It's the Battle of Britain, or, as London's tabloids have dubbed it, the clash of "Auld Enemies."

Take your pick. It's England vs. Scotland--the oldest rivalry in international soccer--in a two-game series for the right to play in next summer's European championships.

Nobody savors beating the English more than their outnumbered northern neighbors, who have done it 40 times since the teams began playing each other in 1872 and a couple of times on real battlefields before that. Heavily favored England leads the series with 44 victories, and the teams have tied 24 times.

The rivalry will resume Saturday before 52,000 singing fans at Hampden Park in Glasgow, with thousands of extra police on duty and $50 tickets being scalped for $650. They will play again on Wednesday at 80,000-seat Wembley Stadium in London.

The team that scores the most goals in the two games advances to next summer's 16-team Euro 2000. If it's a tie, the team that has more goals on the road wins.

The hype started nearly a month ago when Scotland and England were drawn as opponents for one of four remaining spots in the European championships. Israel vs. Denmark, Slovenia vs. Ukraine and Ireland vs. Turkey are the other games Saturday.

"England is everybody's favorite over two legs because they've got a huge pool of players," Scotland midfielder John Collins said. "But there are always upsets in sport and football is no different. Some people will say we've got no chance, but we've got to believe we can do it."

Auto Racing

NASCAR TV: $2.4 Billion

The Fox network, its FX cable channel, NBC and Turner Sports will pay more than $2.4 billion over six years to televise NASCAR races, giving the fastest-growing sport in the United States one of the largest television contracts, people familiar with the agreement said.

NASCAR said the four networks had won the bidding contest for its Winston Cup and Busch Series events but declined to discuss the financial terms.

The agreement, which begins with the 2001 season, is four times the amount paid by NASCAR's current television partners--Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and ESPN, CBS Corp. and its TNN channel and TBS--and is third in size to the NFL's eight-year, $17.6 billion contract and the NBA's four-year, $2.64 billion pact.

Fox and FX will have an option to extend the contract two more years, which could push the total value closer to $3 billion.


Pak Leads LPGA Event

Se Ri Pak shot a 6-under-par 66 for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour Championship, with birdies on five of the first seven holes on the back nine of the Desert Inn Golf Club in Las Vegas.

Janice Moodie of Scotland birdied three of the last four holes for a 67.


Boggs Retires

Wade Boggs, the newest member of baseball's 3,000-hit club, retired yesterday and accepted a front office job with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that will include scouting and evaluating young talent. "It wasn't an easy decision," Boggs said during a news conference at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., "because an athlete can always look in the mirror and say okay, I can still play. Deep down inside, probably I thought I still could. But why not go out out on top. I've always said: 'I'll never embarrass myself in this game.' "

Figure Skating

Lipinski Tops Field

Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski headlines the women's field for the 1999 World Professional Figure Skating Championships.

Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic champion, will make her first appearance in the premier pro skating competition, facing 1994 Olympic winner Oksana Baiul of Ukraine. Also in the field is France's Surya Bonaly, and other competitors will be announced later. The two-day competition at MCI Center will be Dec. 11 and 12.


Seles Withdraws

A nagging foot injury has forced former world No. 1 Monica Seles to pull out of next week's season-ending Chase Championships, the WTA Tour announced. She has been sidelined since late September with a stress fracture in her right foot.