Rain delays start of final day of third New Zealand-South Africa test

WELLINGTON Heavy overnight rain delayed the start of play on the final day of the third test between New Zealand and South Africa at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday.

Play had been scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. (2130 GMT) but the covers remained on the wicket block with large pools of water still evident on the outfield.

Further rain showers are forecast for the rest of the day.

New Zealand are in a strong position to win the game having reduced South Africa to 80 for five in their second innings and still needing another 95 runs to make the hosts bat again.

Magnusson free kick gives Iceland edge over Ireland

DUBLIN Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson's sweetly-struck, first-half free kick handed Iceland a 1-0 friendly victory over Ireland on Tuesday as both teams gave a number of fringe players an opportunity to shine.

European championship quarter-finalists Iceland, who made eight changes from the side that beat Kosovo on Friday to stay second in World Cup qualifying Group I, took the lead on 21 minutes when left back Magnusson curled a free kick over the Ireland wall and into Keiren Westwood's left-hand corner.

Pliskova beats Lucic-Baroni to reach Miami semis

Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova avenged her Australian Open quarter-final loss to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni with a 6-3 6-4 win over the 26th-seeded Croatian on Tuesday that put her into the Miami Open semi-finals.

Lucic-Baroni, who came into the match looking to build on her career-reviving run in Australia, did well to neutralise Pliskova's powerful serve early in the match but was not able to back it up in her own service games.

Mansell joins tributes to Surtees at funeral

LONDON Former Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell joined the motorsport world on Tuesday in paying tribute to John Surtees at the funeral of the only man to win world titles on two wheels and four.

Surtees, who won the 1964 F1 championship with Ferrari after four 500cc and three 350cc titles between 1956 and 1960, died on March 10 at the age of 83.

"John was a consummate professional, a gentleman, an incredible champion on two and four wheels and a gentle, massive giant," said Mansell, who raced for Ferrari before winning the 1992 title with Williams.

Italy add to Dutch misery with 2-1 win in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM Italy recovered from an early own goal to beat the Netherlands 2-1 away in a friendly on Tuesday and cap a miserable few days for the hosts who sacked manager Danny Blind at the weekend.

Italy's Alessio Romagnoli deflected the ball into his own net after 10 minutes but Eder equalised within 60 seconds and centre back Leonardo Bonucci swept home a loose ball from a corner in the 32nd minute for the winner at the Amsterdam Arena.

Ronaldo scores homecoming goal but Sweden wreck the party

FUNCHAL, Portugal Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his Madeira homecoming with an early strike but Sweden wrecked the party by hitting back from two down to win 3-2 with a last-gasp own goal in a friendly on Tuesday.

The match, Ronaldo's first appearance for Portugal on the island where he was born, took place on the eve of a ceremony to name Funchal airport after the 32-year-old Real Madrid forward, giving the whole evening a testimonial feel.

Deulofeu and video technology help Spain tame France

PARIS Spain's Gerard Deulofeu scored one and created another but had to share the limelight with the video assistant referee in a 2-0 friendly win over France in Paris on Tuesday.

David Silva put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot on 68 minutes after Deulofeu was fouled in the box by France defender Laurent Koscielny.

The on-loan AC Milan winger then converted a Silva cross nine minutes later, but was flagged offside. The goal, however, was awarded after German referee Felix Zwayer asked the video assistant to check the decision.

Russia fight back to snatch late draw with Belgium

Alexander Bukharov scored a stoppage-time equaliser as World Cup hosts Russia came from two goals down at halftime to hold Belgium to a 3-3 draw in a friendly in Sochi on Tuesday.

Russia opened the scoring in the third minute through Viktor Vasin, but Kevin Mirallas levelled for Belgium from the penalty spot and Christian Benteke scored twice to give the visitors a commanding advantage at halftime.

Russia pulled one back 15 minutes from the end through substitute Aleksey Miranchuk and then snatched a morale-boosting equaliser.

Liverpool's Lallana out with thigh injury - reports

Liverpool's England midfielder Adam Lallana could be out for up to a month after suffering a thigh injury on international duty, British media reported on Tuesday.

He played 66 minutes of England's 1-0 friendly loss away to Germany last week before a fine display in Sunday's 2-0 World Cup qualifying win at home to Lithuania, when he is reported to have suffered the injury although he did finish the match.

Brazil close in on qualification for Russia 2018

SAO PAULO Brazil could become the first side to guarantee qualification for the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday if they beat Paraguay at home and both Ecuador and Chile drop points.

Group leaders Brazil face Paraguay in Sao Paulo and will move on to 33 points if they win what would be their eighth consecutive qualifier.

Ecuador and Chile are tied in fifth place with 20 points, behind Uruguay on 23, Argentina 22 and Colombia 21.

If Ecuador do not beat Colombia and Chile fail to take maximum points from Venezuela then they would not both be able to overtake Brazil.

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