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easy days for spain, italy in cup qualifiers

Former champions Spain and Italy eased to comfortable 4-0 wins Saturday over weak opponents in European qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

A Spain side missing injured Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Jordi Alba tacked on some late goals to trounce Macedonia. Italy eased up after a first-half barrage at Liechtenstein to remain tied atop Group G with 10 points each.

Ireland seized control of Group D with a 1-0 win over Austria. Serbia scored in the last five minutes of regulation for a 1-1 tie with rival Wales.

Croatia led Group I after Marcelo Brozovic scored twice in a 2-0 win over Iceland.

Only the group winners automatically secure spots for the World Cup in Russia. The second-place teams must go through a playoff to make it to the tournament.

tennis: fed cup

Czech Republic, France tied at 1

Caroline Garcia ensured a suspenseful second day in the Fed Cup final by downing two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 to draw host France level with the defending champion Czech Republic 1-1 in Strasbourg.

Garcia's victory restored some hope in the French camp after sixth-ranked Karolina Pliskova, this year's U.S. Open runnerup, won a marathon third set against Kristina Mladenovic to give the Czechs the first point with a 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 win.

Today is reverse singles and doubles. The Czechs are favorites to become the first team to win three straight Cups since Spain from 1993-95.

et cetera

Alpine skiing: American Mikaela Shiffrin won the first women's World Cup slalom of the season with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 52.71 seconds, 0.67 ahead of Switzerland's Wendy Holdener in Levi, Finland. The victory in northern Finland earned Shiffrin an usual prize: a reindeer. She got one for her previous win in Finland in 2013 and called him Rudolph. She is going to call this one Sven, after the reindeer in the movie Frozen.

Times wires

Sports in brief 11/12/16 [Last modified: Saturday, November 12, 2016 10:51pm]
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