Tag Archives: fairness

Phil Jones and Jonny Evans injured Manchester United v Real Madrid

Ferguson facing defensive headache for Madrid after Evans and Jones are forced off

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

18:03 GMT, 10 February 2013

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UPDATED:

18:14 GMT, 10 February 2013

Manchester United's preparations for their Champions League showdown with Real Madrid have been hit by two fresh injury blows.

United face Jose Mourinho's side at the Bernabeu on Wednesday but could be without Phil Jones and Jonny Evans who were forced off with injury in United's 2-0 win over Everton at Old Trafford this afternoon.

Ferguson could now be left with a defensive headache for his side's trip to Spain.

Blow: Phil Jones was injured tackling Everton's Kevin Mirallas

Blow: Phil Jones was injured tackling Everton's Kevin Mirallas

Manchester United's Phil Jones (right) is substituted for Michael Carrick (left)

The news is unlikely to ease Ferguson's anger that United's game against Everton was played today, just three days before the crunch European clash.

'There's no fairness at all,' he said. 'It's ridiculous to think that we play on Sunday and Real Madrid play on Saturday with that extra day's rest. We're not giving our teams a chance to be successful in Europe. Leagues in other countries make sacrifices for their teams.

'It's nothing to do with the FA, it's the Premier League. They agreed a contract with TV and they're in control. It's pointless complaining about these things all the time.'

Scramble: Jonny Evans was also forced off as United won at Old Trafford

Scramble: Jonny Evans was also forced off as United won at Old Trafford

David De Gea and Javier Hernandez in Manchester United penalty contest

No wonder Man United struggle to score from the spot! De Gea and Hernandez practice backheel penalties

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UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 11 December 2012

Manchester United have been hit and miss from the penalty spot this season but it seems there is more to the
Premier League leaders struggles from 12 yards than just bad luck.

Sir Alex Ferguson may be the most
experienced manager at the top of the game right now but his penalty
taking training sessions could do with a bit of tinkering judging by
this video of David De Gea and Javier Hernandez practicing spot-kicks.

Cheeky: Hernandez takes on De Gea in back heel penalty challenge

Cheeky: Hernandez takes on De Gea in back heel penalty challenge

The duo took six back heel penalties between them and failed to score any, which is a record only slightly worse than the Red Devils this season.

In all seriousness the footage, that emerged back in July, is typical of a scene at any Premier League club during pre-season as players return from their summer break.

Watch the video…

And in fairness to Hernandez, he is very unlucky not to score all three of his strikes with all three efforts coming back off the post – two of them leaving De Gea helpless.

As for the Spanish goalkeeper, his first 'little pea' roller was so poor that Chicharito nearly dived past it trying to save it. But unlike the Mexican at least the goalkeeper managed to hit the target every time – Wayne Rooney take note.

Mark Hughes vows to fight on at QPR

Harry come and save us! Fans call for Hughes to go but QPR boss vows to fight on

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UPDATED:

18:57 GMT, 17 November 2012

Under-fire manager Mark Hughes bemoaned the worst display of his QPR tenure but vowed to fight on after defeat to fellow strugglers Southampton.

Much was made of the game's importance to the future of both the Welshman and Saints boss Nigel Adkins, whose side headed to Loftus Road a point and a place better off than the hosts.

QPR, though, failed to turn up and went off at half-time to a chorus of boos, having deservedly fallen behind to Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon goals.

Come in, Harry: Mark Hughes has vowed to fight on at QPR despite the fans turning on him

Come in, Harry: Mark Hughes has vowed to fight on at QPR despite the fans turning on him

Come in, Harry: Mark Hughes has vowed to fight on at QPR despite the fans turning on him

Junior Hoilett clawed one back four minutes into the second half but Southampton ensured a 3-1 victory courtesy of a late Anton Ferdinand own goal, leaving the Rs without a win this season and their manager under increasing pressure.

Asked if it was the worst QPR performance of his time in charge, Hughes said, 'Yes, without a shadow of a doubt.

'Today there was not that intensity. We weren't on the front foot, we weren't anticipating anything, we weren't aggressive enough. All the fundamentals that you need to build a performance [were not there].

'Maybe the anxiety of the significance of the game filtered through to them but, come on, the vast majority of them are very experienced.

'It shouldn't affect them in that manner and it surprised me that possibly it did. I can well understand the reaction [from the fans]. In fairness, it was exactly my reaction to that performance.

'We are not going to hide or try to make it positive out of a very big negative because it was a huge game for everybody connect with Queens Park Rangers, including myself, players, staff and fans.

'We have not performed, unfortunately, so when that happens it puts us in a situation that no-one anticipated this year but we are where we are.'

QPR chairman Tony Fernandes has previously been forthright in his public backing of Hughes, who insists he has no intention of walking away.

'I don't run away from challenges,' he said. 'This is a huge challenge. It was a huge challenge in January when I undertook it.

