The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 6 June 2012

 

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The Independent Online

Southgate admits England must face up to limitations

England fly to Poland today for Euro 2012 but Gareth Southgate, a senior figure at the Football Association, warned that they would have to accept their limitations.

"I don't think we are in a situation where, at the moment as a country, we can go out there and outplay too many teams," said Southgate, FA head of elite development and soon to be technical director. "We rarely outpossess other countries, so we've got to think logically about how we set up and the best way to get results."

Southgate also suggested that in England's first game, against France, the priority would be to avoid defeat. "In certain games you have to accept the opposition might get more of the ball, so that tends to dictate what you do with your selection. While you want to win the first game in the tournament, if you lose it you have a mountain to climb."

"We have to have a realism about the situation [Hodgson has] been put into, the amount of time he's got to work with the team."

England fly from Luton airport to Krakow at 2pm today, having reconvened at their Hertfordshire hotel yesterday. MORE

Laidlaw grabs famous victory

Scotland remarkably won 9-6 over Australia in Newcastle, New South Wales, yesterday. Greig Laidlaw won it with a penalty, the game's last kick. Australia dominated territory and possession, but Scotland won there for the first time since 1982. MORE

Habana says Boks are ready for Tests

The South Africa wing Bryan Habana has denied that England will be helped by their extra preparation for the forthcoming three-Test series. "I don't think it gives them the upper hand," he said. "We have been toiling for 14 weeks." MORE

Benzema and Ribéry inspire rout

France finished their preparation last night with a 4-0 friendly win over Estonia. Karim Benzema scored twice and brilliantly set up one for Franck Ribéry before substitute Jérémy Ménez added a fourth in injury time. France play England on Monday. MORE

Welbeck: I feared I would miss out

Danny Welbeck feared he would not be fit for Euro 2012, after being injured in April. He said: "That night I went home and all sorts of emotion went through my head. It was very downheartening. At times I was thinking, 'Maybe I won't make it.'" MORE

Murray confronts in-form Ferrer

Andy Murray will face David Ferrer in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros today, his Spanish opponent having dropped just 25 games and no sets in four matches so far. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both endured five-set quarter-finals yesterday. MORE

Flower: Elite team players need rest

Andy Flower has defended his England selection policy, under which he has rested Jimmy Anderson for the next Test: "Would you enter your prize horse in every race through the year? Does Wayne Rooney play every game for Manchester United?" MORE

Gazidis seeks to pre-empt fan fury

The Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, has denied the club will repeat last summer's transfer struggles when they lost key players, saying: "The good thing about this summer is that there is more certainty in terms of our Champions League position." MORE

United reach deal for £12m Kagawa

Manchester United started their summer rebuilding yesterday with a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund's Japanese international Shinji Kagawa for £12m. Kagawa is an attacking midfielder who won the league in both of his seasons at Dortmund. MORE

Interview: Charles van Commenee

"I forgot the 'Plastic Brits'. I know in Olympic year all sorts of rubbish comes up. This is nothing compared to the major political issues of Beijing 2008." MORE

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