Late header from Kane gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia
England's Harry Kane, left, celebrates his winning goal with
England's Ashley Young during the group G match between Tunisia and
England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Volgograd Arena in
Volgograd, Russia, Monday, June 18. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Volgograd, Russia (AP) —
Twice wrestled to the ground during the match, England captain Harry
Kane finally evaded the Tunisian defense just as time was running
Kane found an open area of
space at the far post and used his head to meet Harry Maguire's
flick-on, scoring the winning goal Monday in a 2-1 victory at the
It was relief for Kane and
Gareth Southgate, who leapt into the air in delight as his World Cup
debut as a coach got off to a winning start.
"The best teams in the world
keep that belief in what they're doing," Southgate said, "and in the
end they break the opposition down."
England shouldn't have found it
so tough in their Group G opener against such opposition. Not after
Kane got England off to a perfect start with an 11th-minute tap in.
But after Kyle Walker softly conceded a penalty that Ferjani Sassi
converted in the 35th, many of the fouls went against England.
"Maybe there was a bit of
justice at the end," Kane said.
Finally, Kane showcased on the
international stage the predatory instinct in front of goal that has
served Tottenham so well. Only two years ago, the striker failed to
find the net at the 2016 European Championship, which ended in
humiliation with a loss to Iceland in the last 16.
The team has been transformed
by Southgate since then. For all the placidness and togetherness
within the group, Southgate has added persistence and doggedness.
"It shows the work we have put
in these last few weeks," Walker said. "Togetherness and believing
At the last World Cup, England
couldn't even win a game. Low expectations for this year's
overhauled team were dispelled early in Russia when Kane reacted
quickly to score after John Stones' header was saved. But England
struggled to finish it off.
When Walker's flailing arm
caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, a penalty was awarded and Sassi
slotted it in to equalize.
England's players later thought
they deserved the same verdict when Kane was grappled to the ground
twice by Tunisians on either side of the halftime break. Both times,
the referee decided against punishing the culprits.
Despite it all, Kane remained
patient and delivered in the first minute of stoppage time.
"You go until the last second,"
Kane said, "and I'm absolutely buzzing."
Belgium wake up in 2nd half, roll past Panama 3-0
Panama's Armando Cooper, left, and Belgium's Jan Vertonghen fight
for the ball during the group G match between Belgium and Panama at
the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia,
Monday, June 18. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Sochi, Russia (AP) —
Unlike the other World Cup favorites that struggled through their
opening matches, Belgium looked every part title contenders.
Having Dries Mertens and Romelu
Lukaku capable of scoring the way they did against Panama helps.
"People know I am supposed to
score goals," Lukaku said. "The most important thing to me is to win
Lukaku scored twice in a
six-minute span in the second half after Mertens' perfectly struck
volley gave Belgium the lead, and the Red Devils beat overmatched
Panama 3-0 Monday.
Saddled with massive
expectations and a lineup of talent the envy of other teams in the
tournament, Belgium showed flashes of being a team worthy of title
A shaky first-half performance
by Belgium was replaced by a confident, attacking group in the
second that was finally able to find gaps in Panama's defence and
convert those chances into goals.
"In the World Cup you have to
play 90 minutes. You have to be aware that in any game you go into,
if you don't score early on, you have to be prepared to work hard
and go through periods in which you are tested," Belgium coach
Roberto Martinez said.
The two goals from Lukaku came
shortly after Mertens scored from about 18 yards in the opening
moments of the second half, finally relieving some pressure after
Belgium were unable to break down Panama for the first 45 minutes.
Lukaku's first goal came 20
minutes later, but the pass from Kevin De Bruyne made it possible.
Rather than shooting through a crowd of Panama defenders, De Bruyne
cut a pass with the outside of his right foot onto Lukaku's head and
into the net.
Lukaku added a second on a
breakaway minutes later, chipping Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo as
he left his net.
"For me it's important to have
the right line in the box," Lukaku said. "Usually I'm in the right
position at the right time."
Belgium are now unbeaten in
their last six World Cup openers, dating back to a 1986 loss to
Panama were unable to duplicate
what Senegal accomplished in 2002 as the last team to win in a World
Cup debut. The Central Americans played their style — physical,
aggressive, sometimes looking more like wrestling than soccer — and
managed to hang with the Red Devils for more than an hour. But they
never created threatening scoring chances — Panama scored only nine
goals in 10 World Cup qualifying matches — and eventually Belgium
finished their opportunities.
