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Croatia qualify for FIFA World Cup 2018 with Greece draw

PIRAEUS: Croatia qualified for the 2018 World Cup on Sunday by holding Greece to a 0-0 draw in the second leg of their play-off in Piraeus for a 4-1 win on aggregate. Zlatko Dalic’s men will be playing in their fifth World Cup in Russia next year, having only once failed to qualify in 2010….

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‘Apocalypse’ now as Italy face FIFA World Cup humiliation

MILAN: Four-time champions Italy face missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1958, a potential national humiliation likened to the “apocalypse” by the team’s fanatical supporters. Italy need to overturn a 1-0 play-off first-leg defeat against Sweden at the San Siro on Monday. National coach Gian Piero Ventura insists his team…

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Italy lose to Sweden in FIFA World Cup play-off first leg

STOCKHOLM: Sweden claimed a precious 1-0 first-leg victory over Italy in their World Cup play-off at Stockholm on Friday, leaving the four-time champions in danger of missing the tournament for the first time in 60 years. Substitute Jakob Johansson grabbed the only goal of a scrappy game in the 61st minute with a low strike…

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Italy’s proud FIFA World Cup record in danger

PARIS: The last burst of qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup allows some nations a chance to dream, but for football aristocrats Italy, the next few days are a potential nightmare. The last nine places in Russia will be settled in seven frantic days starting on Thursday. There are four berths up for grabs…

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Ten-man Belgium end Korea's stint in FIFA World Cup

SAO PAULO: Jan Vertonghen led 10-man Belgium to a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday that gave them top place in their World Cup group and ended Asian hopes in the competition. The stand-in captain hit the winner 12 minutes from time as Belgium finished with a perfect three wins in Group H. They…

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Asian champions Japan fail to bridge the World Cup gap

CUIABA: Alberto Zaccheroni instilled flair, creativity and goals in his four years in charge of Japan but he could not find a cure for the mental flaws that prevented his side showcasing those talents on the grandest stage. The Asian champions slumped meekly out of the World Cup at the group stage on Tuesday after…

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Last-gasp Portugal deny US shock win

MANAUS: Portugal snatched a dramatic equaliser deep into injury time to force a 2-2 draw with the United States and keep their World Cup hopes flickering on Sunday. Silvestre Varela headed in a cross from Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus to…

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FIFA World Cup: France crush Switzerland 5-2

SALVADOR: Free-flowing France blew away in-form Switzerland with a three-goal first-half barrage en route to a thumping 5-2 World Cup Group E win on Friday that virtually assures them of qualification for the second round.  France blasted two goals within 66 seconds as Olivier Giroud headed them into the lead after 17 minutes and Blaise…

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FIFA World Cup: Mexico thwart Brazil advance 0-0

FORTALEZA: Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa produced an inspired performance as Mexico held World Cup hosts Brazil to a frustrating 0-0 draw in Group A in Fortaleza on Tuesday. Ochoa twice made decisive interventions to deny Neymar before coming up with a stunning save to keep out a Thiago Silva header from point-blank range four minutes from…

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German-born Brooks gives USA memorable win over Ghana

NATAL: German-born United States defender John Brooks came off the bench to stun Ghana with a late winner in a 2-1 victory in Natal on Monday to put a huge dent in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists hopes of emulating that feat this time round. Clint Dempsey scored the opener after just 30 seconds and…

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