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The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 27 July 2011

Larsson misery for poor Rangers

Rangers went down to a dissappointing 1-0 home defeat to Malmo in the first leg of the Champions League third-qualifying round tie last night. Daniel Larsson powered home after 18 minutes, leaving Rangers having to win in Sweden next Wednesday to progress.

‘We’re not ready for Games... yet’

Charles van Commenee says there is still work to do before British athletes are ready for next year’s Games. “We’ve still got athletes who are underperforming at the moment,” the head coach said. “We need those 12 months to turn that around.” MORE

Wiggins to fight on two fronts in 2012

Bradley Wiggins will race in the 2012 Tour de France, despite the Olympics: “I’m not willing to give that up for a year, to go on the track in a team event where I would have to rely on three people being as fit as I am.” MORE

McLeish offers second chances

Alex McLeish admits he will have to build his Aston Villa team around players who struggled under previous regimes: “We will be looking at one or two of the players who have been a little bit gone. Players ... who have yet to make an impact.” MORE

Clarke dreaming of an Open double

Darren Clarke says it would be “a dream come true” if he were to follow up his Open success with victory in the Irish Open this weekend. “It would be a hell of an achievement,” the 42-year-old said. “To do the double would be unbelievable.” MORE

France could stand in England’s way

England might have to play France in the qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, which is drawn in Brazil on Saturday night. Fifa will confirm tonight that France are in the second pot of seeds, while England keep their place in the top pot of nine teams. MORE

Eager Cecil praises maturing Frankel

Sir Henry Cecil hopes Tom Queally can preserve Frankel’s unbeaten record in today’s showdown with Canford Cliffs in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. “Hopefully, this race will go right,” Cecil said. “This horse is determined, he is growing up an awful lot.” MORE

Clubs using data to find new players

For those Premier League clubs who struggle to afford in-depth scouting, statistical analysis is becoming more important. Programmes such as Opta’s Data Scout and Prozone’s Recruiter are used to help clubs identify potential transfer targets. MORE

Wakefield staying in Super League

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will remain in the Super League after Crusaders’ surprise decision to withdraw their application to stay in the competition. The club had been expected to miss out following stadium issues and financial troubles. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

English cricket in general and the MCC deserve the highest praise for the uplifting brilliance of People’s Monday at Lord’s. It was an ultimate advertisement for the rewards of enlightened sports administration. MORE

Flower: ICC weak on DRS dilution

The England coach, Andy Flower, has accused the ICC of a lack of leadership after the dilution of the Decision Review System for the summer’s Test series with India. “I think the ICC should be stronger in taking a lead on these issues,” Flower said of the governing body, who allowed their policy to be changed for this series. “They are the world governing body and they should lead. I don’t think it’s unfair to say they haven’t led on this topic.” There can be no reviewing of lbw decisions this series, and England were denied two clear dismissals on Monday as their quartet of bowlers sought to clinch the necessary Indian wickets for the win at Lord’s. “We almost saw it happen in this Test match,” Flower said. “It would have been wrong if the outcome of the game had been seriously affected by a couple of those decisions and it was quite right that, luckily, we did continue to create chances. It is unsatisfactory the way it is, there is no doubt about that.” MORE

Lancashire start well at Southport

Lancashire bowled Nottinghamshire out for 203 yesterday on the first day of their County Championship game at Southport, asKyle Hogg took 5 for 28. But Lancashire finished the day on 86 for 4, with Andre Adams taking three late wickets. MORE

Thomas next out of the door at the RFU

Peter Thomas has become the latest director to leave the Rugby Football Union. Thomas, corporate communications and public affairs director, leaves after a long sequence of resignations at the top of the RFU. The body is without a chairman or chief executive.