Sweden get benefit of video review, beat South Korea 1-0
Sweden's Viktor Claesson, left, is fouled by South Korea's Kim
Min-woo conceding a penalty kick for Sweden during the World Cup
group F match between Sweden and South Korea at the Nizhny Novgorod
stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Monday, June 18. (AP Photo/Petr
Nizhny Novgorod, Russia (AP)
— Sweden got the break they needed from the video review system,
and team captain Andreas Granqvist didn't waste the chance.
Granqvist slid his penalty kick
into the bottom right corner of the net in the 65th minute to give
Sweden a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Monday at the World Cup.
"I was calm. I waited for the
goalie and then I put it in the corner," said Granqvist, a central
defender. "We got the penalty, we scored, and then it was just a
fight to the end."
The Swedes, playing in their
first World Cup since 2006, were awarded the penalty after
Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar consulted a video screen on the
sideline. Aguilar had originally waved play on after South Korea
substitute Kim Min-woo slid into a tackle and collided with Viktor
Claesson. But he took another look and decided Kim had tripped
Claesson as he tried to clear the ball.
"There was no doubt it was a
penalty and should have been called right away," Sweden coach Janne
It was the third penalty to be
awarded because of a video review in the first 12 games at this
year's World Cup. France and Peru also benefitted from the
technology, though the Peruvians missed their penalty kick.
The video review system, making
its World Cup debut in Russia, appears to be working so far.
"We do agree that it was a good
call," South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong said.
Sweden are now tied for first
place in Group F with Mexico, who beat Germany 1-0. The Swedes will
next face the Germans on Saturday, while South Korea play Mexico on
the same day.
Although Sweden used the video
review to win, they were the better team and showed most of the
attacking intent. The Swedes just couldn't beat goalkeeper Jo
Hyeon-woo until the penalty.
Jo saved a close-range shot
from Marcus Berg midway through the first half, using his right leg
to make the block and then jumping back up to punch the ball away
with both hands. He also stopped a powerful, dipping header from Ola
Toivonen in the second half.
Shin fielded Jo, the team's
third-choice goalkeeper, because he is the tallest of the three
keepers and the Koreans wanted to use his height against the Swedes.
Shin also gambled on a
three-man attack of Son Heung-min, Hwang Hee-chan and 6-foot-6
striker Kim Shin-wook.
South Korea, who have won only
two World Cup matches since their incredible run to the semifinals
in 2002, had a chance to level in injury time but Hwang put a header
wide from in front of goal.
Murray excited to end 11-month absence at Queen's this week
Britain's Andy Murray smiles during a practice session on day one of
the Queen's Club Championship at the Queens Club in London, Monday
June 18. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)
London (AP) — Andy
Murray is excited to be returning at the pre-Wimbledon Queen's Club
event this week after the former top-ranked player in the world
experienced the "lowest point" of his career during an 11-month
absence from tennis.
The 31-year-old Briton, who has
been out of action with a hip injury since losing in the 2017
Wimbledon quarter-finals, has been drawn to meet Australia's Nick
Kyrgios in the first round at Queen's.
"I'm really looking forward to
playing again," Murray said in his regular BBC Sport column. "While
I will be nervous, it will be great to finally step back on the
"With sport you play to win,
but when you are away from something you love doing for almost a
year, you realize you're playing because you love it.
"I didn't start playing to win
Wimbledon or get to number one in the world. I never believed that
was something I was going to do, or something I thought about when I
was a kid growing up. I played tennis because I loved it and
continued doing that throughout my whole career."
Murray, who won the Wimbledon
title in 2013 and 2016 and the U.S. Open crown in 2012, had an
operation on his hip in January.
"When, after six months of not
competing, you're still not good enough to be where you want to be
and looking like you're going to have to have surgery, it's the
lowest point you can get to in your professional career," he said.
"People might say, 'oh, you've
got it great' - which I'm aware that we do, and I'm very lucky I get
to play tennis for a living. But that's what I've been doing since I
was a child, and when you're not able to do something that you love
Wimbledon starts on July 2.
Brooks Koepka wins US Open, 1st repeat winner in 29 years
Brooks Koepka kisses the trophy after winning the U.S. Open Golf
Championship, Sunday, June 17, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julio
Southampton, N.Y. (AP) —
One was about power. The other was about patience.
