The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 26 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Hodgson: We asked too much of below-par Rooney

Roy Hodgson has admitted that England expected too much from Wayne Rooney at Euro 2012, but said they would need more in future major tournaments.

Rooney only played England's last two games after suspension but struggled. "Of course, I think we put a lot of expectations on him," said Hodgson. "When he missed the first two games we were all believing that what we need to do now [is to] get to the third game and Wayne Rooney will win us the championships. That maybe was too much to ask of him. He tried very hard, but he didn't have his best game [against Italy]. I think he would admit that."

Hodgson insisted that England were no more reliant on their best players than other countries, but would need them to perform: "In all top international teams, you're looking at one, two, possibly three individuals that everyone recognises as being exceptional world-class talents and, when you get to the big stage, you're hoping those players perform and show they're world-class talents – the Maradonas that win Argentina a World Cup with his performance." MORE

Defeated Williams will not retire

The five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams suffered a surprise straight-sets loss to the world No 79 Elena Vesnina in the first-round yesterday. Despite the result, Williams says she won't retire. "There's no way I'm going to sit down and give up," the 32-year-old said. MORE

Djokovic off to winning start

The reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in the first-round yesterday. Six-time winner Roger Federer was also victorious at the tournament, blitzing past the Spaniard Albert Ramos in three quick sets. MORE

Watson begins with surprise win

Heather Watson started her campaign brightly with a 6-2, 6-1 win yesterday over Iveta Benetsova, who is 48 places above her in the world rankings. British No 1 Andy Murray will today start his campaign against the Russian former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko.

Ozil: German team performance key

Ahead of Thursday's semi-final between Italy and Germany, playmaker Mesut Ozil said it will be a team performance that will take Germany through to the final. "We just have to function as a team. That's the key," the 23-year-old said. "It's not Ozil against Italy." MORE

India unmoved by ICC reviews stance

The International Cricket Council again endorsed the compulsory use of the Decision Review System in all international matches yesterday. But the Indian board, which is less enthusiastic, said that its position was "unchanged". MORE

O'Brien scares off foreign challenge

There will be no overseas-trained challengers at next Saturday's Irish Derby for the second time in 56 years, such is trainer Aidan O'Brien's dominance. He has six entries this year, with Derby winner Camelot the 1-4 favourite. MORE

Barton no longer QPR captain

Joey Barton has been stripped of the Queen's Park Rangers captaincy and fined six weeks' wages after an investigation into his red card against Manchester City. Barton admitted that he had been "reckless and deserved every punishment". MORE

Rangers doomed to Third Division

Rangers look set to start next season in the Scottish Third Division, after St Johnstone, Aberdeen and Inverness yesterday announced their opposition to the re-formed Glasgow Old Firm giants being readmitted to the SPL. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Roy Hodgson made the best of what he had. The Premier League supplies a slim stock of adequate English players, who struggle at the highest level. We do not make great footballers. MORE