'There weren't too many people queuing up when I decided it was the right role for me. I knew it was going to be problematic. We all understood that.

Out of ideas: Try as they might, QPR just couldn't find a way back against Southampton

Out of ideas: Try as they might, QPR just couldn't find a way back against Southampton

'This year we obviously had real expectations and I was quite prepared to raise expectations because I thought we would have a good season.

'It hasn't quite happened, unfortunately, and because we have raised expectations more people are disappointed.'

Some QPR fans held up a sign saying 'Harry, come and save us', referring to former Tottenham boss Redknapp, and Southampton boss Adkins feels for the pressure today's result heaps on his opposite number.

'It's obviously my first year in the Barclays Premier League and you understand now the media attention intensifies,' he said.

'But Mark's a good guy, and you're always going to have the intensity of it. You understand that and you get on with it.'

Adkins looked relieved by the result in the post-match press conference and lauded his players' for their impressive display in west London.

'It was a good performance from us again today and it culminated in the three points we were after,' he said. 'I think it shows a good growing maturity about the players as well. We've come away from home and picked up three good points.

Net gains: Ricky Lambert got the ball rolling for Saints as they eased the pressure on Nigel Adkins

Net gains: Ricky Lambert got the ball rolling for Saints as they eased the pressure on Nigel Adkins

'You're in the Premier League and every game brings its own pressures, its own demands. We're after winning games of football. We're after developing the players.

'You could see again that we have players that are maturing all the time. There were some really good performances.

'We had a good defensive shape about ourselves today. We know we can score goals, we scored three goals away from home.

'There is a confidence growing all the time amongst the players we've got. In the Premier League, you're always going to get the media attention and when you're at the top or the bottom it is only going to intensify.'

Asked if he thinks the result helps to relief the pressure on his own position, Adkins added: 'I am a manager in the Premier League.

'You guys (the media) are always going to keep the pressure on everybody.'

Mark Hughes rues wasteful Queens Park Rangers

Hughes frustrated by wasteful QPR after another defeat leaves sorry Rs rock bottom

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UPDATED:

19:46 GMT, 10 November 2012

QPR boss Mark Hughes was left rueing his side's profligacy after seeing their wait for a Barclays Premier League win this season extended to 11 games with this afternoon's 1-0 defeat at Stoke.

The Rs have sunk back to the bottom of the table following a contest in which they were the better side for long periods, only to be undone by Charlie Adam's 52nd-minute strike.

Adel Taarabt wastefully chipped over for the visitors when presented with a good chance just before the interval and was unable to convert further opportunities after Adam's goal, while Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic did well to keep out an Esteban Granero effort.

Rueful: Mark Hughes was frustrated that his side were unable to put in one of their many chances

Rueful: Mark Hughes was frustrated that his side were unable to put in one of their many chances

Hughes was in many ways satisfied with his team's display but was frustrated at their failure to make it count.

'We've had this conversation too many times after games unfortunately,' Hughes said.

'We played well as the away side – I thought it was a decent away performance.

'We restricted Stoke to very few chances. In general play I thought we were the dominant team in terms of how we wanted to get the ball down and play.

'But the key at the moment is that we have to take chances when they present themselves.

'We created good opportunities, but unfortunately didn't take them.'

Hughes was keen to defend Taarabt, rating the midfielder's overall performance as 'really effective'.

But the manager admitted a lack of a clinical touch had cost QPR, as well as hesitant defending for Adam's goal, with the ball being allowed to bounce through to the Scot when Jon Walters nodded a free-kick his way in the box.

'In fairness to Adel, I played him through the middle and I thought he was really effective,' Hughes said.

'He understood what was required, got in between the lines and was causing Stoke a real problem, certainly in the first half.

'If we had got a goal, I think it would have capped an excellent first-half performance for us, but it wasn't to be and you know that at those points in games, if you don't take your chances then there is always the danger you will concede at the other end.

Swing and a miss: Adel Taarabt chipped over the bar

Swing and a miss: Adel Taarabt chipped over the bar

Harsh lesson: Charlie Adam stroked home a loose ball in the 52nd minute

Harsh lesson: Charlie Adam stroked home a loose ball in the 52nd minute

'Stoke will always put the ball into the box and you have to deal with things dropping around you.

'Unfortunately we made a mistake, one of the few we made today at the back – I thought defensively we were very good today, better than we have been in recent weeks.

'At the moment, every mistake we make is getting punished.'

Although he has been publicly backed in recent weeks by QPR owner Tony Fernandes – who prior to kick-off had written 'Keep the faith. Panic is not what the doc ordered' on his Twitter account – the pressure is increasing on Hughes.

Asked if he had spoken after the game to Fernandes, Hughes said: 'I have not spoken to Tony – I spoke to him before.'

Stoke boss Tony Pulis expressed some measure of sympathy for his fellow Welshman Hughes, although he emphasised the importance of grinding out results.

