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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Argentina’s next game is on Tuesday against Bolivia in La Paz, while Ecuador return home to face Uruguay, who beat Chile 2-1 in their opener earlier on Thursday, the same day. The top four teams in South America’s 10-team group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.

* Serbia reached the Euro 2020 playoff finals after a double from second-half substitute Sergej-Milinkovic Savic gave them a 2-1 win away to Norway after extra time on Thursday while seven other nations joined them on a night of nerve-wracking action.

* Three England players scored their first international goals to give Gareth Southgate’s experimental team a comfortable 3-0 win over Wales in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Thursday.

* Polish teenager Iga Swiatek became the youngest player to reach the French Open women’s final in 19 years, continuing her bulldozing run at Roland Garros with a 6-2 6-1 dismantling of Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska on Thursday. The 19-year-old will play Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Saturday in her first Grand Slam final.

* American Sofia Kenin’s amazing year continued as she outmanoeuvred big-hitting Czech Petra Kvitova 6-4 7-5 to reach the French Open final on Thursday. The Moscow-born 21-year-old produced a masterclass of game management on a windy Court Phillipe Chatrier and on Saturday will face Polish teenager Iga Swiatek with a second Grand Slam title of the year within touching distance.

* Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has withdrawn from their squad for their three internationals over the next week because of a hip injury, the Belgian football association said on Thursday.

* Barcelona must press on with plans to renovate Camp Nou in order to replenish revenues lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, vice-president Jordi Moix told Reuters, adding that the €815-million (US$957 million) project will pay for itself.

* Defending champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies reached the French Open men’s doubles final as the German duo beat Dutch/Croatian team Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic on Thursday. A 6-3 7-5 win for the eighth seeds set up a showdown against seventh seeds Mate Pavic (Croatia) and Bruno Soares (Brazil), who had earlier beaten Colombian top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal 7-6(4) 7-5.

* French champion Arnaud Demare took his second victory in this year’s Giro d’Italia when he claimed the sixth stage with an impressive last-gasp effort on Thursday. Australian Michael Matthews was second with Italian Fabio Felline coming home third at the end of a 188-km ride from Castrovillari.

* Arsenal’s out-of-favour playmaker Mesut Ozil has been left out of their Europa League squad for the 2020-21 campaign, giving rise to media speculation that he might have played his last game for the Premier League side. Ozil, 31, who is under contract with Arsenal until June 2021 and earns a reported 350,000 pounds (US$451,465) per week, has not played for the team this season and made 18 Premier League starts in the previous campaign.

* Inter Milan have confirmed that defender Alessandro Bastoni has tested positive for COVID-19 while training with Italy’s under-21 team.

* Arsenal have closed their Hale End academy after a staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The news comes on the same day Arsenal full back Kieran Tierney was told to self isolate for 14 days after coming into contact with Scotland team mate Stuart Armstrong, who tested positive for the virus.

* Sweden will postpone plans to let more people attend sport events and concerts, the government said on Thursday, citing rising coronavirus infection numbers both within the country and around Europe.

* Germany coach Joachim Loew on Thursday cut five players from his squad to face Ukraine and Switzerland in the Nations League as he banks on the experience of returning Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig players.

* Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri has tested negative for COVID-19, two days after returning a positive test, the country’s football federation said on Thursday.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News