Brooks Koepka has a game for
the U.S. Open no matter the course, no matter the test, no matter
He never lost hope when he
began his title defense with a 75 and was 7-over par midway through
the second round. He didn't lose his mind in the most punishing
third round of a U.S. Open in nearly two decades.
And with a cool head and a hot
putter, he didn't give anyone a chance down the stretch Sunday at
Koepka pulled away from a
four-way tie for the lead with three birdies in five holes, held off
Tommy Fleetwood and his record-tying 63 and closed with a 2-under 68
for a one-shot victory to become the first repeat U.S. Open champion
in 29 years.
"I don't want to say I didn't
think I could do it," Koepka said. "But I knew that it was going to
be that much more difficult. And to finally do it, it's much more
gratifying the second time. I can really appreciate how hard it is
to win a major."
Koepka won with birdies on
spacious Erin Hills last year. The signature moment from this U.S.
Open was a trio of putts to escape trouble on the back nine — two
for par, one for bogey.
"I enjoy being pushed to the
limit," Koepka said. "Sometimes you feel like you are about to break
mentally, but that's what I enjoy. I enjoy hard golf courses. I
enjoy playing about the toughest in golf you are ever going to
Shinnecock Hills was every bit
of that, particularly on Saturday when conditions were so severe
that the last 45 players to tee off shot over par. The USGA conceded
the course was over the top and pledged to add water to slow it
down. Fleetwood raced into U.S. Open history with a 63, without
making birdie on the two par 5s and missing an 8-foot birdie putt on
the final hole.
That cost him more than the
record. It cost him a chance in a playoff.
Koepka took a two-shot lead
with a wedge to 3½ feet for birdie on the par-5 16th, allowing him a
safe bogey on the final hole to finish at 1-over 281. It was the
first time since 2013 at Merion that no one broke par, and it was 13
shots more than his winning score at Erin Hills.
Curtis Strange, the last player
to go back-to-back in this major in 1988 and 1989, watched the
entire final round as the Fox Sports reporter on the ground, and
they shared a brief hug off the 18th green.
"Hell of a job," Strange said
Fleetwood was one shot behind
when he finished, and Koepka still had 11 holes to play as
Shinnecock Hills began to get crisp under another sunny sky.
With a putting performance and
calm demeanor reminiscent of Retief Goosen when he won the previous
U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, in 2004, the 28-year-old Koepka began
the back nine with three pivotal putts — one for birdie, one for
bogey, one for par.
The biggest might have been his
bogey on the nasty little par-3 11th.
Koepka pulled a pitching wedge
to the left, down the slope and into thick grass. He chopped that up
the slope with so much speed that it raced across the green and into
the bunker. He blasted that out to 8 feet and made the putt to keep
his lead at one shot.
"I think that was like making a
birdie, maybe even making an eagle," he said. "Because it could have
been a big momentum shift there, and we could have been playing
tennis just going back and forth. To make bogey there was pretty
incredible and I think kind of the reason why we won."
He wasn't through. He hacked
out of the hay over the green at No. 12, pitched beautifully to 7
feet and made the par. Two holes later, after another drive into
grass so thick he wasn't sure he could get it out, Koepka rolled in
an 8-footer for another par save.
Fleetwood played with Koepka in
the final group last year at Erin Hills. He finished his round as
Koepka was finishing up the par-3 seventh.
"The best players in the world
are up there trying to win a U.S. Open, and watching them down the
stretch, you've got nothing but respect for how well Brooks did,
just to hole the putts at the right time," Fleetwood said. "He kept
it together, and he's a world class player. One of the best players
in the world. It wasn't great for me, but it was great as a golfer
to watch how he did it."
Koepka moved to career-best No.
4 in the world with his fifth victory, this one coming two months
after he returned following torn tendons in his left wrist that kept
him out the first part of the season, including the Masters.
Dustin Johnson, part of the
four-way tie for the lead to start the final round, couldn't keep up
with one of his best friends. Johnson was one shot behind at the
turn until a trio of three-putt bogeys on the back nine. A birdie on
the final hole gave him an even-par 70 to finish alone in third and
remain No. 1 in the world.
A year ago, Johnson called him
on the eve of the final round to offer advice. On Sunday, they were
playing side by side without exchanging words, each trying to play a
course that was considerably softer than the previous day.
"We didn't really speak too
much," Koepka said. "He was busy grinding his tail off and I was
busy grinding mine. We're extremely close. I love the guy to death.
It would have been fun to duel it out with him coming down the end,
having to make some putts."
