PRAGUE - Portugal stormed to a 4-0 win over the Czech Republic in their Nations League A-Group 2 match on Saturday thanks to a Diego Dalot double and strikes by Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota.
The victory sets up a crunch clash for the Portuguese on Tuesday at home to Spain, who lost 2-1 to visitors Switzerland, knowing a draw will be enough to reach the final four.
Portugal lead the group on 10 points ahead of Spain on eight after five matches with one game left to play.
The Portuguese controlled possession and opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Rafael Leao swung a cross into the area and Dalot fired past goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
Fernandes doubled the lead for the visitors in added time at the end of the first half when he surged into the box and converted a cross from close range. Patrik Schick then blazed a penalty over the bar for the Czechs just before the break.
Dalot netted his second soon afte...
BELGRADE - A hat-trick from Aleksandar Mitrovic set Serbia on course for an easy 4-1 win over Sweden in their Nations League B Group 4 match on Saturday to set up a winner-takes-all clash in their final game against Norway in Oslo on Tuesday.
Norway and Serbia top the standings on 10 points, with the Norwegians in pole position thanks to a 1-0 win in Belgrade earlier in the campaign, while the Swedes will need to beat Slovenia in Stockholm to avoid relegation to League C.
Sweden took the lead against the run of play through Viktor Claesson in the 15th minute but they had no answer to the physicality of Serbia's record goalscorer Mitrovic, who headed his side level three minutes later with his 47th international goal.
That goal got Serbia back on track, and Sweden had goalkeeper Robin Olsen to thank on the half-hour mark when he pulled off a superb double save to deny Dusan Vlahovic and Dusan Tadic.
Mitrovic was unstoppable...
- Spain suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Switzerland as goals from Manuel Akanji and Breel Embolo knocked the hosts off the top of Nations League A-Group 2 on Saturday with one game left to play.
Last year's finalists are now second on eight points having been leapfrogged by Portugal, who breezed past Czech Republic 4-0 away to reach 10 points.
Cristiano Ronaldo's side will reach the final four with at least a home draw in Tuesday's crunch game against Spain, who must win in Braga to qualify for the semi-finals.
Switzerland are third on six points, two above than Czechs who they will face on Tuesday in a battle to avoid relegation.
Akanji opened the scoring with a header from a corner in the 21st minute, but Jordi Alba equalised for the hosts with a cross-shot from a counter-attack 10 minutes after the break.
Three minutes later, however, Embolo got the winner with a close-range strike from a corner....
DURBAN, South Africa - South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber believed their pre-match target of a bonus-point win by 39 points was achievable but the Springboks lost crucial momentum at the end of the first half in their 38-21 Rugby Championship win over Argentina on Saturday.
The Boks needed to win big to catch New Zealand at the top of the standings and took a 17-0 lead in the first half at King’s Park in Durban, but ultimately fell short as the All Blacks claimed the trophy.
Nienaber was left to rue a scrappy try for Argentina at the end of the opening period in which his side defended poorly and, he said, it changed the momentum of the contest.
"We had a plan and we were on task up to the 35th minute," he told reporters. "We gave away a penalty then and they got into our half. We made a few mistakes and they scored a try just before halftime.
"That changed the momentum of the game and it made it much harder for us after...
DURBAN, South Africa - Argentina captain Julian Montoya says his side have to learn from their errors if they are to move forward as a team and bemoaned their poor discipline in their 38-21 Rugby Championship loss to South Africa in Durban on Saturday.
Victories in New Zealand and at home to Australia have made this arguably the best ever southern hemisphere championship for Montoya’s side but it may also be a case of what might have been had they held their discipline at key moments in the campaign.
They rattled the Springboks in the second half and the scoreline perhaps flattered the hosts but 22 penalties conceded, four yellow cards and two penalty tries tell the story of Argentina wilting under pressure.
"We could see that when we did the things we wanted to, we were in the match and anyone could win," Montoya told ESPN Scrum. "We have to learn, I have to learn. We can no longer talk about the same thing (discipline).
By Hugh Lawson
LONDON - India's Jhulan Goswami, the leading wicket-taker in women's ODIs, bowed out of international cricket on Saturday at Lord's after bowling her 10,000th ball in one-day matches, as her side completed a 3-0 series win over England with a controversial final wicket.
Goswami claimed her record-extending 254th and 255th ODI wickets - the last one with her 10,001st delivery in the format - before ending her 20-year international career, having debuted in 2002.
Her captain Harmanpreet Kaur said after the match: "I know it was her last game but we'll always remember her, she's always with us and she's just a call away when we need her. I'm thankful we had the chance to play with her."
But Goswami's achievement was somewhat overshadowed at the end of the match when Indian all-rounder Deepti Sharma ran out England's top-scorer Charlie Dean (47) for the final wicket with a "mankad" move, whipping off the bails of...
- Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz is backing Robert Lewandowski to rediscover his goalscoring form for the national team against Wales on Sunday as the Poles seek to keep their place in League A of the Nations League.
