Sport: The Week in Review

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND were down and probably out of the World Cup after losing a tense Group Two qualifying match, made even more tense by questionable refereeing decisions, against the Netherlands in Rotterdam. Despite hitting the woodwork twice, England's defence was not solid enough to keep the Dutch at bay. After losing 2-0 their mathematical hopes now rest on the unlikely twin assumptions that they can beat San Marino 7-0 and that Poland are able to win 1-0 against the Netherlands.

In Group Three the Republic of Ireland's seemingly inexorable progress to the World Cup finals suffered a slight hiccup when they lost 3-1 to Spain in Dublin. Their place in the finals now depends on them beating Northern Ireland whose cause was lost after a 1-0 defeat by Denmark in Copenhagen. Wales, however, kept their ambitions alive in Group Four with a 2-0 defeat of Cyprus.

The outlook in the top flight was less statistically fraught for Damon Hill. His place, along with Ayrton Senna, in the Williams Formula One team for next season was confirmed. The so-called 'Judgement Day' bout between Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank was far from decisive. After an intermittently passionate fight in Manchester went the distance, the judges decided that neither of the fighters' level best was good enough for outright victory, and awarded a draw instead.

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