Only one of them did. Koepka
took 14 fewer putts than Johnson on the weekend.
Masters champion Patrick Reed
flirted with the second leg of the Grand Slam. He was tied for the
lead when he ran off five birdies in his opening seven holes. Reed
spent too much time in the high grass on the back nine and closed
with a 68 to finish fourth.
Americans have won the last
five majors — all of them in their 20s — and Koepka joined an elite
group as only the seventh player to go back-to-back in what is
regarded as golf's toughest test. Next up is Pebble Beach, and a
chance to join Willie Anderson as the only player to win three in a
row. Anderson won his third straight in 1905. Ben Hogan won three
straight that he played, missing in 1949 after nearly getting killed
when his car struck a bus.
Mexico beat defending champions Germany 1-0 at World Cup
Mexico's Hirving Lozano celebrates scoring his side's winning goal
during the World Cup group F match against Germany at the Luzhniki
Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 17. (AP Photo/Antonio
Moscow (AP) — Defending
World Cup champions have been finding it hard to get out of the
group stage lately, and Germany are proving no exceptions.
The 2014 champions, ranked No.
1 in the world, were exposed defensively and surprisingly beaten by
Mexico 1-0 on Sunday, putting their hopes of advancement in doubt.
Well, not everyone is in doubt.
"We will make it," Germany
coach Joachim Loew said. "There's no reason to fall apart because
you lose one game."
Hirving Lozano scored the lone
goal in the 35th minute, picking up Javier Hernandez's pass inside
the penalty area and beating Mesut Ozil before shooting past German
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from 10 yards.
The goal decided the match — a
match Germany didn't expect to lose.
"I don't know if it's the
biggest victory in (Mexico's) history, but one of the biggest for
sure," Lozano said. "My teammates and I did some great work. We all
ran our hearts out. This is the result of all that hard work."
Three of the previous four
defending World Cup champions failed to reach the knockout stages,
France, Italy and Spain. Two of them lost their opening matches
while the Italians had to settle for a draw.
The Germans are bidding to
become the first team to retain the World Cup title since Brazil in
1962, but have now won only one of their last seven games in all
competitions. They hadn't lost an opening game since the then-West
Germany fell 2-1 to Algeria in 1982.
Mexico had never beaten Germany
in a competitive match but were transformed from the team which lost
to the Germans 4-1 in last year's Confederations Cup, conceding
twice in the opening eight minutes.
Lozano, a 22-year-old forward
nicknamed "Chucky," got Mexico going with a deflected shot over the
bar in the first minute. That set the tone for Mexico to torment
Germany on the counterattack, with Lozano taking full advantage of
right back Joshua Kimmich's tendency to go forward.
"We were nervous and we weren't
playing the game we wanted to play," Loew said. "We need to see what
After Lozano's goal, Mexico
goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa pulled off a spectacular save to keep the
score even, palming Toni Kroos' shot onto the crossbar.
With key players tiring in the
second half, Mexico pulled back and substituted both Lozano and
Carlos Vela. Germany then dominated but when they broke through the
Mexican defence, the shooting was poor.
reinforcement, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio brought on
39-year-old veteran Rafael Marquez to play in his fifth World Cup.
"You had the feeling that the
ball just wouldn't go in anyhow," Loew said. "Everyone's very
Mexico still have to play South
Korea and Sweden, which Osorio called "a tough nut to crack."
Germany need points from
matches against Sweden on Saturday and South Korea on June 27 to
Neuer, who started his first
competitive game since September, said his teammates are aware that
another loss would end their World Cup run.
"We're already in the knockout
stages," Neuer said, "because we only have finals now."
In Sunday’s other fixtures,
Brazil were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland and Serbia defeated
Costa Rica 1-0.
Fernando Alonso wins on debut in 24 Hours Le Mans race
Drivers of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid No8 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing
Team Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland, right on the car and Fernando
Alonso of Spain celebrate after winning the 86th 24-hour Le Mans
endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Sunday, June 17. (AP
Le Mans, France (AP) —
Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso won the 24 Hours Le
Mans on his debut in the classic endurance race on Sunday to move
closer to motorsport's unofficial Triple Crown.
The Spanish driver, together
with teammates Kazuki Nakajima of Japan and Sebastien Buemi of
Switzerland, completed 388 laps in their Toyota hybrid car, two more
than Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez in the other
Alonso is bidding to match
British driver Graham Hill's feat of completing the Triple Crown,
including wins at the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500. Alonso
is a two-time winner in Monaco.