'We have played games this year that we should never have lost,' said Pulis, whose team registered what was only their second win of the campaign and are up to 12th.

'He (Hughes) will be disappointed, with the chances they have created today, that they haven't scored some goals.

'But you need to eke out results.'

Wasteful: QPR dominated the game for long periods

Wasteful: QPR dominated the game for long periods

Wasteful: QPR dominated the game for long periods but could not eke out a result in the end

Tom Huddlestone vows to grow his until he scores again

Hair we go! Huddlestone vows to grow his barnet until he scores again

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UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 2 November 2012

Hair-raising: Huddlestone

Hair-raising: Huddlestone

When Tom Huddlestone vowed last year not to cut his hair again until he scored he must not have envisaged a 19-month goal drought. But that is exactly what has ensued.

In fairness, the Tottenham midfielder has been injured for the vast majority of the time since his last strike against Arsenal in April 2011, but he has kept to his promise nonetheless.

During his battle to regain fitness following ankle surgery Huddlestone has turned his afro into a weapon for charity as he aims to raise 75,000 for Cancer Research.

Huddlestone has so far raised 11,000, and although he is back playing regularly for Spurs, he says he'd happily let his hair keep growing provided Andre Villas-Boas' side finish in the top four.

'I won’t mind if I end up with hair down by my hips if we make it back into the Champions League next May,' the 25-year-old told the Daily Mirror.

'It started out as just a bit of banter with my mates, but although I’ve got more than a year’s growth up there, I won’t cut my hair until I score.

'I thought I would be back for the last three months of the season, and any growth would be manageable, but I suffered a setback towards the end of my rehab and it’s spilled over into this season.

Back in action: Huddlestone is back in the Spurs first-team

Back in action: Huddlestone is back in the Spurs first-team

'To make sure I stuck to my promise, I set up a page for Cancer Research and a lot of people have been kind enough to donate.

'I lost my grandad, and a few family friends, to cancer, and fortunately I’m not too concerned with the way I look at the minute.

'But if I play regularly and stay fit, I would expect to score at least once between now and the end of the season – and the barber will need a large pair of scissors.'

Huddlestone earned himself three England caps in the build up to the 2010 World Cup and just missed out on Fabio Capello's squad to go to South Africa.

Two injury-ravaged seasons have since set Huddlestone's progress back, but injuries to Mousa Dembele and Scott Parker have given him a chance in Villas-Boas's starting XI and the ex-Derby man is delighted to be back in the thick of the action and the think Spurs can finish in the top four.

Distant memory: Huddlestone drills home his last goal - against Arsenal in April 2011

Distant memory: Huddlestone drills home his last goal – against Arsenal in April 2011

'I like to think the top four will be our natural habitat as a club. We’ve been to the Champions League before, we’re aiming high again and it’s good to be back,' he added.

'Basically I’ve lost nearly 18 months of my career to injury at a time when I should be coming into my prime,' said Huddlestone.

'I had half-cemented a place in the team, we had finished fourth under Harry Redknapp and we were going well in the Champions League when I first picked up the ankle injury, and it was the start of a long struggle.

'Last year was a write-off and a nightmare, especially watching the lads do so well up until February, when they were in with a chance of the title, and then not being able to help out when results dipped a bit.

'Luckily, since we reported back for pre-season, I’ve been fully fit and I’ve enjoyed being involved with the boys again.

'Benni is the main man for Afros at this club, but he’s probably got two or three years’ growth there – I hope it doesn’t take me that long to score a goal.'

Dimitar Berbatov at Fulham for medical ahead of Manchester United exit

Berbatov set for Jol reunion as outcast United striker undergoes Fulham medical

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UPDATED:

12:26 GMT, 30 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Dimitar Berbatov is set to join Fulham after manager Martin Jol revealed the Manchester United striker is undergoing a medical ahead of a dramatic switch.

The move reunites Craven Cottage boss Jol with Berbatov after he brought the Bulgarian to the Barclays Premier League in 2006 in a 10.9million deal from German outfit Bayer Leverkusen to Tottenham.

Berbatov was in Turin and close to
agreeing a deal with Juventus on Wednesday night after the Italian
champions seemingly gazumped Fiorentina to his signature.

Interest: Fulham and Juventus have joined race for Dimitar Berbatov (left)

Interest: There's a three-way fight for Dimitar Berbatov (left)

The 31-year-old flew to Munich with the aim to take a connecting flight to Florence and speak to Fiorentina.

Juventus stepped in while he was at the airport and he missed the flight to Florence.

Juventus agreed a 5m fee with United and offered Berbatov 2m a year over two years.

However, Fulham made a late move in the hope of persuading him to stay in England.

The move prompted a furious reaction from Fiorentina who claimed the striker 'didn't deserve to wear our jersey.'

In a statement the club said: 'During today the English club had allowed their player the written permission to come to Florence for a medical and to sign his contract.

