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Ready or Not, Southeast Asian Games Poised to open

The Southeast Asian Games officially open on Friday in Indonesia, where beleaguered organizers have admitted to battling a slew of problems including corruption, unfinished venues and poor ticket sales.

Eleven nations will contest sports from athletics and swimming to sepak takraw -- a cross between football and volleyball -- in the biennial Games held in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra.

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Murray Beats Roddick to reach Paris Quarters

Andy Murray easily beat Andy Roddick 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters.

The second-seeded British player improved his record to 17-0 since the U.S. Open and has now won 27 of his last 28 matches since mid-August.

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Italy Faces Attacking Problems in Poland

Italy will head to Poland for a friendly Friday with attacking problems at the forefront of their minds, with starting forwards Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano out with long-term injuries.

Rossi had knee surgery last week and Cassano is recovering from heart surgery, with both players expected to be out for up to six months.

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Newcastle Renames Stadium Sports Direct Arena

Newcastle has announced it will rename its 119-year-old football stadium the Sports Direct Arena as part of plans to sell the naming rights.

The Premier League club's home ground has been known as St. James' Park since 1892, but managing director Derek Llambias says "stadium rebranding offers a lucrative way for clubs to secure significant additional income."

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Germany Tests Kiev Ground in Ukraine Friendly

Germany travels to Kiev for a friendly against Ukraine at a venue it hopes to return to next year for the final of the European Championship.

Joachim Loew's team comes bolstered by 10 wins from 10 qualifying games but will be missing striker Miroslav Klose, defender and captain Philipp Lahm, and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in Friday's match.

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Rosberg Extends Deal with Mercedes

Nico Rosberg has agreed to a contract extension that will keep the German Formula One driver with the Mercedes team through the 2013 season.

Rosberg, who joined Mercedes for the 2010 season, has earned 217 points for the team and currently sits seventh in the driver standings just ahead of teammate and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

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Neymar Extends Contract with Santos

Highly-coveted Brazilian striker Neymar put a definitive end to speculation about his future on Wednesday as he extended his contract with Santos for a further two years to 2014.

The 19-year-old had already said in September at a hastily-assembled press conference that he would not be moving in the transfer window in January dashing the hopes of several European clubs, primarily Spanish giants Real Madrid.

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Euro 2012 Lineup Close to Completion with Playoffs

The lineup for the European Championship could become clearer Friday when the playoffs for the final four places at next year’s tournament get under way.

While already qualified Germany, France and the Netherlands are in friendly action, the Czech Republic hosts Montenegro as it tries to maintain a record of reaching every European Championship since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

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Yaya Toure, Drogba up for African Player Award

Ivory Coast trio Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, and Gervinho were among 10 footballers nominated for the African Player of the Year award on Wednesday.

The three English Premier League players were joined by 2010 winner Samuel Eto’o and Ghanaian internationals Andre Ayew, Asamoah Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng on a list announced by the Confederation of African Football.

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Balotelli: I’m Not Crazy But I Do Strange Things

Mario Balotelli insists he’s not crazy, although he does acknowledge that he “can do strange things” from time to time.

For example, Balotelli recently had to evacuate his house in England after fireworks were let off in his bathroom. And he has been questioned by Naples prosecutors over a visit with the Camorra crime syndicate.

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