Reuters Sports Schedule at 0600 GMT on Wednesday, August 14

Reuters sports schedule at 0600 GMT on Wednesday:

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World championships, Moscow (to 18)

Defar returns to centre stage in 5,000m heats

MOSCOW – Ethiopia’s twice Olympic champion Meseret Defar takes to the track for the first time at these world championships in Wednesday’s 5,000 metres heats after deciding not to run the 10,000 earlier in the week. (ATHLETICS-WORLD/ (PIX, TV), expect throughout, by Mitch Phillips, Alison Wildey and Justin Palmer, 600 words)

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2014 World Cup qualifier

Group F

Northern Ireland v Russia, Belfast (1845)

Northern Ireland host Russia in rearranged qualifier

Group F strugglers Northern Ireland welcome second-placed Russia to Windsor Park for a World Cup qualifier that has been rescheduled after bad weather forced the game to be postponed twice in March. (SOCCER-WORLD/NIRELAND (PIX), 350 words)

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International friendlies

Belarus v Montenegro (1530)

Azerbaijan v Malta (1600)

Estonia v Latvia (1600)

Finland v Slovenia (1600)

Luxembourg v Lithuania (1730)

Poland v Denmark (1845)

Hungary v Czech Republic (1830)

Belgium v France (1900)

Sweden v Norway (1900)

Ukraine v Israel (1800)

Romania v Slovakia (1800)

Liechtenstein v Croatia (1815)

Austria v Greece (1830)

Albania v Armenia (1845)

Bosnia Herzegovina v USA (1845)

Germany v Paraguay (1845)

Italy v Argentina (1845)

Macedonia v Bulgaria (1845)

Switzerland v Brazil (1845)

Wales v Ireland (1845)

England v Scotland (1900)

Portugal v Netherlands (1930)

Iceland v Faroe Islands (1945)

Ecuador v Spain (2030)

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Italy host Argentina, Brazil visit Swiss in friendlies

LONDON – Italy face Argentina for the first time in 12 years with nearly 50 friendlies scheduled for the first international date of the season as 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil visit Switzerland, England host Scotland and Belgium welcome France. (SOCCER-FRIENDLIES/WRAP, expect by 2045 GMT/6:45 PM ET, by Rex Gowar, 800 words)

We will also bring you individual match reports on the leading fixtures, sidebars on merit plus collated results

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South Africa v Nigeria (1815)

DURBAN – Nigeria return to South Africa six months after winning the African Nations Cup to play the hosts in a friendly before next month’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Malawi. (SOCCER-AFRICA/SAFRICA, expect by 2030 GMT/4:30 ET, by Mark Gleeson, 400 words)

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Tigers’ Scherzer eyes major league leading 18th win

Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer seeks his major league-leading 18th win of the season when he takes the mound against the Chicago White Sox while the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox visit the Toronto Blue Jays in a game of first meets last in two of the 15 games on the schedule. (BASEBALL-HIGHLIGHTS/, moving shortly, 300 words)

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Western and Southern Open (to 18)

Sharapova stunned in second round

CINCINNATI – The Maria Sharapova-Jimmy Connors partnership got off to a rocky start on Tuesday as Sloane Stephens shocked the third ranked Russian 2-6 7-6(5) 6-3 at the Western and Southern Open. (TENNIS-CINCINNATI/WOMEN, moved, by Steve Keating, 400 words)

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CINCINNATI – Roger Federer got his delayed hardcourt season off to a positive start with straightforward 6-3 7-6(7) win over Germany’s Phillip Kohlschreiber to ease into the third round of the Western and Southern Open. (TENNIS-CINCINNATI/MEN, moved, by Steve Keating, 400 words)

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Roundups of off-field developments in the major North American professional sports leagues. (Moved, by The Sports Xchange, 400 words)

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Rugby Championship

Rugby Championship to kick off with eyes on World Cup

SYDNEY – The All Blacks arrive in Sydney on Thursday without world leading points scorer Dan Carter and with captain Richie McCaw short of match play as the Rugby Championship opens with the Wallabies hosting the world champions, while a youthful Springboks backline awaits a rejuventaed Argentina side. (RUGBY-CHAMPIONSHIP/, individual country analyses moving from 0800 GMT /4 AM ET, 700 words)

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WELLINGTON – Argentina’s first year in the Rugby Championship was a major boost to Latin American rugby but a victory in this year’s campaign could send interest in the region off the scale, according to SANZAR chief Greg Peters. (RUGBY-CHAMPIONSHIP/PETERS (INTERVIEW), moving at 0800 GMT/4 AM ET, by Greg Stutchbury, 600 words)

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CAPE TOWN – South Africa name their starting lineup for their opening Rugby Championship match against Argentina in Johannesburg on Saturday. (RUGBY-CHAMPIONSHIP/SAFRICA-TEAM, expect by 1200 GMT/8 AM, by Nick Said, 300 words)

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NEW DELHI – A $1 million dollar franchise-based badminton league kicks off in New Delhi on Wednesday without the Chinese shuttlers whose success India is so keen to emulate. (BADMINTON-INDIA/LEAGUE, expect by 0800 GMT/4AM ET, by Amlan Chakraborty, 500 words) (Asia duty editor: Peter Rutherford)

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