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‘Apocalypse’ now as Italy face World Cup humiliation


Four-time champions Italy go into the second leg of a playoff against Sweden on Monday facing an “apocalyptic” failure to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958. Italy need to overturn a 1-0 play-off first-leg defeat against Sweden in front of 74,000 fans in a white-hot atmosphere …

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Dimitrov beats Thiem as Nadal prepares to make bow


– Grigor Dimitrov launched his bid for glory at the ATP Finals on Monday with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Dominic Thiem as Rafael Nadal prepared to start his quest for the biggest title missing from his impressive collection. A single break was enough for Bulgaria s Dimitrov to …

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Evra vows to return ‘stronger than ever’


– Patrice Evra has vowed to come back “stronger than ever” in his first public message since leaving Marseille and being hit with a season-long European football ban for kung-fu kicking a supporter. Evra, who was sent off after attacking the Marseille fan ahead of the Ligue 1 side s …

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Pakistan face worst ever hockey defeat against Australia


Pakistan were ripped apart by the hosts Australia in their first match of the International Festival of Hockey at Melbourne’s State Netball Hockey Centre, said a PHF media release. The record four time World Champions’ 1-9 defeat is their worst ever in international hockey. Holland had defeated Pakistan 9-2 at …

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England hit by more withdrawals for Germany, Brazil games


– Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Jordan Henderson are the latest withdrawals from England s injury-hit squad for friendlies against World Cup holders Germany and five-time winners Brazil, the FA said Tuesday. Gareth Southgate s men kick-off their World Cup preparations with back-to-back Wembley matches against the international heavyweight teams …

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Pakistan to face Australia in International Festival of Hockey


Pakistan will play its first match of the International Festival of Hockey against the host Australia at Melbourne’s State Netball Hockey Centre on Wednesday. The four-Nation tournament also features New Zealand and Japan. After the single league, the top two teams would play the final with the bottom two featuring …

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Tennis: Murray wary of Australia commitment


Andy Murray indicated Tuesday he would be prepared to miss next year s Australian Open if it meant endangering his return to full fitness from a hip injury. The British tennis star has not played a competitive match since struggling through to the quarter-finals of this year s Wimbledon, where …

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Tennis: Nadal doing his all to play in London, says doctor


Rafael Nadal s personal doctor said Tuesday they will do “everything possible” to enable the 16-time Grand Slam champion to compete at next week s season-ending Tour Finals in London. “We have done and are going to do everything possible for him to be (in London),” Angel Ruiz Cotorro told Cope radio …

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