Sports Shorts

Israel will play France in a Euro 2007 U-21 Championship qualifying playoff next month, following Friday's draw in Switzerland. France won the tournament in 1988, reached the final in 2002 and was knocked out in the semifinals by eventual winner Holland at this summer's event. Israel beat France 3-2 in Herzliya and lost 1-0 away in the 2006 qualifiers. The France squad features Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diara, Milan's Yoann Gourcoff and Marseille midfielder Samir Nassri, dubbed "the new Zidane." (Uzi Dann)

Alice Schlesinger won the silver medal at the European U-20 Judo Championship in Estonia yesterday after losing on points in the under-63 kilo category final to Russian Martha Labizana. Despite the medal, Schlesinger was unhappy with her performance. "I had a mediocre tournament. I made mistakes in the final. I plan to go over those mistakes with my coach and correct what needs to be corrected so that I will be stronger at the World Championship next month." Shahar Levy finished fifth in the under-48 kilo category. (Rami Hipsh)

Juventus stumbled to an embarrassing 1-1 draw at Rimini yesterday as it played its first-ever Serie B game following its forced relegation for involvement in a match-fixing scandal. Juve took the lead on the hour through Matteo Paro, who fired home after a failed attempt by Pavel Nedved. Things seemed to get easier for Juve when Rimini midfielder Domenico Cristiano was dismissed on 69 minutes for a double booking, but the host stunned its visitor four minutes later through a textbook drive fired by Adrian Ricchiuti after pouncing on a ball fumbled by Alain Boumsong. Juve remains 16 points adrift from the teams still on zero points following the penalty imposed by the Italian football federation. (DPA)

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen yesterday dashed Michael Schumacher's hopes of pole position for what could be the Ferrari great's Italian Grand Prix farewell at Monza today. The Finn, widely expected to be announced as Schumacher's successor after today's race, pipped the seven-time champion by just 0.002 seconds. Schumacher's title hopes were boosted significantly, however, when his Renault rival, Fernando Alonso, was punished for impeding Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa and demoted from fifth to 10th place on the starting grid. Alonso has a 12-point lead in the championship with four races remaining. (Reuters)

Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o scored two and set up another to steer the Spanish champion to a 3-0 victory over Osasuna at the Nou Camp yesterday. The Cameroon international opened the scoring with just over a minute on the clock when he put the finishing touch to a gleaming passing move involving Ronaldinho and Deco. He added a second 25 minutes later after racing on to a clever lofted pass from Deco, and set up Argentine teenager Lionel Messi for the third before the half was up when he cashed in on a mistake by Osasuna keeper Ricardo. The victory made it two wins out of two for the Catalans, who begin the defense of their Champions League crown at home to Bulgarian side Levski Sofia on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Britain's David Millar took the 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta yesterday, a 33-kilometer time trial in Cuenca, while Alejandro Valverde extended his overall lead over his rivals thanks to a strong fourth place finish. Time trial specialist Millar of the SDV team won in a time of 40 minutes 54 seconds with CSC rider Fabian Cancellara taking second in the same time. Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov came in third fastest, five seconds adrift with Valverde fourth just 13 seconds behind Millar. (DPA)