evident when France scored an important victory at Wembley. MORE

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