World Sports News in Brief

Nadal faces old friend Gasquet on familiar French turf

Saturday, 2018-06-02 07:00:46
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Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Argentina's Guido Pella. (Photo: Reuters)
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World number one Rafa Nadal faces local hope Richard Gasquet, the number 27 seed, in the third round of the French Open on Saturday in a clash between two long-time friends.

In the woman’s draw, Serena Williams faces 11th seed Julia Goerges of Germany. Twice champion Maria Sharapova will take on Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in a mouth-watering clash for a place in the last 16.

* World football governing body FIFA's annual awards ceremony will return to London on Sept. 24, 2018, it was announced on Thursday. The awards return to London for the second year in a row following last year's event, in which Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo picked up the best men's player, the Netherlands' Lieke Martens was crowned the best women's player, French icon Zinedine Zidane was named the best coach and the Netherlands' Sarina Wiegman was awarded the trophy for the best FIFA women's coach.

* The three-nation United States-led bid to host the 2026 World Cup outscored its rival Morocco as both passed an inspection of their facilities and infrastructure, global football body FIFA said on Friday. The joint US, Canada and Mexico bid was given an overall score of four out of five by a five-man FIFA task force which evaluated the two bids while Morocco was awarded 2.7 in a 220-page report. A minimum score of two was required to stay in the contest. The decision means that the hosts for the 48-team tournament will be chosen at the FIFA Congress on June 13, where each of the 211 member associations hold one vote, provided the two bids are first rubber-stamped by the policy-making FIFA Council.

* Australia cruised to a 4-0 win against the Czech Republic on Friday, giving the Socceroos a much-needed confidence boost ahead of this month's World Cup with their first victory abroad in nearly two years. The victory over a Czech side that failed to qualify for the tournament in Russia was the first for the Socceroos outside Australia since a 1-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi in September 2016.

* The Republic of Korea were left with plenty to ponder ahead of this month's World Cup finals after Edin Visca scored a hat-trick to give Bosnia and Herzegovina a 3-1 victory in a friendly in Jeonju on Friday. The Koreans had been hoping for a win in their final match on home soil before heading to Europe but lacked accuracy in attack and looked fragile with a three-man defence at the back. Korea coach Shin Tae-yong will cut three players from his squad before they head to Austria to make their final preparations for the finals, where they face Sweden, Mexico and world champions Germany in Group F.

* Germany's Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels will not travel with the world champions to Austria for their World Cup warm-up match on Saturday and get an extra day of rest, coach Joachim Loew said on Friday. Loew has taken 27 players into his preliminary squad and will cut four of them, including one goalkeeper, on Monday for his final 23. The Germans are facing Austria in Klagenfurt in their penultimate test ahead of this month's World Cup. They also host Saudi Arabia on June 8 before leaving for Russia.

* Renato Augusto and Douglas Costa will miss Brazil's World Cup warm-up friendly against Croatia in England this weekend due to injury, the Brazilian Football Confederation said on Friday. Brazil play Croatia at Anfield on Sunday in what will be their penultimate warm-up before heading to Russia. The five-times World Cup winners also face Austria in Vienna on June 10.

Reuters, Xinhua