"Le Mans once a year is not
enough! It needs to be every three weeks," joked Alonso, who looked
to be in trouble when Buemi was penalized for speeding in a caution
zone late Saturday.
Alonso's car was left more than
two minutes behind the other Toyota but the Spaniard managed to claw
back the difference through the night, putting Nakajima in position
to retake the lead from Kobayashi early on Sunday.
"I felt great tonight," Alonso
said after his final stint driving. "I don't know exactly how, but I
managed to make the tires work for us at the right time despite the
cool air temp. Our pace has been good and I was lucky with the
traffic as well."
It was Toyota's first victory
at the 20th attempt, and the first win for a Japanese manufacturer
since Mazda's success in 1991.
Former Formula One champion
Jenson Button raced for the private SMP team, but the Briton's
non-hybrid car faced early problems with engine trouble that forced
its retirement in the final hour.
Some 60 factory and private
teams competed in the 86th edition of the race.
Spence keeps IBF title at home with quick knockout of Ocampo
Carlos Ocampo goes down after being hit by Errol Spence Jr. during
the first round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, June 16, in
Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
Frisco, Texas (AP) —
Errol Spence Jr. gave the home folks the knockout he figured they
wanted. There just wasn't much of the show he hoped would go with
Spence stopped Carlos Ocampo to
retain his IBF welterweight title, dropping the Mexican challenger
with a right hand to the body as the first round was ending Saturday
Fighting at the Dallas Cowboys'
practice facility after growing up in the suburbs as a fan of
America's Team, Spence improved to 24-0 with his 11th straight
knockout and 21st overall.
The crowd might have been left
wanting more, as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones jokingly suggested after
winking at the camera while celebrating with the 2012 U.S. Olympian
in the ring.
"He can fight again tonight if
someone wants to step up and fight him," Jones said.
Ocampo crumpled to the canvas
after taking the body shot. He tried to get up but went down to his
knees and was counted out in the battle of unbeaten fighters.
"I was a little disappointed,"
Spence said. "I wanted to give the crowd their money's worth. I
wanted him to sustain a bit and give him some punishment, but the
body shot got him and I dropped him."
The 28-year-old Spence was
fighting in front of a sellout crowd in the 12,000-seat football
stadium that doubles as the indoor practice facility for the Cowboys
at their headquarters about 30 miles north of Dallas.
Cowboys quarterback Dak
Prescott and several teammates were in the crowd along with Jones.
"This room was full of Dallas
Cowboys football players supporting you," Jones said. "They share
your passion. I saw a guy in this ring who knew what he wanted. When
you knock a guy out by hitting him once on the side of his back,
you're bad to the bone."
It was the second defense of
the 147-pound title that Spence won last summer in Englishman Kell
Ocampo (22-1) was fighting
professionally outside his home country for the first time.
"l got a lot of experience out
of fighting Errol," Ocampo said. "It would have been a very
difficult fight for me. I got overconfident at the end of the round
and he caught me."
The buildup for the right was
all the crowd got, with Spence taking the ring to big cheers with a
big Cowboys star logo on the front of his robe. Earlier, Spence got
a good roar when he was shown on camera alongside Jones near his
"This moment is a dream,"
Spence said. "I wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys and now I'm
fighting in front of the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones."
Spence battered Lamont Peterson
in his first title defense in New York in January, winning in the
eighth round. Last summer in Sheffield, England, Spence broke
Brook's orbital bone and knocked him down in the 10th round before
the fight was stopped in the 11th.
This was Spence's first fight
as a co-promoter, the other reason besides the hometown crowd that
the show was part of the story line.
"We'll definitely be back after
I unify some titles," Spence said. "We'll make this an annual thing
where I fight here."
Spence's victory came a week
after Terence Crawford took the WBO crown from Jeff Horn, who had
beaten Manny Pacquiao a year earlier. But Spence's focus is on the
expected August fight between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter for the
"I definitely want to make that
a unifying fight," Spence said. "We both have the same management.
Why not make that happen? I definitely want that fight whenever
In the previous fight, WBA
super bantamweight champion Danny Roman won a unanimous decision
over Moises Flores. Roman would have retained the belt regardless of
the outcome because Flores didn't make weight.