'The player got on the flight with his agent and on tickets paid for by Fiorentina. He never arrived in Florence. This was down to outlandish and arrogant behaviour of other clubs, who have nothing to do with fair play and sporting ethics that go even beyond the confines of fairness.

'As for the player, apart from his characteristics and his value on the field, we are happy he didn’t come to Fiorentina. He did not deserve our city, to wear our jersey or the values that represent it.'

Juventus director of football Beppe Moratta confirmed they have now switched sights to Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendnter.

Dimitar Berbatov transfer: Fulham make bid

Fiorentina blast Berbatov as Fulham hijack bid to land Man United striker

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UPDATED:

22:34 GMT, 29 August 2012

Fulham made a last ditch bid to sign Dimitar Berbatov in a dramatic chase for the Manchester United striker.

Berbatov was in Turin and close to
agreeing a deal with Juventus on Wednesday night after the Italian
champions seemingly gazumped Fiorentina to his signature.

Interest: Fulham and Juventus have joined race for Dimitar Berbatov (left)

Interest: There's a three-way fight for Dimitar Berbatov (left)

The 31-year-old flew to Munich with the aim to take a connecting flight to Florence and speak to Fiorentina.

However, Juventus stepped in while he was at the airport and he missed the flight to Florence.

Juventus agreed a 5m fee with United and offered Berbatov 2m a year over two years.

However, Fulham made a late move in the hope of persuading him to stay in England.

The move prompted a furious reaction from Fiorentina who claimed the striker 'didn't deserve to wear our jersey.'

In a statement the club said: 'During today the English club had allowed their player the written permission to come to Florence for a medical and to sign his contract.

'The player got on the flight with his agent and on tickets paid for by Fiorentina. He never arrived in Florence. This was down to outlandish and arrogant behaviour of other clubs, who have nothing to do with fair play and sporting ethics that go even beyond the confines of fairness.

'As for the player, apart from his characteristics and his value on the field, we are happy he didn’t come to Fiorentina. He did not deserve our city, to wear our jersey or the values that represent it.'

Juventus director of football Beppe Moratta confirmed they have now switched sights to Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendnter.

He said: 'We made all in transparency contacting the player after he refused to go to Fiorentina. Berbatov preferred stay in England for family reasons. Bendtner is available, we made an appreciation, but we can’t say we already bought him.'

Bernie Ecclestone sticks up for Silverstone over rain chaos

Ecclestone sticks up for Silverstone, saying racetrack have done 'a good job' amid weather chaos

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UPDATED:

14:14 GMT, 7 July 2012

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has defended Silverstone over the problems that have beset British Grand Prix weekend at the Northamptonshire track.

Continuous rain on Friday turned car parks into quagmires and left many spectators stranded in lengthy traffic jams outside the track.

That led Silverstone chiefs to advise up to 30,000 fans with public car park passes for Saturday's action to stay away from the circuit, which has been hit by further rain following a dry start to the day.

Torrential: The rain has dampened spirits at Silverstone

Torrential: The rain has dampened spirits at Silverstone

Ecclestone, who was himself advised not to travel to the track on Friday, has been one of Silverstone's harshest critics, but he admitted there was little that could be done in the circumstances.

Big supporter: Ecclestone

Big supporter: Ecclestone

He told Sky Sports F1: 'I'm not a big supporter of Silverstone, but in all fairness they've done a good job and the rain is not their fault.

'England has been flooded; people's houses have been flooded and they've been left stranded in the streets. So it is no different here than anywhere else.'

He added: 'If the weather was suitable for the car parks then things would be perfect. But because of the rain things are not dangerous but if you got in there you might not get out.

'It is difficult for them to do what they could have done, which was to cover all the car parks.'

Andy Murray v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Wimbledon 2012 semi-finals

WIMBLEDON 2012 LIVE: All the latest semi-final action from Murray v Tsonga after Federer defeats Djokovic

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UPDATED:

15:04 GMT, 6 July 2012

SW19 essentials

All the latest Wimbledon news

Full results from the singles

Join
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Wimbledon Championships.

We'll bring you all the latest news, scores and
pictures as they arrive from the All England Club, plus we'll have
game-by-game coverage of the key matches.

Our
unrivalled team of reporters at Wimbledon will bring you the latest
news and views from behind the scenes – and don't forget you can send
your comments throughout the day to [email protected]ymail.co.uk or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

16.03: Positive start from the British No. 1 who holds without too much trouble. Murray 1-0 Tsonga

15.58: Much has been of the role the crowd will have to play in this one. Tsonga is traditionally a crowd-pleaser and and he has a way of magnetising neutrals, while Murray is not one to gee-up support from the home crowd – certainly not compared to 'Tiger' Tim Henman. You get the feeling the Scot might need the crowd on his side in this one though.

