The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 12 June 2012

 

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The Independent Online

Hodgson hails 'good platform' after England draw

The England manager, Roy Hodgson, said last night his team would push on after a 1-1 draw with France in Donetsk.

"We'll get fitter as well – match fitter," Hodgson said. "I hope this gives us a good platform." There are no new injury concerns for England, despite 90 difficult minutes in the heat. "The more we train and play, the fitter they'll become," said Hodgson.

While France dominated possession at the Donbass Arena, England defended firmly and took the lead through Joleon Lescott, who headed in Steven Gerrard's first-half free-kick. England were ahead for nine minutes before Samir Nasri drove the ball just inside Joe Hart's near post from 20 yards. There were few chances in the second half, although Hart was forced to save from Karim Benzema.

"I hope we've established ourselves [as hard to beat], but I've [only] had three games," Hodgson said. "Am I satisfied with those three games, and have the players done what's asked of them? Yes. But we've got Sweden now. Who knows? Let's wait and see. The longer we play together, the better we'll become too." MORE

Nadal wins record seventh French title

Rafael Nadal won the French Open for a record seventh time, surpassing Bjorn Borg's six titles on the Paris clay by beating the world No 1, Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. Djokovic said the Spaniard was "the best player in history on this surface". MORE

Shevchenko brace sends Ukraine top

Two goals from Andrei Shevchenko moved Ukraine top of Group D last night as they beat Sweden 2-1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put his side 1-0 up early in the second half but two Shevchenko headers in seven minutes turned the game. MORE

Advocaat prepared for 'tougher' match

Russia's coach, Dick Advocaat, has dismissed the idea that tonight's Group A game against co-hosts Poland will be easy, after his team's 4-1 win over the Czechs. "There are no easy games," he said. "I think it will be a tougher match than the first one." MORE

We must tighten up defence, says Cech

With the Czech Republic set for an early exit if they are beaten by Greece today, the goalkeeper Petr Cech demanded more discipline in defence than in the 4-1 defeat by Russia last Friday. "We cannot be too open at the back," the Chelsea goalkeeper said. MORE

Di Matteo set for 12-month contract

Roberto Di Matteo's success as Chelsea's interim manager has earned him another 12 months in the job. The club are set to appoint the Italian as permanent manager this week, on a short-term deal. Di Matteo is due back from holiday tomorrow. MORE

Flower backs ODI return of Bell

Ian Bell, left unbeaten on 76 by yesterday's Third Test washout, has been recalled for the three-match one-day series against West Indies that starts on Saturday. England team director Andy Flower said Bell "can adapt to any form of the game". MORE

Phillips delighted with London pick

Zara Phillips described her selection in Great Britain's eventing team for the London Olympics as "awesome". The Queen's granddaughter has been chosen alongside William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Piggy French and Tina Cook.

Blatchford considers action over selection

The British Olympic Association could be taken to court again over a selection challenge. Liz Blatchford, who was overlooked for the triathlon in favour of a woman ranked more than 100 places below her, has said she is considering legal action. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

England may not be Spain, Germany or France but they showed they have competitive character and realism under Roy Hodgson. It was hard work and might show the way to the serious end of the tournament. MORE

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