"I went for the body because we
knew he was so drained from cutting weight," Roman said. "Him
missing weight and not being able to win my belt didn't change
A 10-round junior welterweight
fight between Javier Fortuna and Adrian Granados ended in a
no-decision after Fortuna appeared to hit his head while falling
backward out of the ring during the fourth round. Fortuna was placed
in a neck brace and taken away on a stretcher.
The 28-year-old Fortuna went to
a hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion.
"I didn't push him," Granados
said. "I think he was looking for an excuse on his way out. We were
both battling, but I knew he could feel I was getting stronger.
Let's do the rematch."
Update June 16 - 17, 2018
Ronaldo scores hat trick, Portugal draw 3-3 with Spain
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo slides on the ground to his bench after
scoring his second goal during the group B match between Portugal
and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in
Sochi, Russia, Friday, June 15. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Sochi, Russia (AP) —
Cristiano Ronaldo used the World Cup to show everyone he's the GOAT.
Ronaldo rubbed his chin after
scoring minutes into Portugal's opener against Spain, implying he is
the Greatest of All Time. Then he scored two more goals, including a
perfectly placed 88th-minute free kick that gave his team a 3-3 draw
Spain, the 2010 World Cup
champions, dominated much of the match but were unable to contain
"When I play against a player
like Ronaldo, these things can happen," newly appointed Spain coach
Fernando Hierro said. "It's very fortunate for whatever team has
Ronaldo had twice given
European champions Portugal the lead with first-half goals at Fisht
Stadium, but Diego Costa equalized with a goal in each half. Nacho
Fernandez then put the Spanish ahead with a superb strike from
outside the area in the Group B match.
Ronaldo became the fourth
player to score in four World Cups, joining Pele, Miroslav Klose and
Uwe Seeler. He also became the first Portuguese player to appear in
four World Cups, and at 33 became the oldest player to score a hat
trick in tournament history.
He used his first goal to send
a message to the world in an apparent reaction to Adidas' "GOAT"
promotion with Lionel Messi, featuring the Argentine with a real
goat. Ronaldo and Messi have split the last 10 player of the year
"I've said it so many times,
Cristiano is the best in the world," Portugal coach Fernando Santos
Ronaldo downplayed his sixth
international hat trick.
"To me, the most important
(thing) is to highlight what the team has done," Ronaldo said.
Spain looked to have
successfully overcome their dramatic coaching change on the eve of
the tournament but Ronaldo curled a late shot from about 25 yards
over the wall. The ball went into the top corner as Spain goalkeeper
David de Gea watched.
The Spanish federation fired
coach Julen Lopetegui for accepting a job with Real Madrid without
letting it know in advance. Hierro, a former player acting as
Spain's sporting director, replaced Lopetegui and was on the bench
despite no significant previous coaching experience.
"It wasn't an easy situation.
When you have this staff and these young players, they make it much
easier," Hierro said.
It was an exciting start to one
of the group-stage's most anticipated matches and it didn't take
long before Ronaldo struck first.
Ronaldo made a nice stepover
move to get past Fernandez, his Real Madrid teammate, and was fouled
at the edge of the area. He then calmly sent his shot to the right
corner as De Gea went the other way.
As Ronaldo returned to midfield
for the restart, he and Fernandez appeared to exchange words, and
the Portuguese star smiled.
"It's always great to have
somebody wonderful playing like that," Portugal coach Fernando
Santos said. "I'm glad he's Portuguese."
Portugal threatened on
counterattacks as Spain struggled to get near Rui Patricio's goal,
but a great long pass by Sergio Busquets allowed Costa to even the
match. The striker collided with Pepe and used several neat moves to
clear other defenders before firing a low shot into the corner from
inside the area.
Portugal loudly complained
Costa had fouled Pepe, and replays showed there was contact by the
Spaniard's arm with Pepe's body. Referee Gianluca Rocchi allowed the
play to continue.
Portugal wanted the play to be
reviewed, and Rocchi at one point put a hand to his ear, apparently
indicating the assistant referees didn't see a clear error.
Goal-line technology came into
play a few moments later when a Francisco "Isco" Alarcon's shot
struck the crossbar and dropped straight down on the goal line.
After Isco complained, Rocchi pointed to his watch, which receives
Ronaldo's second goal came
after a blunder by De Gea, who let the ball bounce off his hands and
into the net after a routine shot from outside the area just before
Busquets and Costa combined for
Spain's equalizer in the 55th. After a cross by Andres Iniesta,
Busquets headed the ball back across the area and Costa touched it
into the open net.