15.53: The players come out to somewhat muted applause. I think, in fairness, most of them are out of their seats at the moment to stretch their legs between matches. The players will start warming up soon and the tension is definitely building…

15.49: It looks glorious out there at the moment and hopefully it'll hold out. One thing is for sure, if the next match is anything like the last then we're in for a treat.

15.44: With the sun shining (for a change) over Wimbledon, the roof is being opened for the second semi-final. Let's hope the All England Club don't regret that move later if it rains.

15.37: Up next of course is Andy Murray, who faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as he attempts to become the first post-war Brit through to men's final. Stay tuned!

15.34: Huge cheers from the crowd on that conclusion. No doubt they are delighted to see Federer back in the Wimbledon final. It's where he belongs after all.

15.29: GAME, SET AND MATCH! Roger Federer is through to the Wimbledon final! An ace out wide at 40-30 set up victory and from there the 30-year-old kept his cool to close out victory. Djokovic 3-6 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

15.26: Don't forget, the semi-final between Andy Murray v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga follows straight after this and confirmation has come through that the roof will be opened for it.

Fed express: The Swiss world No 3 was in sparkling form on Centre Court

Fed express: The Swiss world No 3 was in sparkling form on Centre Court

15.24: He needed deuce but Djokovic holds with an ace out wide that only just clipped the line. It's all out attack from the Serbian now – it has to be. Federer is about to serve for a place in the final. Djokovic 3-5 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

15.21: From Sportsmail's Alex Kay:

I'm not impressed with Djokovic's performance. So much so that I might throw away my Uniqlo puffer jacket and sky blue t-shirt.

15.19: That's brutal from Federer, who recovers from that setback of throwing away a chance of putting the match beyond Djokovic's reach to hold to love. Novak now serves to stay in the championships. Djokovic 2-5 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

15.16: It's the match's pivotal game. But in deuce, Federer is given no further opportunities to leave himself serving for the set as Djokovic manages to force Roger into firing into the net. Great comeback there from the Serbian. Djokovic 2-4 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

15.13: Novak is doing himself no favours. A ninth unforced error on the backhand and an impressive Federer winner, with Djokovic left helpless at the net, give the six-time-champion three break points.

But that is tenacity for you. Djokovic saves all three with Federer given very little chance to capitalise.

The world is watching: Djokovic fires a return at Federer

The world is watching: Djokovic fires a return at Federer

15.10: The Grass Court King is in his element. His first hold to love for a long time includes an ace and the pressure is back on Djokovic. Djokovic 1-4 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

15.09: Djokovic is in no mood to get dragged into another epic game though and quickly serves out to hold. Djokovic 1-3 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

15.07: Huge service game for Djokovic, he can't afford to go 4-0 down. A confident Federer levels at 30-30 with a strong forehand across court, but after Novak edges in front, the third seed brings deuce with a forehand winner.

15.02: Federer hasn't looked bullet proof on serve but he's stayed professional and a hold to 30 ensures the Swiss takes firm control of what he hopes is the final set. Djokovic 0-3 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

14.59: BREAK! It's a Djokovic collapse. The crucial point is at 0-30 where the Serb rifles well wide with an easy looking forehand to hand Federer three break points. The top seed saves one with a quite brilliant forehand that stayed low, but he over-hits again on the baseline to gove Federer another break. Djokovic 0-2 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

14.56: A chance for Djokovic to break straight back Not here, The fourth-set opener is level at 30-30 but Federer serves out. Djokovic 0-1 Federer 3-6 6-3 4-6

14.53: From Infostrada 2012:

Djokovic has come back from 2-sets-to-1 down against #Federer twice in Grand Slam play, at the 2010 and 2011 US Open.

Thinking time: Both players rest after Federer (right) took the third set

Thinking time: Both players rest after Federer (right) took the third set

14.50: BREAK! Perfect pressure scenario. Djokovic falls 0-30 behind after a delightful Federer forehand winner, but recovers to 15-30. However a simple smash to level falls far over the baseline and Federer has two set points.

He misses one but a long rally follows and Federer shows his opponent how the smash is done by claiming the third set, The crowd on their feet after that – great tennis. Djokovic 4-6 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.46: That's more like it, Roger! First-set Federer turns up as two serves out wide are too difficult for Djokovic to deal with and it's another hold for the Swiss. Djokovic 4-5 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.45: Huge break point for Djokovic who has been on top in this game, but Federer's strong serve down the T is too powerful for Novak who returns over the baseline. Deuce.

14.41: A more straightforward hold for Djokovic than his last service game as only a miscued forehand which nearly bounced in the crowd proved his only setback. Djokovic 4-4 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.38: Federer's fury at failing to break is all let out at the start of his service game as he fires an ace down the T. The third seed fires wide next shot but after that it's a straight path towards holding. Djokovic 3-4 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.37: From Sportsmail's Mike Dickson:

Definitely brightening at Wimbledon with Fed and Djok. Murray-Tsonga could well start outdoors.

