Sport in brief
• Iceland’s footballers sealed their place in next year’s World Cup finals in Russia after a 2-0 victory against Kosovo in Reykjavik, becoming the smallest nation ever to qualify for a World Cup finals. Victory over Group I’s bottom side guaranteed top spot and an automatic qualifying place. “This is really odd, I don’t know what to say. I mean … Pelé, Maradona, Aron Einar Gunnarsson,” the Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said, referencing the Cardiff City midfielder at the heart of his side. They joined hosts Russia, champions Germany, plus Brazil, Belgium, Costa Rica, England, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea and Spain as confirmed qualifiers for Russia, with the remaining places due to be resolved in the coming weeks. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland both advanced to qualifying play-offs, the latter at the expense of Wales after a tense 1-0 win in Cardiff. Scotland narrowly missed out after a 2-2 draw with Slovenia.
Lewis Hamilton is within touching distance of a fourth Formula One world championship after his victory at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka. His fifth win in the past seven races, plus a spark plug failure that forced his rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, to retire after only four laps, means the Mercedes driver holds an almost insurmountable points lead going into the final four races of the season. Hamilton had entered the race with a 34-point advantage over Vettel and leaves 59 ahead, with 100 available. If Hamilton wins at the next round in the US on 22 October and Vettel finishes below fifth, the 32-year-old will take the title and become Britain’s most successful racing driver, with one more F1 championship than Sir Jackie Stewart. “I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap,” Hamilton said. “Ferrari have put on such a great challenge all year long. I have to put it down to my team. They’ve done a phenomenal job.”
• The man in charge of last year’s Rio Olympics was arrested last Wednesday as it was alleged 16 gold bars worth $2m that were stored in a bank in Switzerland were among his hidden assets. The investigation into corruption within the International Olympic Committee escalated as Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, was detained amid claims he was a key figure in a bribery scandal that led to Rio de Janeiro being awarded South America’s first Olympics. Nuzman was arrested on suspicion of corruption, money laundering and participating in a criminal operation after Brazilian prosecutors alleged his estate increased in value by 457% between 2006 and 2016. They claimed not to have been able to locate any evidence of increased income. Leonardo Gryner, former chief operating officer of Rio 2016, was also arrested on the same charges.
Finals fantasy … Iceland fans celebrate