Poland lost 2-0 against the Netherlands on Thursday and are third in Group Four on four points, needing a draw against fourth-placed Wales -- on one point -- to remain in the competition's top tier.
All eyes are on Lewandowski, who is thriving at Barcelona but has scored twice for Poland since Michniewicz was named coach in January -- a penalty in a World Cup qualifying playoff win over Sweden in March and the opener in a 6-1 thrashing by Belgium in June.
"We had a plan to get Robert into the penalty area (against the Netherlands), but (Virgil) Van Dijk effectively prevented us from doing so," Michniewicz told a news conference on Saturday.
"We failed to create a shooting opportunity for him and it is certainl...
DURBAN, South Africa - South Africa won the battle but lost the war following their 38-21 victory over ill-disciplined Argentina at a sold out King’s Park in Durban on Saturday, a result that handed the 2022 Rugby Championship title to New Zealand.
The All Blacks top the standings with 19 points from their six games, one more than South Africa, who could not manage the try-scoring bonus point they needed to go with a 39-point winning margin on the scoreboard to claim the trophy.
Instead, Argentina ran them close in Durban but were once again let down by their discipline as they received four yellow cards and conceded two penalty tries. The Boks also scored through number eight Jasper Wiese, loose-forward Siya Kolisi and replacement fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse.
The visitors looked dangerous every time they had ball in hand and scored three tries through scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou, back row Juan Martín Gonzalez and centre Matias Moroni, but...
By Martyn Herman
LONDON - American Taylor Fritz drew Team World level at 4-4 in the Laver Cup on Saturday with a narrow victory over Team Europe's Cameron Norrie after the hosts' Matteo Berrettini had beaten Felix Auger-Aliassime in the day's opener.
It was a case of the day after the night before at London's O2 Arena after Roger Federer's tear-jerking farewell match alongside Rafa Nadal had dominated day one.
Spaniard Nadal withdrew from the team event for personal reasons but now retired 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer was back on duty, albeit from courtside offering his words of wisdom to his Europe team mates.
Italian Berrettini, who replaced Federer in the singles, edged out Auger-Aliassime 7-6(11) 4-6 10-7 in a hard-hitting contest that had another huge crowd captivated.
But Fritz showed that John McEnroe's team are made of sterner stuff this year having been thrashed 14-1 last year in Boston, the fou...
CAIRO - Egypt will apply to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2036, the Egyptian youth and sports minister said in a statement on Saturday, a bid that if successful would make it the first Arab or African nation to host the event.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi gave the green light to apply, Minister Ashraf Sobhi added during a reception for International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in Cairo.
The statement, issued by the Egyptian cabinet, quoted Bach as saying Egypt's sports infrastructure was capable of hosting the event.
The summer Olympics will be held in Paris in 2024, followed by Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane, Australia in 2032.
The process of applying for to host the 2036 Olympics has not yet begun, while there are reports of interest from countries including Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, India and Qatar.
(Reporting By Osama Khairy and Moaz Abd-Alaziz; Editing b...
By Steve Keating
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The United States will not clinch the Presidents Cup on Saturday but continued to close in on the golden trophy after splitting the morning foursomes (alternate shot) 2-2 with a scrappy International team desperate to get back into the fight.
The U.S. have dominated the biennial competition with an 11-1-1 record and started the day with an 8-2 lead and in position to register a Presidents Cup first - clinching the Cup on Saturday.
With two sessions scheduled for a marathon day (foursomes and fourballs) the Americans had targeted the 15 1/2 total points needed to claim the title for a 12th time and extend their unbeaten run on home soil.
But the Cup will be decided in Sunday's singles no matter happens in the afternoon fourballs after Australian Adam Scott and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama beat Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young 3&2 blocking the Americans from getting the job done early....
AMSTERDAM - Defender Virgil van Dijk is not worried about getting injured before the World Cup even though he faces a gruelling schedule with Liverpool before heading to Qatar with the Netherlands.
Van Dijk missed the last European Championship as he was sidelined with a knee injury but said on Saturday he was not worried about suffering the same setback again ahead of this year's finals, which kick off on Nov. 20.
"It’s not something that I have thought about. It is indeed 13 games in two months but they are games that you want to play in. If you spend time thinking about it, then you are likely to get injured,” van Dijk told reporters ahead of the Netherlands’ Nations League clash with neighbours Belgium.
“I play games to win. At Liverpool we are in a phase where we have to win anyway. That will be the full focus from Monday when I report back there.”
Van Dijk, with 48 caps, made his debut for the Dutch national side in...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Pairings for Saturday's fourballs matches in the Presidents Cup between the United States and Internationals at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Kim Joo-hyung (South Korea) and Kim Si-woo (South Korea) v
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele
Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) and Taylor Pendrith (Canada) v
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas
Im Sung-jae (South Korea) and Sebastian Munoz (Colombia) v
Tony Finau and Kevin Kisner
Adam Scott (Australia) and Cam Davis (Australia) v
Billy Horschel and Sam Burns
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Charlotte. Editing by Christian Radnedge)...
