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‘Apocalypse’ now as Italy face World Cup humiliation

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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

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– 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’

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– 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

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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

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– 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

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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

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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

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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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