14.34: Huge hold for Djokovic. It climaxes with the two players at the net but despite Federer showing cat-like reflexes to hit a volley, it sails over the baseline. Djokovic 3-3 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.31: Unfortunate for Federer who is bamboozled by Djokovic hitting the net-cord as he runs to the net, but the next point sees Novak hit an inch lower and it's back to deuce.

On the attack: Djokovic returns a shot against Federer

On the attack: Djokovic returns a shot against Federer

14.27: Federer has only had two break points all match but he is handed a third as Djokovic produces his second double fault. What follows is the point of the match. Both gain momentum with tremendous forehands but a wide shot from the Swiss star takes it to deuce, much to Novak's delight.

14.24: Djokovic looks to take the initiative by really attacking Federer, but two points that are inches away from being winners only find the net. Another error to over-hit the baseline sees Federer hold. Djokovic 2-3 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.21: The rallies are short which suits Federer but Djokovic isn't being troubled so far as he holds to 15. Only an overhit backhand causing the Serb problems. Djokovic 2-2 Federer 3-6 6-2

14.19: It's not vintage tennis by any means but this is really quite close as Federer holds to relative ease. The crowd are a bit quiet too as tension reigns. Djokovic 1-2 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.14: Djokovic mops up the mess though by denying any more break points and serving out. Djokovic 1-1 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.11: A look of anguish to the skies (roof) from Federer after an awful return at 15-30 denies him a chance of two break points. He wins the next point to set one up anyway but a another poor forehand flies well wide and we go into deuce.

Thumbs up from me: Wimbledon's 2001 champion, Goran Ivanisevic was in attendance at Centre Court

Thumbs up from me: Wimbledon's 2001 champion, Goran Ivanisevic was in attendance at Centre Court

14.07: Nerves for the Fed fans at the start as Djokovic opens at 0-15 but the third seed wins a morale boosting rally before holding with a slam dunk smash. Djokovic 0-1 Federer 3-6 6-3

14.04: No let up from Djokovic, who offers Federer a sniff at the start but no more as her serves out the set to love…with an ace. This match is flying by. Djokovic 6-3 Federer 3-6

14.01: Federer has the pressure of serving to stay in the set, but he produces his best hold in the second as closes out to love with an ace. Over to you Novak. Djokovic 5-3 Federer 3-6

13.58: It's official, Djokovic has hit perfection. Federer opens with a fortunate cross-court return but from then on it's all Novak. He holds with a cross-court winner that is called out but on challenge is proven to be in by a millimetre in – if that. Djokovic 5-2 Federer 3-6

13.55: Djokovic tries to become more adventurous as he approaches the net, but it's not his strong point as Federer holds fairly easily. Djokovic 4-2 Federer 3-6

13.53: From Sportsmail's Mike Dickson:

Very much a case of Djokovic finding his feet. 31 in 2nd. If Borg was a better mover he must have been superhuman.

Andy Murray currently warming up indoors across the road, Tsonga on next court. Drier weather expected after 3pm. Important.

Where's our roof Fans on Henman Hill take cover under umbrellas

Where's our roof Fans on Henman Hill take cover under umbrellas

13.50: If the first set was Federer's, this is Djokovic's. The Serb quickly races 40-0 ahead and despite the third seed trying to stop momentum with a challenge, Djokovic quickly polishes off the game with a love hold. Djokovic 4-1 Federer 3-6

13.47: Federer is in a rut following some more sloppy forehands as we go into our first deuce of the match. The Swiss star stops the rot though as he aces out wide before Djokovic returns a backhand off-court. Djokovic 3-1 Federer 3-6

13.44: The engine is fully up to speed for Djokovic now. He has won eight of the last nine points as he holds to love. Federer is starting to make a few errors now – forced and unforced. Djokovic 3-0 Federer 3-6

13.42: BREAK! Djokovic has become more aggressive and it's paying off as he picks up three break points. The first sees him fire over the baseline but the second is taken after Federer forehands into the net. Djokovic 2-0 Federer 3-6

13.40: Federer is not even looking where he is playing the shot as he volleys on the track line to make it 40-30, but a simple forehand into the net that follows enables Djokovic to hold. Back to basics Roger. Djokovic 1-0 Federer 3-6

Down and out: Djokovic lost the first set to Federer

Down and out: Djokovic lost the first set to Federer

13.37: From Infostrada 2012:

Federer wins 1st set. He is 5-2 against #Djokovic in Grand Slams when winning 1st set. Djokovic came back to win at US Open 2010 and 2011.

