The Sports Matrix: Monday 25 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Same old story as England crash out on penalties again

England exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage to Italy last night, losing 4-2 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes. Ashley Young saw his spot-kick cannon back off the bar, before Ashley Cole's effort was saved by Gianluigi Buffon. Alessandro Diamanti then found the net to take the Italians through.

Cesare Prandelli's side hit the woodwork twice and appeared to have won with five minutes of extra-time remaining, only for Antonio Nocerino's header to be adjudged offside.

Roy Hodgson, above, saw his side enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, Glen Johnson going close, before Italy took control. Mario Balotelli missed a host of chances for Italy and Wayne Rooney might have won the match with a late overhead kick. Italy will now play Germany in Warsaw on Thursday, with Spain meeting Portugal the day before in the other semi-final in Donetsk. The final takes place in Kiev on Sunday. MORE


Wednesday Portugal v Spain

Thursday Germany v Italy

Murray focused on court form

Andy Murray is unperturbed by public perceptions as he seeks to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon title for 76 years. "I don't care about that any more," said the Scot of his public image. "If I perform on the court, that's what I care about." MORE

Phillips: Attention can help Team GB

Zara Phillips says focus on her status can help her team-mates this summer. "The focus on me is not an issue," said the royal, who will compete in equestrianism. "The other guys know me very well. Hopefully, all the attention we can use for the good of the team." MORE

Record-breaker Proctor qualifies

Shara Proctor spoke of her joy after breaking the British long-jump record in qualifying for the London Olympics. "It's older than me," she said of the record, which had stood since 1983. "It's a dream come true. I'm on top of the world right now." MORE

"Rubbish, stupid" France trail home

France's latest acrimonious failure has led to criticism from former players and pundits. "The levels of intellect and talent in that team are catastrophic," the former captain Jean-Michel Larqué said after the defeat by Spain. "Les Bleus are rubbish and stupid." MORE

Alonso records second win of year

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari became the first driver to win two races this year at the European Grand Prix yesterday. The Spaniard won a thrilling race in Valencia. Kimi Raikkonen was second and Michael Schumacher third. MORE

Hales inspires England to victory

Alex Hales hit 99 as England beat West Indies by seven wickets in yesterday's Twenty20 international at Trent Bridge. Chasing 173, Hales made the highest international T20 score by an England player. Ravi Bopara scored 59. MORE

Lancaster takes positives from tour

England's head coach, Stuart Lancaster, says he is more aware of his players' qualities after their series loss to South Africa. "We have a clearer understanding of strengths and weaknesses," he said, after Saturday's 14-14 draw. MORE

Djokovic: Andy can win a Slam

The world No 1 and defending champion, Novak Djokovic, has backed Andy Murray to win a Grand Slam title. "I really believe that [he will win one]," the Serb said. "It's not something that I just said. I really believe he has the qualities." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

There is a growing sense that if Vicente Del Bosque's Spain are on the point of history, it is with a game turning in on itself, celebrating an aspect of the game – possession and passing – for its own sake. MORE