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Sports digest: Sweden faces 'tough' World Cup group

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12:07 CET+01:00
Sports Digest is The Local's weekly look at what's happening in Swedish sport.

Football

Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck spoke of "quite a tough group" when the draw was made for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in Durban on Saturday.

If they are to qualify for the first World Cup ever to be held on the African continent, the Swedes will need to overcome the challenges posed by Portugal, Denmark, Hungary, Albania and Malta.

But Lagerbäck, who has led his team to five straight major championships, also knew that the draw could have been so much worse.

"Sure, there are some groups that are worse. England's, for example. But this still feels like quite a tough group," Lagerbäck told reporters after the draw was made.

The Local

Golf

Australian Aaron Baddeley beat Sweden's Daniel Chopra at the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to claim the Australian Masters at Huntingdale on Sunday.

Baddeley, 26, ranked 18th in the world, finished the 72 holes of regular play at 13-under par 275 in a tie with Chopra.

They each parred the 18th hole three more times in sudden death play-offs, before the tournament was decided on the fourth.

Stuart Appleby finished in outright third place on 11-under-par 277, two strokes away.

Chopra missed a two-metre putt on the fourth play-off hole for a bogey after Baddeley had holed a par putt of about three metres.

"This is very special. To win here, being a former pennant player and living in Melbourne, growing up playing here," said Baddeley, a two-time winner of the Australian Open.

"I always love winning in Melbourne because it's unique. It's somewhere your grew up, it's very special.

"I felt like I would wear him down. I kept hitting the same shot into the green until that last one."

Chopra felt Baddeley had dominated the playoff and deserved to win, despite handing him the victory by missing a six-foot putt.

"I was really always chasing in the playoff. I really never got myself in pole position. I thought I had it," Chopra said.

"I was ahead of him finally. It's ironic how the one hole I felt I finally got ahead of him, I lost on," he said.

Baddeley began the day at 11 under, a shot behind Chopra.

After a steady and unspectacular front nine, he produced a nervous and unspectacular homeward stretch which included a bogey six at 14 where most of the field made a birdie.

But a birdie three at the long 17th had Baddeley within a shot of the lead which he joined when Chopra, in the group behind, made bogey at the same hole.

Before that, five players had either shared the lead or taken it outright during the final round.

Baddeley, Chopra, Appleby, Rod Pampling and Kurt Barnes all were at the top of the leaderboard and took turns dropping back before regrouping for another challenge.

Pampling and Barnes fell away first and with the issue reduced to a three way fight, Appleby holed an eight-metre par putt at the 15th that left him a shot clear at 14 under.

He then made adventurous pars at the next two only to throw it all away with a double bogey at the last.

Baddeley goes to China on Monday for the junior tournament he sponsors before returning for next month's Australian Open at The Australian course in Sydney, the tournament he won as an 18-year-old amateur in 1999 and again the following year.

AFP

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