Three minutes later, Fernandez
redeemed himself for the penalty on Ronaldo with a streaking shot
after a ball cleared by the defense got deflected toward him. The
ball struck the post before going into the goal.
The teams arrived in Russia as
favorites to share first and second in the group, but the draw
leaves them two points behind Iran, who defeated Morocco 1-0 earlier
Spain, trying to rebound from
disappointing eliminations at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016
European Championship, will next face Iran, while Portugal play
Johnson takes 4-shot lead into weekend at US Open
Poulter, of England, plays a shot from a bunker on the sixth hole
during the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Friday,
June 15, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Southampton, N.Y. (AP) —
Shinnecock Hills is no longer the only challenge at this U.S. Open.
On a course that can cause
problems in any weather, where triple bogeys or worse have been
recorded on all but six holes, perhaps the most daunting prospect
going into the weekend is Dustin Johnson with a four-shot lead.
Johnson played smart on the few
occasions he was out of position, holed a 45-foot birdie putt on the
par-3 seventh green and endured wind and two hours of rain Friday
morning for a 3-under 67.
He was at 4-under 136, the only
player still under par going into the weekend. Scott Piercy (71) and
Charley Hoffman (69) were at even par.
"You've got to play really good
golf if you want to shoot a good score, and I like where par is a
good score on every hole, no matter what club you've got in your
hand, what hole it is," Johnson said.
Only six other players in the
U.S. Open have led by as many as four shots after 36 holes. All but
one — Tom McNamara in 1909 — went on to win.
Even so, there's plenty of
reminders of how it can all go wrong — some of them from Johnson's
own experiences, most of them from the final few hours Friday
afternoon in perfect weather from those trying to catch him.
Shinnecock can punish anyone in
a New York minute.
"There's a disaster on every
single hole," Ian Poulter said moments after he went through one.
Poulter was one shot out of the
lead and in the middle of the fairway with two holes to go when one
bad shot led to a few more that were just as worse — a bunker shot
that sailed over the green, a chunked chip into the hay, a chop
short of the green and a triple bogey on No. 8. He made bogey on his
last hole for a 72.
"I felt stupid knifing the
first one," he said. "I felt even more stupid semi-chunking the next
one, and I didn't do much better on the next one, either. So maybe
it makes a few people happy out there that, you know, we kind of
mess up just as good as everyone else."
Poulter didn't lose sight of
being in a tie for fourth, five shots out of the lead.
Hoffman was the only other
player under par until he missed the 18th fairway and had to chop it
down the fairway and make a 5-foot putt to escape with bogey.
"Dustin plays a whole different
golf game than I play, so I'm not going to play the guy," Hoffman
said. "I'm just going to keep playing my game. You're going to try
to hit fairways. Because if you don't hit the fairway, you're not
getting to the green."
Tiger Woods won't be around to
see how it unfolds, and plenty of star power joined him on the way
out of town.
Woods closed with back-to-back
birdies to salvage a 72. He still missed the cut in a major for the
fifth time in his last eight tries, this time by two shots. Rory
McIlroy missed the cut for the third straight year in the U.S. Open,
unable to recover from his opening 80. Jason Day opened with a 79
and missed the cut.
Jordan Spieth joined them in
the most unlikely fashion. He took three shots to get up the slope
and onto the 10th green, making double bogey. He was three shots
over the cut line with six holes to play when he ran off four
straight birdies to get inside the number — only to three-putt for
bogey on the 17th, stub a chip from the collar of a bunker on the
18th and miss the par putt for a 71. He had not missed the cut in a
major since the 2014 PGA Championship.
Piercy, a runner-up to Johnson
at Oakmont two years ago, had a 71 and will play in the final group
with him Saturday. Piercy's day was not without regrets, especially
when he three-putted from 4 feet for bogey on the par-5 16th.
Defending champion Brooks
Koepka made six birdies over his last 11 holes for a 66, matching
Tommy Fleetwood for the low round of the tournament. They were at
141, along with Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, each with a 70, and
Koepka and Johnson are close
friends, so he should know as well as anyone what will make it hard
to catch him.
"This golf course," Koepka
said. "There's not many birdies. There's a disaster around every
corner. I mean, all it takes is one shot in the fescue, and you
could be in there for a while. But you need a good round tomorrow
just to give yourself a chance. Anything within three shots of the
lead on the back Sunday, anything can happen."
