The Sports Matrix: Thursday 14 June 2012


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Hodgson concedes that Ukrainian heat is an issue

Roy Hodgson admitted last night that the heat of Ukraine is tiring his England players as they prepare for tomorrow’s group game with Sweden in Kiev.

Though all players except for Martin Kelly started training yesterday, the entire probable first XI disappeared after the television cameras had stopped filming.

Hodgson admitted that his concerns went beyond the midfield pair of Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard: “When you come to the third game [against Ukraine] we are going to be careful with all the players, not just Steven and Scott, because three games in the Ukraine heat takes it out of everybody.”

Wayne Rooney, who arrived with a two-game ban, will return against Ukraine on Tuesday. “When we talk about Sweden we talk a lot about [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, he is a world-class player” Hodgson said. “We have one of those in our squad and his name is Wayne Rooney. He is a world-class player and no doubt when he gets himself on to the field we will be a much stronger attacking force.” MORE

Murray outclassed on grass by Mahut

Andy Murray’s stuttering form continued as he lost to the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s. The 25-year-old, who has been hampered by a back injury recently, had trouble keeping his footing during a 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 defeat. MORE

Grabarz happy to go the full monty

The British high jumper Robbie Grabarz says he had no qualms about posing naked for Attitude magazine. “I have no regrets, I had a great time,” he said. “I don’t have a problem about being naked anyway, it was great fun.” MORE

Wade at the treble in England victory

England recorded a ragged victory over SA Barbarians South in Kimberley, their first win of the tour. Eight tries, including a hat-trick from Wasps’ Christian Wade, helped the tourists to a 54-26 victory. The Leicester No 8 Thomas Waldrom scored twice. MORE

Cook report may lead to court battle

Aaron Cook’s chances of competing in London look likely to be settled in court. The taekwondo world No 1’s representatives have sent a letter to the British Olympic Association, outlining their case against his non-selection. MORE

Gomez goals sink poor Dutch side

Germany moved towards the quarter-finals last night with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands. Mario Gomez scored two  first-half goals, both set up by Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Netherlands lacked fluency and despite Robin van Persie’s goal could not equalise. MORE

Portugal saved by late Varela strike

A late winner from Silvestre Varela saw Portugal beat Denmark 3-2 in Lviv. Pepe and Helder Postiga had put Portugal 2-0 up but two Nicklas Bendtner headers looked to have rescued the game for Denmark. Varela’s strike came three minutes from time. MORE

Gayle content to be back in the groove

Chris Gayle spoke of his relief yesterday after returning to the West Indies team for the first time in 15 months. “It’s good to be back,” he said after helping his side beat Middlesex. “I started a bit nervous but things came along well.” MORE

Woods the man to beat as Open starts

The US Open begins tonight with Tiger Woods among the favourites to take the title in San Francisco. The American has roared back to form as he seeks to win a first major in four years and close in on Jack Nicklaus’ 18-major record. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Joachim Low’s muted celebrations last night showed his certainty in the German method. They keep re-making themselves, always with a relentless way of playing and thinking. MORE