13.35: It's the Federer of old. The 30-year-old takes the first set with a hold to love and there really was nothing Djokovic could have done about it. The Serbs slip at the net when he was broken was the only glaring fault between the players. Djokovic 3-6 Federer

13.32: And there is the case in point. Djokovic holds to love playing the sort of excellent tennis he has all tournament. Now he has to somehow break down the Fed-express. Djokovic 3-5 Federer

13.29: Federer is on fire. Djokovic is not playing badly at all but one slip on his service game has cost him a break, and he just can't touch the Swiss's serve after only reaching 15 again. He now serves to stay in the set. Djokovic 2-5 Federer

First blood: Roger Federer produced the first break of the match

First blood: Roger Federer produced the first break of the match

13.26: BREAK! Djokovic is on his way to a simple hold as he aces for 30-0 but the Swiss star takes four straight points to take firm control of the first set. Djokovic 2-4 Federer

13.23: Federer also joins the ace club, firing two (no wall thuds though) as he holds to 15. Djokovic 2-3 Federer

13.20: Djokovic opens with an ace down the T (The best ones, because of the thud against the wall!) but Federer comes back into the game with a clever backhand while the Serb is at the net. That's the only concern for the top seed though who serves out. Djokovic 2-2 Federer

Star showing: Kylie Minogue (left) and Andres Velencoso watch on from the Royal Box inside Centre Court

Star showing: Kylie Minogue (left) and Andres Velencoso watch on from the Royal Box inside Centre Court

13.17: The Swiss holds to 15 again. The Serb searching for ways to get into the Federer serve challenges one, but few in the crowd are surprised to see the ball was correctly called in. Djokovic 1-2 Federer

13.14: An impressive response from Djokovic though who holds to love without breaking sweat. Errors nowhere to be seen so far. Djokovic 1-1 Federer

13.11: Easy hold to 15 for Federer, great way to get started for the six-time champ. Djokovic 0-1 Federer

13.08: Away we go as Roger Federer serves at the start of this semi-final.

13.05: Federer leads the head-to-head 14-12 but has won only one of the last five grand slam meetings against Djokovic.

13.00: It's been raining all day in London and that includes SW19 so no surprises that the roof covers Centre Court as the players make their way out.

Loud cheers for both with the indoor conditions only adding to the atmosphere.

Ready for battle: Roger Federer (left) and Novak Djokovic arrive at Centre Court

Ready for battle: Roger Federer (left) and Novak Djokovic arrive at Centre Court

12.56: From Infostrada 2012:

Federer has played 21 sets in @Wimbledon semifinals, and has won them all (via @DavidLawTennis).

I can't see that 100 per cent record continuing today. Djokovic is the favourite and I will be surprised if he doesn't win, let alone not winning a set.

12.53: And with that in mind let's focus on the first match of today. Djokovic v Federer, current champ v the legend – it's going to be utterly fantastic.

12.50: From Infostrada 2012:

Six of 10 GS meetings between #Federer & #Djokovic have been 3 sets (split 3-3), 2 have gone 4 (2-0 Fed), 2 have gone 5 (2-0 Djokovic).

Raring to go: Andy Murray (second left) arrives at Wimbledon

Raring to go: Andy Murray (second left) arrives at Wimbledon

12.45: Before we look at today's action in more detail, a glance back to yesterday, and the semi-finals on the women's side of the draw.

Serena Williams made it through to her seventh Wimbledon final after she brushed aside Belarussian Victoria Azarenka in straight sets. A report of that match can be read here.

And in the other semi-final, Agnieszka Radwanska became the first Pole to reach the SW19 final as she took just 69 minutes to beat Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4. That match report is here.

12.40: Sportsmail's Mike Dickson has written a preview of today's semi-final, and that can be found here.

12.35: Andy Murray's former coach Brad Gilbert says that Tsonga's backhand is his weakness, you can read his thoughts on the match here.

12.30: Good afternoon and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of day 11 of the Wimbledon Championship.

Coming up this afternoon we have British No 1 Andy Murray playing for a place in the final against Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. But before that defending champion Novak Djokovic takes on six-time champion Roger Federer.

Eye on the ball: Andy Murray is aiming to reach his first Wimbledon final

Eye on the ball: Andy Murray is aiming to reach his first Wimbledon final

Euro 2012: Roy Hodgson not worried by heat

The heat is on for England… but weather, flights and flies do not bother boss Hodgson

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UPDATED:

23:33 GMT, 10 June 2012

As 40 days turned to 40 nights in the evening sun here in Donetsk, Roy Hodgson was confronted by an almost biblical scene inside the ultra-modern Donbass Arena.

It was not just the intense heat, which could still be hovering around 90 degrees come Monday's kick-off at 7pm local time.

Scorcher: England's players take a break from training

Scorcher: England's players take a break from training

It was the insects, not quite a swarm of locusts but millions upon millions of blood-sucking midges, that had Hodgson and his England players running for the repellent spray.

/06/11/article-0-138ADDB1000005DC-739_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Bullish: Gerrard says England could not be better prepared” class=”blkBorder” />

Bullish: Gerrard says England could not be better prepared

Hodgson and Steven Gerrard nevertheless insisted that nothing would deter them from their task.

'We could not be better prepared,' said England's captain.

But, after four days in a
considerably cooler Krakow, it must have felt like arriving in an alien
land on Sunday – a land, more worryingly, that has been occupied by
France since last week.

