The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 22 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Cole double sends West Ham through

West Ham set up a quarter-final trip to Stoke City with a 5-1 defeat of Burnley at Upton Park. Thomas Hitzlsperger scored first before two from Carlton Cole and a Winston Reid header made it 4-0. Jay Rodriguez pulled one back before Freddie Sears made it 5-1. MORE

Prior: World Cup as special as Ashes

England’s World Cup opener against Netherlands this morning will induce the same excitement in the players as the Ashes did, Matt Prior tells i. “The Ashes were very special”, he writes, “but so is this. The feeling is the same: we want to win it.” MORE

Strauss talks up Dutch opposition

Andrew Strauss will hope to avoid familiar disappointments in England’s tournament opener tomorrow. “You cannot underestimate teams like the Netherlands,” he said, “they have played a lot of cricket now.” MORE

Balotelli rage ‘not aimed at Mancini’

Mario Balotelli’s reaction to being substituted for Manchester City on Sunday was due to frustration with himself – rather than his manager. Balotelli was withdrawn after clashing heads with Krystian Pearce, and the striker was later taken to hospital. MORE

Bahrain’s grand prix postponed

The Bahrain Grand Prix has been cancelled following recent unrest. “We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon”, said Formula One rights holder Bernie Ecclestone. The race had been set for 13 March. The season will now start in Australia on 27 March. MORE

Song calls for focus amid fixture pile-up

Alex Song has said Arsenal need to be focussed ahead of a run of five games in 13 days, including the League Cup final and an FA Cup replay with Leyton Orient. “It is not very good to have another game”, he said, “now we need to be focussed”. MORE

England reject Lièvremont taunts

Toby Flood refused to rise to Marc Lièvremont’s bait after the French coach criticised England. “I quite like going to Paris,” Flood joked, “so it’s a little frustrating knowing they don’t like me over there.” England host France on Saturday afternoon. MORE

Mourinho takes mission to Lyons

Jose Mourinho continues his quest to win his third Champions League tonight as Real Madrid travel to Lyons. “I love the knockout competition because it favours the mentally strong”, said Mourinho, who won it with Porto in 2004 and Inter in 2010. MORE

Coach predicts a Woods resurgence

Tiger Woods’ former coach Hank Haney has backed Woods to end his losing streak at the WGC Match Play Championship in Tucson. “[Veteran pro John] Cook said it all clicked for Tiger on Monday with his swing. He should win next week.” MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

It does not matter to Roman Abramovich how much a manager knows about football. Just flick through the cumulative achievements of Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and now Carlo Ancelotti, who dangles in limbo. MORE

Terry’s message to Abramovich: Ancelotti must stay

John Terry last night warned Chelsea and Roman Abramovich against sacking Carlo Ancelotti in an appeal for stability amid their desperate run of results. Chelsea, who play FC Copenhagen tonight, have won just four of their last 11 Premier League games. “All the players,” Terry said, “everyone involved in the club called for that [stability], and we’ve got that in Carlo. He’s a great guy, a great manager. The players are 100 per cent behind the manager. He’s got complete confidence in us, and we do with him.” The club captain demanded that improvement be led by the players: “It now needs to come. At times we’ve had players out through injury and we’ve missed big characters at times, but it’s down to myself, Lamps [Frank Lampard] and Didier [Drogba], and the rest of the squad who have a responsibility, to look at their own form and characters and deliver.” MORE

Torres set to start in Copenhagen

Fernando Torres is likely to continue his pursuit of a first Chelsea goal from the start of tonight’s match. He will probably be flanked by Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka, with Didier Drogba dropping to the bench. David Luiz is cup-tied. MORE

Bogdanovic back in Davis Cup squad

Despite falling 86 places down to world No 378, Alex Bogdanovic has been recalled into Britain’s Davis Cup squad for next week’s Europe Africa Zone Group Two tie against Tunisia in Bolton. Bogdanovic has lost all six of his live Davis Cup rubbers. MORE