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UAE out of the running for World Cup after 2-1 loss to Australia

A late deflected goal from Ajdin Hrustic secured Australia’s 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates in an Asian playoff Tuesday and set up an intercontinental showdown with Peru for a spot at the World Cup in Qatar.

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The Australians are a win away from a fifth consecutive World Cup appearance after ending the UAE’s bid for a return to football’s marquee tournament for first time since 1990.

Jackson Irvine steered in Martin Boyle’s pinpoint pass from the right to open the scoring for Australia in the 53rd minute but the UAE equalized four minutes later through Caio Canedo’s strike.

Hrustic’s powerful left-foot volley from the top of the area deflected off a defender in the 84th minute to clinch the win.

“Pleased with the result tonight, but it’s only halftime,” Irvine said. “Getting ready to turn our focus straight away to the next game. The job’s only half done.”

The Socceroos have a six-day break before the playoff against Peru, which finished fifth in South American qualifying, for a place alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D at the World Cup starting in November.

The Australians took a similar path to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but, unlike last time when Australia beat Syria and then Honduras on a home-and-away basis in the continental and intercontinental playoffs, both playoffs this month are winner-takes-all and both played in Qatar.

Australia’s head coach Graham Arnold was under pressure to deliver a result after the Socceroos started their qualifying campaign with 11 straight wins, then slumping to register just one victory in seven games to finish third in their group behind Saudi Arabia and Japan and being forced into the must-win playoff route to Qatar.

“I saw a good reaction tonight,” Arnold said. “That’s what I’ve been driving … about the Aussie DNA, and that is (to) kick, fight, scratch and do whatever you have to do to win the game. And however we win it, who cares, just win it.”

Arnold said the Socceroos would spend Wednesday recovering after a good defensive performance against UAE and would turn their attention immediately to Peru.

“We made sure we stayed nice and compact during the game,” he said. “We’ll improve even more for the next game.”

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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