Sports

SOCCER

European champions Italy, Portugal in same World Cup play-off bracket

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European champions Italy and Portugal could meet for a place at the 2022 World Cup after being drawn in the same play-off path on Friday. The Azzurri and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal both finished second in their qualifying groups, behind Switzerland and Serbia respectively. Italy will host North Macedonia in the… Read

SOCCER

FIFA says opponents of 2-year World Cup fear losing top spot

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Opponents of FIFA’s push for World Cups every two years seem scared of being toppled from the top of world soccer, its president Gianni Infantino said on Friday. Infantino’s speech to African soccer leaders was a clear criticism of Europe and South America which have dominated every World Cup and… Read

Sports

New variant hits sports just as they were nearing normality

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Golf, cricket and rugby became the first major sports to be affected by the new COVID-19 variant on Friday, prompting fears of renewed travel restrictions and disrupted events just as they were returning to normal nearly two years into the pandemic. European golfers withdrew midway through the season-opening DP World… Read

FIGURE SKATING

Russia's new ice queen Valieva sets short program record

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Russian teenager Kamila Valieva shored up her status as favorite for women's figure skating gold at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics with a record-breaking short program on Friday. The 15-year-old, competing at the Russian Grand Prix, earned a score of 87.42 points for her opening routine on the Sochi ice… Read

Sports

Action plan aims to combat racism in English cricket

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English cricket's governing body will create an anti-discrimination unit and conduct a review of dressing-room culture in response to recent revelations about racism in the sport. The England and Wales Cricket Board on Friday released its comprehensive plan to address issues raised by whistleblower Azeem Rafiq, who testified at a… Read

TENNIS

Djokovic helps Serbia past Austria at Davis Cup Finals

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Top-ranked Novak Djokovic secured a victory for Serbia, 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez got defending champion Spain off to a solid start, and a young Italian team rolled past the 32-time champion United States in the Davis Cup Finals on Friday. Djokovic beat Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 to give Serbia a 2-0… Read

BADMINTON

Danish badminton ace Axelsen advances to Indonesia Open semi-finals

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Olympic gold medallist Viktor Axelsen netted a ticket to the Indonesia Open semifinals after securing an easy two-game victory over India's Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth on Friday. The tournament, held in Bali without fans and in a coronavirus bubble, is the second of three back-to-back competitions culminating in the season-ending World… Read

RUGBY UNION

South Africa, Fiji, Argentina advance to Dubai 7s quarters

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Iowane Raturaciri's maiden try in his first world series match saved Fiji in a last-minute 17-12 win over Australia at the Dubai Sevens on Friday. Australia came from behind to lead 12-10 and time almost up but replacement Raturaciri came through for the Olympic champions, who have retained only captain… Read

Sports

China urges Japan to support Beijing Olympics

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China on Thursday urged Japan to support the Beijing Olympics, as the United States and other democratic countries are weighing up whether to implement a "diplomatic boycott" of the Winter Games. "China fully supported Japan in hosting the Tokyo Olympics" this summer, so "Japan should have basic faith," Foreign Ministry… Read

BASEBALL

Jones' 9th-inning homer keeps Orix alive in Japan Series

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Adam Jones' ninth-inning pinch-hit home run kept the Pacific League champion Orix Buffaloes alive in the Japan Series with a 6-5 Game 5 win over the Central League champion Yakult Swallows. The Buffaloes' win at Tokyo Dome forced a Game 6 on Saturday when Orix skipper Satoshi Nakajima said he… Read

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