The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 20 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Returning Rooney heads England into the quarter-finals

England reached the quarter-finals of the tournament with a nervy 1-0 victory against co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk last night, thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal on his comeback from suspension. Roy Hodgson's side now face Group C runners-up, Italy, in Kiev in the last eight on Sunday, avoiding holders Spain, who will face France.

Manchester United striker Rooney capitalised on a mistake by Andriy Pyatov to nod home from close range and the result, coupled with Sweden's beating of France 2-0, meant England topped Group D with seven points, completed the first stage unbeaten for only the second time in the modern era.

Ukraine were left ruing a mistake from the fifth official, who failed to spot a shot from Marko Devic crossing the line, and the co-hosts were left to follow Poland in making an early exit. MORE

Tottenham reopen Villas-Boas talks

The former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has resumed discussions with Tottenham Hotspur over the managerial vacancy at White Hart Lane. The club are also holding talks with the France coach, Laurent Blanc. MORE

Spain look to learn from reality check

The Spain manager, Vicente del Bosque, has defended his team's poor display against Croatia. "All teams have difficult moments and Spain is no exception," he said. "We were more tired than in previous matches. There were moments of quality but also of doubt." MORE

France lose but still go through

France were well below par in their final Group D match against Sweden in Kiev, losing 2-0 to allow England to top the group. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's and Sebastian Larsson's second-half goals condemned France to a last-eight meeting with the champions, Spain. MORE

Wiggins aiming for prologue success

Bradley Wiggins has stated his intention to start the Tour de France with victory in the prologue in Liège next weekend. "I want to start the race with a bang," the 32-year-old Team Sky rider said yesterday. "What a fantastic way to begin the race that would be." MORE

McEnroe: Lendl can teach Murray

John McEnroe believes Ivan Lendl's experience can help Andy Murray win a first Grand Slam title. "There was a lot of credibility Ivan could bring to the table," the American said. "This is the best situation Ivan could possibly hope for." MORE

British pair close in on world's top 100

Victories for Laura Robson and Heather Watson at the Aegon International in Eastbourne could help the British pair move into the world's top 100 next week. Robson beat Maria Sanchez and Watson overcame Greta Arn. MORE

England struggle to friendly victory

England recorded a 57-31 victory over the South African Barbarians North in the penultimate match of their tour, in Potchefstroom last night. Nick Abendanon scored a hat-trick and Jonny May grabbed two tries for the tourists. MORE

Cook finds perfect recipe for England

A century from Alastair Cook helped England to an eight-wicket win over the West Indies at the Oval, sealing a one day series victory. Dwayne Bravo's 77 helped the tourists to 238 for 9 before Cook's 112 steered England to the victory. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Roy Hodgson should offer thanks that some mysterious force, including maybe his own good judgment, allowed him to escape from what should always be known as the siege of Donetsk. MORE