- Two-time Olympic gold medallist Aksel Lund Svindal said he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
"The last few weeks have been different. But I'm able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision," Svindal said on Instagram.
He added that the cancer was caught early and the prognosis looked very good.
The 39-year-old skier struck gold in the super-G at the 2010 Vancouver Games and in the downhill eight years later in Pyeongchang. He also owns five world championship golds.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk, editing by Pritha Sarkar)...
- Belgium coach Roberto Martinez says Sunday's do-or-die Nations League A clash with the Netherlands in Amsterdam is the perfect preparation for the World Cup in Qatar as his team chase victory by three clear goals to qualify for the semi-finals.
Martinez will have to watch from the stands following a red card in Thursday's tense 2-1 win over Wales, a result that leaves his side still in with a chance of topping their pool.
This will be the final match for Belgium before they travel to Qatar and Martinez wants the confidence boost of not only the right result, but a performance they can build on.
"We have the intention to go there and win but at the same time cannot lose who we are as a team," he told reporters on Saturday. "If you had said to us after we lost 4-1 to Holland (in June) that we would go into the last game still with the opportunity to finish top of the group, we would have taken it.
"It shows our innovation (a...
- Vivianne Miedema scored twice in Arsenal's commanding 4-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in front of a Women's Super League record crowd of 47,367 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Dutch international Miedema struck in either half after Beth Mead scored the opener, with Rafaelle Souza also getting on the scoresheet in a dominant performance for the hosts.
Mead, who finished England's victorious Euro 2022 campaign as the tournament's top scorer, had netted twice against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend and continued her fine form by curling home a sublime goal after five minutes on the clock.
Miedema doubled Arsenal's lead six minutes before the break, slotting past goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer with ease after Spurs carelessly gave away possession deep inside their own half.
Rafaelle found the back of the net with a towering header before Miedema got her second, nodding home Steph Catley's cross after beating Spence...
AMSTERDAM - Louis van Gaal insisted the Netherlands would beat neighbours Belgium on Sunday to secure top spot in their Nations League group and go into the World Cup unbeaten since he took over as coach.
The Dutch have a three-point lead at the head of League A Group Four and will win the group as long as they avoid a heavy defeat to Belgium at the Amsterdam Arena on Sunday.
"We're going to win tomorrow. Better to go to the World Cup undefeated than to lose the last game. That's what I told the boys,” Van Gaal told a news conference on Saturday.
Belgium, who lost 4-1 to the Dutch in Brussels in June, must win by three goals to snatch top place and advance to next June’s finals tournament.
“If that happens, it will be deserved,” said Van Gaal.
“But I believe in my players and that they will win it. That's how I prepare them. I don't expect an upset. My players are always focused and that’s why I always tell th...
LONDON - Rafa Nadal has pulled out of the remainder of the Laver Cup due to personal reasons after partnering friend and rival Roger Federer in a doubles match that brought down the curtain on the Swiss great's glittering tennis carer.
Pictures and videos of Federer and Nadal - who shared one of tennis's most enthralling rivalries - sitting on a chair and crying after combining for Team Europe in a doubles defeat at London's O2 Arena on Friday went viral on social media.
The Spaniard, who has won a men's record 22 Grand Slam titles, later said that an important part of him was also leaving the Tour with the retirement of Federer.
"Rafael Nadal withdrew for personal reasons. He will be replaced by Cameron Norrie," the organisers of the tournament said on Saturday.
Nadal is also expecting his first child with wife Mery Perello soon but made the trip to London to play alongside Federer in the Swiss maestro's final professional...
- Britain's Emma Raducanu was forced to retire due to injury during the Korea Open semi-final on Saturday, sending former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko to a championship clash against Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Raducanu's 2022 season has been blighted by different kinds of injuries, ranging from blisters to side strains and hip and back problem, and she was playing in her first semi-final since winning the U.S. Open last year.
The trouble started for 19-year-old Raducanu midway through the second set in her first meeting against Latvia's world number 19 Ostapenko when she took an off-court medical timeout to get treatment for a left glute injury.
Raducanu, who has plummeted to 77th in the rankings from a career-high 10th in July, managed to return to court but won only a few points before conceding the match in the deciding set while trailing 4-6 6-3 3-0.
Ostapenko won the Korea Open title in 2017 - the same year s...
- The All Blacks put one hand on the Rugby Championship trophy with a convincing 40-14 bonus victory over an error-prone and ill-disciplined Wallabies side at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.
The victory means the Springboks will also need to secure a bonus point and beat Argentina by at least 39 points in the final match of the championship in Durban later on Saturday to take the title back to South Africa.
New Zealand hammered the Australians at the breakdown and a Will Jordan score supplemented by a penalty try helped them to a comfortable 17-0 lead after a fractious first half which saw two Wallabies sent to the sin bin.
All Blacks skipper Sam Whitelock crossed for a third try soon after the break and hooker Codie Taylor and his replacement Samisoni Taukei'aho added further five-pointers to give the Springboks an imposing target.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ken Ferris)...