Two key players from the Estonian national soccer team will miss the vital World Cup qualifier against Russia in Krasnodar on Nov.17. Goalkeeper Mart Poom (Sunderland AFC) and defender Andrei Stepanov (Torpedo Moskva) are both out due to injury. Estonian head coach Jelle Goes said the team would start training on Nov. 10 and head to Krasnodar on Nov. 14. The last match between the two teams, a friendly in 2002, ended with a memorable 2-1 victory for Estonia.
Lietuvos Rytas comfortably beat its fierce rivals Zalgiris Kaunas 74-59 in the two sides' first encounter in the Lithuanian Basketball League. The Vilnius-based team established a comfortable lead early in the game and the injury-stricken Zalgiris, which was without several of its star players, was unable to reply. The match, which was played at the new Siemens Arena in Vilnius, was attended by 10,000 people - the highest ever attendance in Lithuanian basketball history. Real Madrid teammates David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane (photo) and Raul will all give cameo performances in the forthcoming $100 million soccer movie trilogy "Goal," the first part of which will be released next August. The story is about a talented Hispanic soccer player from East Los Angeles, played by "Y Tu Mama Tambien" star Diego Luna, who rises out of the ghetto to play first for English side Newcastle United and then the Spanish giants Real Madrid. The final part of the trilogy takes place during the 2006 World Cup and will actually be filmed during the tournament itself. Fortunately, none of the soccer stars will be required to do any real acting.
Paula Radcliffe's (photo) victory in the New York marathon on Nov. 7 re-established her as the sport's biggest female star and finally put to rest her disastrous showing at the Athens Olympics, in which she failed to finish the marathon and the 10,000 meters. Radcliffe is likely to receive $2 million in endorsement deals and race appearance fees. She could be offered as much as $750,000 just to take part in the 25th London marathon in April and Nike has raised her $250,000-a-year deal to $1.2 million. Her main targets for 2005 will probably be the London marathon, the World Championship 10,000 meters and the defense of her New York title.