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The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 11 September 2012


Virus worry for England ahead of Ukraine match

Roy Hodgson will discover this morning whether a virus in the England squad has ruled out any more of his players for tonight's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine after illness suffered by Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge forced him into three emergency call-ups yesterday.

Raheem Sterling, the 17-year-old from Liverpool who has played just 210 minutes of Premier League football, was the surprise choice, along with Southampton's uncapped Adam Lallana. The Spurs midfielder Jake Livermore, who made his England debut against Italy last month, was also called into the squad.

Walcott, above, was sent back to Arsenal yesterday after he woke up "violently ill", Hodgson said. Sturridge also missed training with stomach cramps, leaving the England manager with just 16 outfield players from the 21 picked in the original squad for his session at Arsenal's London Colney training ground.

Kick-off Tonight, 8pm, Wembley MORE

Under-21s qualify as group winners

England Under-21s will progress as winners of their qualifying group for the 2013 European Championship after a 1-0 victory over Norway at Chesterfield's b2net Stadium last night. The Sunderland striker Connor Wickham scored the only goal of the game. MORE

Alonso fearful of in-form McLaren

Fernando Alonso expects Italian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren team to be the strongest competition in the final seven races of the 2012 world championship. "At the moment they are in top form," Alonso said. MORE

Golden moments of London 2012

Relive the best moments of the summer in an i picture special – from Usain Bolt's treble to the 'Weirwolf of London', Olympics Correspondent Robin Scott-Elliot takes his pick. pages 48-49

Blokhin promises a sterner test

The Ukraine coach, Oleg Blokhin, has promised that England will face a far tougher battle at Wembley tonight than in their first 2014 World Cup qualifier in Moldova. "We respect England and we will try to beat them," he said. "I am preparing the players to play football." MORE

Crouch to stay out of England fold

Despite England's recent withdrawals, Roy Hodgson said that he would not consider Peter Crouch, the Stoke City striker who has 22 goals in 42 England caps, as a late call-up to his squad because the player rejected the chance to go on standby for Euro 2012. MORE

England wait on Sharples injury

Gloucester are awaiting a medical update on their international wing Charlie Sharples, who picked up a shoulder injury on Saturday. The 23-year-old has been named in the senior England squad for the forthcoming Twickenham Tests. MORE

Cavendish loses sprint to Howard

Great Britain's Mark Cavendish was outsprinted by Leigh Howard as the Australian claimed victory on the second stage of the Tour of Britain. The Orica-GreenEdge rider just held off the formidable challenge of Team Sky's Cavendish. MORE

McIlroy confident ahead of Medinah

Rory McIlroy has said he aims to bring his fine form into the Ryder Cup, which starts in 17 days. "I'm playing with a lot of confidence right now." he said. "I'm confident in my ability, and confident with the shots that I'm hitting." MORE

KP likely to be left out of tour party

Kevin Pietersen's immediate future as an international cricketer will be decided today. He is not expected to be picked for the party which will tour India next month to play four Test matches. MORE

Levein: Macedonia not win or bust

Craig Levein has described the idea that Scotland's 2014 World Cup qualification hopes are in danger after one Group A game as "nonsense". The Scots drew their first match 0-0 against Serbia on Sunday and take on Macedonia, also at home, in Group A tonight. MORE