Sport in brief

The Guardian Weekly - - Sport -

• 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

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