If
we are talking suicidal, and it was a word both Hodgson and Gerrard
used on Sunday, it could be argued that it was suicidal to stay in
Poland when their group games are in Ukraine.

Laurent Blanc said as much last month.

In fairness to the FA, they have been a little unlucky.

They
were prepared to trade the extra travelling time for the more
comfortable surroundings of their Polish base but the heatwave here in
Donetsk has caught them by surprise.

The records will reveal the average temperatures for June in Krakow and Donetsk are much the same; in the low 70s.

Prompted
by a 'facetious' Frenchman who dared ask if England were a major
footballing nation, Hodgson responded last night by delivering something
of a history lesson and history tells us that punishing heat has not
always proved England's undoing.

Knees up: John Terry warms up for France clash

Knees up: John Terry warms up for France clash

England have melted in the sun in the past but they beat the French in Bilbao in 1982, Tunisia in Marseille in 1998 and Switzerland in Coimbra in 2004.

None of this, of course, was Hodgson's doing. The plans were put in place by Fabio Capello and the FA prior to his arrival.

But credit to the new England manager for backing his employers.

'The trip has been very well planned,' he said. 'I like being in Krakow. I'm convinced our performances will not suffer as a result.'

You could sense from Hodgson and Gerrard that they are itching for their campaign to begin.

Making light of problems: Roy Hodgson has not lost his sense of humour

Making light of problems: Roy Hodgson has not lost his sense of humour

Enlarge

france england.jpg

There was an amusing moment with Hodgson when a reporter listed the reasons why tonight could be regarded as rather daunting for his team.

The fact that Wayne Rooney was suspended, the fact that he has lost so many players to injury, the fact that he has had so little time in the job; the fact, for heaven's sake, that France are undefeated in 21 games.

'Apart from all that, things are looking quite good,' said Hodgson with a smile.

'It is a stern challenge but we have a team full of players who are major stars in their own teams.'

They will be organised this evening to defend first and attack second; to approach this game in a manner that actually suits the draining conditions.

Not in good shape: France's defender Philippe Mexes

Not in good shape: France's defender Philippe Mexes

Key to it, of course, is not conceding possession cheaply and Gerrard acknowledged as much.

'Against the top teams we have to be better at keeping the ball,' he said while insisting the heat 'would be the same for both teams'.

As dangerous as they might be going forward, France are vulnerable in defence.

They are particularly worried about Philippe Mexes, whom they suggest is not in great shape, and his central defensive partner, Adil Rami.

For Danny Welbeck and his colleagues in the England attack, that has to be the focus of their attention.

Striking at the heart of French defence: Danny Welbeck (left) and Jermain Defoe

Striking at the heart of French defence: Danny Welbeck (left) and Jermain Defoe

In terms of inspiration, there were plenty of rousing words from the manager and his captain last night.

'It's a fantastic occasion for me to sit on the bench and watch an England team I'm responsible for,' said Hodgson with pride.

Fair play to him for insisting that this is his team.

'It's got to be,' he said. His response to the aforementioned French journalist was superb.

'How good we are as a nation, whether we're playing you French or anyone else, will always be decided on the field of play,' he said.

Ready to rumble: Steven Gerrard fighting fit for the France clash

Ready to rumble: Steven Gerrard fighting fit for the France clash

In the written media briefing that then followed, Hodgson expanded on his answer.

'Of course we feel the weight of history,' he said.

'It was a facetious question. But there's a little element of truth in what he was saying.

'There's nothing we can do to take that weight of four shoulders except to do what Steven was talking about and make certain we embrace the tournament.'

Was he happy with the progress he has made in such a short period 'It seems like a lot more than 40 days,' he said.

Cool dudes: The new French fashion trend as modelled by Adil Rami, Philippe Mexes and Karim Benzema are cryo jackets packed with ice to control body temperatures in the heat

Cool dudes: The new French fashion trend as modelled by Adil Rami,
Philippe Mexes and Karim Benzema are cryo jackets packed with ice
to control body temperatures in the heat

'The days have been so intensive but I am happy with what we have achieved. I don't think the players could have worked harder for me to become a team.

'Last night Blanc was a little sniffy about England's style.

'I hope the team that plays the most football wins,' he said with a touch of arrogance.

But the France manager also acknowledged the considerable challenge that Hodgson has faced since joining the FA.

Hodgson has kept it simple and tried to play to England's strengths, working tirelessly to deliver a team ready for '90 minutes on stage'.

Injury worry: Scott Parker put through his paces

Injury worry: Scott Parker put through his paces

One nagging concern beyond the fitness of Scott Parker is the need to play John Terry on the right of central defence in the absence of Gary Cahill when he is far happier on the left next to Ashley Cole.

But, in the opinion of this observer, Hodgson is taking the right approach; it makes sense and it might just surprise a few people – starting with the French.

.