WORLD SPORTS AT 1330 GMT
MILAN _ From soccer flops to the brink of making history, Italy has come a long way in the two years since its embarrassing failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Italy had already qualified for the 2020 European Championship _ with three matches to spare _ but Tuesday's 5-0 win at Liechtenstein saw the Azzurri match the national team's record of nine straight wins set under Vittorio Pozzo between 1938-39. By Daniella Matar. SENT: 730 words, photos.
SOFIA, Bulgaria _ Bulgarian police arrested six soccer fans Wednesday and identified 15 people linked to making racist gestures, including Nazi salutes, during a European Championship qualifying match against England. SENT: 205 words, photos.
TOKYO _ Cheslin Kolbe got a real kick out of watching Kenki Fukuoka and Katoro Matsushima burn off the Scottish defenders last weekend. Now the Springboks winger wants to show the Japanese flyers what he can do with the ball in a bit of space. By John Pye. SENT: 850 words, photos.
TOKYO _ The International Olympic Committee wants to move the Tokyo Games marathons 800 kilometers (500 miles) north to avoid the searing heat in the city. SENT: 330 words, photos.
WASHINGTON _ Washington is heading to the World Series for the first time in 86 years after the wild-card Nationals used a seven-run first inning and Patrick Corbin's 12-strikeout performance to hold on and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 for a sweep of the NL Championship Series. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 1,220 words, photos.
MADRID _ The Spanish soccer league wants Barcelona's game against Real Madrid to be moved out of the Catalan capital to avoid coinciding with a planned separatist rally. SENT: 210 words, photo.
NYON, Switzerland _ UEFA has punished Lazio for fans' racist behavior by closing one end of Stadio Olimpico for its Europa League game against Celtic. SENT: 145 words, photos.
Captain Alun Wyn Jones has toiled in the engine room of the Welsh lineup through the Rugby World Cup, playing his essential but unglamorous part in his team's progress to the quarterfinals. By Steve McMorran. SENT: 530 words, photos.
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea _ Gary Woodland finished runner-up to Brooks Koepka in last year's CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. He returns this year for the first of three PGA Tour events in Asia with a major victory on his resume and two new infant seats in the back of the family car. SENT: 550 words, photos.
MOSCOW _ Belinda Bencic won six of the last seven games and beat Polona Hercog 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals at the Kremlin Cup. SENT: 140 words.
BKN--TIM DAHLBERG-LEBRON JAMES
LeBron James had time, and plenty of it, to figure out how best to answer the questions he knew were coming. Long days in hotel rooms in China and a long flight home gave him every chance to carefully craft a response to a controversy he had no part in making but one that directly affects his bank account. Instead James chose to wing it. He blamed the messenger instead of addressing the message. And the LeBron brand may never be the same. By Tim Dahlberg. SENT: 865 words, photos, video.
_ BKN--NBA PRESEASON RDP _ Edwards' 3s in the 3rd send Celtics to perfect preseason. SENT: 455 words, photos.
_ HKN--NHL CAPSULES _ Vasilevskiy leads Lightning to a 3-1 win over Canadiens. SENT: 790 words, photos.
YOUR QUERIES: Questions and story requests are welcome. Contact your local AP bureau or the AP International Sports Desk in London by telephone at +44 207 427 4224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.