The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 29 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Mohali prepares for epic semi-final

There may be no bigger sporting contest anywhere this year than tomorrow’s semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali. Tickets are in huge demand, with the stadium holding just 34,000 people, and security in the city is understandably high. MORE

Kiwis shock with run to final four

The great overachievers of international cricket, New Zealand, are preparing for their sixth semifinal in 10 World Cups. It is a particular surprise, given their 50-over form on the subcontinent the past year; they were whitewashed by India and Bangladesh. MORE

Fahey confident before new season

A new turf season on the Flat begins at Catterick tomorrow, and Richard Fahey believes that his horses can make a lasting impression. “We’re trying to build the best yard in the North of England,” he said yesterday. MORE

Neymar likely to light up Olympics

Neymar, the teenager so impressive at the Emirates on Sunday, is likely to be part of the Brazil squad in next year’s London Olympic Games. Brazil have never won Olympic gold and may also include Premier League names Rafael and Sandro. MORE

Minister hoping to settle money row

Hugh Robertson, the Sports Minister, will meet British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan today in an attempt to end the financial dispute between the BOA and the organisers of next year’s games. MORE

Youngsters lose to Iceland comeback

The England Under-21 team lost 2-1 to Iceland in Preston last night. Stuart Pearce’s side took the lead through Nathan Delfouneso after 13 minutes. Arnor Smarason equalised just before half-time and West Ham’s Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson headed the winner. MORE

Laird excited for Masters debut

Scotsman Martin Laird is thrilled at the prospect of playing his first Masters next month, and believes that the Augusta course suits his game. “I played Augusta earlier in the month,” said the 28-year-old Glaswegian. “I’d never been there before and loved it.” MORE

Ghana can become Africa’s best ever

If Ghana win tonight they would be the first African team to beat England. It would be a fitting achievement; they could be the best African team of all time. They nearly reached the World Cup semi-finals, and have a generation of excellent youngsters. MORE

McLaren bullish over chances

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh believes his team can challenge Red Bull after a strong showing in the Australian Grand Prix. “We should have had two cars on the podium,” he said, after Lewis Hamilton finished second and Jenson Button sixth. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

How refreshing it is to hear Jack Wilshere state that he wants to be involved in England’s European Under-21 campaign this summer, rather than spending time on a beach or in a club. It is a matter for national celebration. MORE

Capello to make changes for Ghana

The England manager Fabio Capello will make a set of changes for tonight’s friendly against Ghana at Wembley. With senior players released back to their clubs, he will field a rather different XI from that which beat Wales 2-0 on Saturday. Capello has been criticised, including by Labour MP Andy Burnham, for not playing his strongest possible team, given that the match is a sellout. The match still retains interest, however. Jack Wilshere is likely to start in midfield, with Scott Parker on the bench. Andy Carroll will probably lead the line, while Leighton Baines will start at left-back. Capello yesterday defended his grasp of English, saying that he only need “maximum 100 words” to get his points across to the players. His communication skills were criticised after he returned the captaincy to John Terry but he said: “I think when I speak with the players they understand everything.” MORE

Captain Barry: No excuses for 2010

Gareth Barry will captain England this evening, despite losing his place for Saturday’s Wales game. Speaking about the defeat to Germany in last year’s World Cup, he said he was “not looking for an excuse,” despite not being fully fit at the time. MORE

City hit by Boateng and Richards news

Manchester City have been hurt by a defensive injury crisis. Right back Jerome Boateng may need surgery on a knee injury sustained on international duty, while Micah Richards is also struggling to be fit for the FA Cup semi-final with a hamstring injury. MORE

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