Stielke wants more from Korean forwards in final push

South Korea coach Uli Stielike has demanded improvements from his forwards despite picking up a crucial 1-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Syria in Seoul on Tuesday.

Defender Hong Jeong-ho's fourth-minute goal helped South Korea retain one of the two automatic qualification spots in the Group A standings with three games remaining.

While Stielike was pleased to have taken a step towards securing a 10th appearance at the World Cup finals, he admitted South Korea were fortunate to get away with the narrow win.

Australia bank on home comforts for run to Russia

By Nick Mulvenney
| SYDNEY

SYDNEY Australia's campaign to reach a fourth straight World Cup finals received a fillip with their first win in five qualifiers on Tuesday but there is plenty yet to be done to secure a ticket to Russia.

The 2-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates in Sydney briefly put the Asian champions joint top of Group B before Japan thrashed Thailand 4-0 and Saudi Arabia edged Iraq 1-0 in later matches to re-establish their shared three point edge.

Cricket - Spirited Australia must continue to improve, says board

SYDNEY Australia have done themselves proud with their spirited fight in India but must continue to improve to become the number one side across all formats, the country's cricket board said on Wednesday.

Last year, Australia suffered a 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka before Steve Smith's men were beaten at home in the first two tests by South Africa.

An overhauled side gained a consolation win against the Proteas in a day-nighter at Adelaide Oval to lose the series 2-1 and then hammered visiting Pakistan 3-0.

Jagielka believes Coleman injury will help inspire Everton

Everton full back Seamus Coleman's long-term injury will act as a further incentive for the squad ahead of the Saturday's Premier League derby against Liverpool, club captain Phil Jagielka has said.

Coleman, who could be out of action for up to a year, underwent surgery on Saturday following a double leg fracture suffered during international duty with Ireland last week.

Jagielka is hoping the team will be able to speak with Coleman, scheduled to be released from hospital later on Wednesday, ahead of the Merseyside derby and a visit to Manchester United three days later.

U.S. keep World Cup hopes alive, Mexico take control

The United States remain in contention for a spot at next year's World Cup after Bruce Arena's side battled to a scrappy 1-1 away draw against Panama in CONCACAF qualifying on Tuesday.

A loss would have left the U.S. anchored equal bottom in the six-team group known as the Hexagonal, but the draw sends them home relieved and still in contention for one of the three automatic spots to Russia 2018.

Neymar keeps Brazil ticking towards World Cup

SAO PAULO Neymar shrugged off some rough tackling and a missed penalty to score a brilliant solo goal as he led Brazil to a 3-0 win over Paraguay that moved them within sight of the 2018 World Cup finals on Tuesday.

It was Brazil's eighth consecutive win in qualifying and ensures they will finish the 10-nation group in at least fifth place, which would be enough for a playoff against a team from Oceania for a berth at the Russia finals.

Figure skating - Is there a downside to quad-fest?

By Pritha Sarkar
| HELSINKI

HELSINKI When Evan Lysacek struck gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics without attempting a single quadruple jump, men's figure skating was at a crossroads.

His rival-in-chief - 2006 Turin Games champion Yevgeny Plushenko - screamed blue murder and accused the American of winning the title by "dancing rather than skating like a man".

Lysacek had become the first man since 1994 to win the Olympic title without attempting the jump that requires four complete aerial revolutions before the touchdown on the ice.

Tennis - Sharapova feels vindicated and empowered after doping ban

By Larry Fine
| RANCHO MIRAGE, California

RANCHO MIRAGE, California Tennis star Maria Sharapova said on Tuesday she is excited about her return to competition next month, feeling vindicated by the reduction of her doping suspension and empowered by her time away.

Russia's former world number one was initially barred for two years after testing positive at the 2016 Australian Open for meldonium, a medication she had been taking for 10 years within the rules, but that was reclassified as a banned drug.

Federer, Nadal reach Miami semis, Wawrinka falls

Roger Federer survived a stern test from Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut on Tuesday to reach the Miami Open quarter-finals while top-seeded Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka was eliminated on his birthday.

Federer clinched the 7-6(5) 7-6(4) victory on his third match point shortly after Wawrinka fell 4-6 6-2 6-1 to 16th-seeded German teenager Alexander Zverev.

Bautista Agut played the match of his life, hitting the ball deep with relentless precision in an effort to keep Federer pinned to the baseline, giving the 18-times grand slam champion everything he could handle.

Bolivia beat Messi-less Argentina 2-0 in qualifier

LA PAZ Argentina, weakened by the last-minute suspension of Lionel Messi, suffered a fourth defeat in their World Cup qualifying campaign as a spirited Bolivia won 2-0 in La Paz on Tuesday.

Bolivia scored either side of halftime through Juan Arce and Marcelo Martins and were deserved winners against an Argentina side who defended poorly throughout an exciting end-to-end encounter.

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