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Since 1st March, 1999
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Thorpe misses mark

Stockholm: Australian Ian Thorpe powered to 400m freestyle gold at the Fina World Cup on Tuesday, but missed breaking the world record by an agonising five hundredths of a second.

Thorpe destroyed his rivals, finishing in 3:34.63 seconds — nearly nine seconds quicker than Romania’s Dragos Coman in second place. Italy’s Valerio Cleri was more than 13 seconds back in the bronze medal place.

Thorpe touched home just outside compatriot Grant Hackett’s world best, set in Sydney last July.

Scolari a winner, says Carlos

Lisbon: Hosts Portugal can win the 2004 European Championship under new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazilian World Cup-winning full back Roberto Carlos said on Wednesday.

As Brazil coach, Scolari took a side in danger of not qualifying for the 2002 World Cup finals to victory in Japan last year.

“I therefore believe he will do the same for the Portuguese team, so as to enter Portuguese history,” Roberto Carlos said in an interview with O Jogo. “Portugal already has a team set-up, which might change one player or another, but what it really needed was a coach with a different and stronger personality.”

“I believe very much (in a Portuguese victory), because I know very well what Portuguese players are worth and I know how Luiz Felipe Scolari works,” the Real Madrid player added.

Real’s plans

Madrid: European Champions Real Madrid are looking to open football academies in China and Mexico, the club’s sporting director Jorge Valdano said Tuesday. “We hope to open the first international football schools in Mexico and china in the next six months,” said Valdano.

Valdano added the club still intended to sell Argentino Santiago Hernan Solari to Inter Milan, whom the Spaniards must sell on a player as part of the price of luring Brazilian star Ronaldo from the Milanese last summer.

Real might offload striker Fernando Morientes by season’s end given the emergence of young starlet Javier Portillo. Morientes has been linked to Italian side AS Roma.

n Tennis, Australian Open: Women’s singles semi-finals, live from 8.00 am on STAR Sports n Cricket, tri-series: Australia vs England, 1st final live from 8.43 am on ESPN n Soccer: Futbol Mundial from 5.30pm on STAR Sports

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