The Sports Matrix: Thursday 15 November 2012


Superb Ibrahimovic scores four as England collapse

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so often mocked for his poor record against English sides, proved the bane of the country last night, the PSG forward scoring four goals as Sweden beat England 4-2.

England under Roy Hodgson, below, led 2-1 with 13 minutes remaining, before Ibrahimovic tore the makeshift defence to pieces, volleying home a fine second and finding the far corner with a free-kick for his hat-trick. The 31-year-old was still not finished, saving his best for last with his fourth in injury time. Taking advantage of Joe Hart's headed clearance, the forward struck an audacious overhead kick, his effort looping over the defence and into the unguarded net.

Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker, on his debut, had earlier replied to Ibrahimovic's first to give England an interval lead. MORE

Healy saves poor Northern Ireland

David Healy scored late on to rescue a point for Northern Ireland as they drew 1-1 with Azerbaijan. Rauf Aliyev gave the visitors the lead after five minutes before Bury striker Healy levelled six minutes into injury time. Northern Ireland remain fourth in Group F, nine points off the top. MORE

Rhodes leads Scotland to victory

Jordan Rhodes scored twice to help Scotland to a 2-1 victory in Luxembourg last night. The Blackburn forward netted two in the first half in their first match since Craig Levein's sacking. Elsewhere, the Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 at home to Greece, Jose Holebas scoring. MORE

United want Nike to increase kit deal

Nike may have to significantly increase their £303m kit deal if they wish to maintain their association with Manchester United. The Old Trafford side announced yesterday they had reduced their gross debt in the first quarter by almost a fifth – but it still remains £359.7m. MORE

Hamilton states his joy at return to US

Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to the return of the US to the F1 calendar this weekend. "I'm absolutely made-up that we're going back to the States," the Briton said of the five-year gap. "It's a fantastic country and a place where our sport truly deserves to be."

Dan ready to lead from the Cole-face

Dan Cole says England will attempt to exploit Australia's weakness at the scrum on Saturday. "Will we pulverise them? We'll attempt to do so," he said. "You're always looking for forward dominance, especially at the set-piece." MORE

Howley stands by Warburton decision

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has defended the decision to leave Sam Warburton out of tomorrow's match with Samoa. "With the six-day turnaround, it's important to freshen things up and make use of the competition for places," he said. MORE

Flintoff reveals eating disorder

Former England captain Andrew Flintoff has revealed he had an eating disorder in his playing days. "I would stick my fingers down my throat to make myself sick," he said. "I ended up losing 15kg. It became a very difficult habit to shake."

London bids for athletic worlds

London has submitted a bid to host the 2017 Paralympic Athletics World Championship. London Mayor Boris Johnson announced the bid, which would see the event staged at the Olympic Stadium, at an estimated cost of £8.6m. MORE

Kenny 'depressed' after track return

Jason Kenny has admitted he found it hard returning to training after his Olympic heroics. "Initially it was difficult," he said. "I had no morale, no motivation. There was a bit of depression there, post-race blues." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Roy Hodgson gave young debutants Raheem Sterling and Steven Caulker, left, time to interact with potentially brilliant England allies in Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young. MORE