Rose also was under par until
closing with successive bogeys. With 36 holes to play, he wasn't
overly concerned about tracking down the No. 1 player in the world.
"You just saw what happened to
Ian Poulter five minutes ago. That could happen to DJ," Rose said.
"I'm not saying it's going to, but it could. That's the nature of
the U.S. Open. So hang around is often the best form of attack."
Johnson knows that all too
He had a three-shot lead at
Pebble Beach in the 2010 U.S. Open and lost it all on the second
hole with a triple bogey, and then compounded mistakes by trying to
drive the green on the next two holes. He shot 82. He has endured
more than his share of bad luck, bad breaks and bad shots in the
His outlook at Shinnecock Hills
has been built on patience and being practical.
"I never want to make doubles,"
Johnson said. "Around here, it seems like when I do get out of
position, I'm just trying to do everything I can to get it back into
position, not try to push it, and just give myself a decent look ...
something on the green where I can have a look at par.
"I want to make things as easy
as possible, even though they don't get any easier."
But this is far from over.
Johnson knows that as well as anyone. So does Rose, who overcame an
eight-shot deficit against Johnson in the final round in Shanghai
last fall at the HSBC Champions.
Afghanistan lose maiden test to India by innings in 2 days
India's Ravindra Jadeja, right, celebrates with teammate Cheteshwar
Pujara, left, the dismissal of Afghanistan's Rashid Khan, center,
during the second day of one-off cricket test match in Bangalore,
India, Friday, June 15. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Bangalore, India (AP) —
Afghanistan succumbed to top-ranked India by an innings and 262 runs
inside two days of their maiden cricket test on Friday.
India completed their first
innings in the morning on 474 then bowled out the Afghans for 109
and 103 for its biggest win by innings.
It was the fourth instance in
test history of a team being bowled out twice in one day.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra
Jadeja took six wickets, including 4-17 in the second innings, and
Ravichandran Ashwin claimed five, including 4-27 in the first.
India stand-in skipper Ajinkya
Rahane believed better days were ahead for Afghanistan.
"Afghanistan have some good
bowlers and in time they will be able to trouble the opposition
more," Rahane said.
"The more matches they play,
the more they will learn. This is just the beginning so you cannot
really blame them. Test cricket is about attitude and patience. If
two or three batsmen can spend some more time in the middle, it will
help their batting."
Most sides have struggled in
their first test. South Africa made 84 in their very first test
innings and, more recently, Ireland 130. But they made their
(losing) test debuts at home, and didn't face world No. 1 India, who
have lost only one test at home in nearly six years.
"We were swayed a bit by the
occasion," Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons said. "I would say 30
percent, especially in the first couple hours of play on day one.
"There is an air of
disappointment in the dressing room, but it is not about losing. It
is more about the manner of losing. But we have learnt a lot in
these two days, and we wouldn't have learnt as much if we played
this maiden test against a lower-ranked (eighth or ninth) side."
Test cricket's newest entrants
were faced with a mountain to climb after India finishing batting.
The first innings was all over
in less than 28 overs. Mohammad Nabi top-scored with 24, the only
batsman to cross 20.
The innings total of 109 was
the lowest in a test at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, eclipsing the 112 by
Australia in 2017.
But forced to follow on,
Afghanistan lowered the record again, to 103 in 39 overs.
Umesh Yadav removed the openers
and Nabi to reduce Afghanistan to 24-4 within seven overs. Yadav had
Mohammad Shahzad (13) caught behind, and removed Javed Ahmadi (3)
and Mohammad Nabi (0) in the space of five balls in the sixth over.
Unlike in the first innings,
there was some semblance of resistance from the middle order.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (36 not out) and captain Asghar Stanikzai (25)
put on 37 runs for the fifth wicket.
More importantly, they sucked
up 103 deliveries and underlined their approach to play out time.
Shahidi was unbeaten at the end
after facing 88 balls, including six boundaries.
But India's bowling was tough
to contend with. Jadeja ran through the lower order, and Ashwin
finished off proceedings by bowling Wafadar for a seven-ball duck
about 10 minutes before the scheduled close of play.
That was Ashwin's 316th test
wicket, good for third on the all-time list of Indian bowlers, above
Zaheer Khan with 311.
In the first innings, Yadav
became the 22nd India bowler to take 100 test wickets.
"Before, we had not played a
test match, and now (we know) ... what we need to do," Stanikzai
said. "We were surprised with the match ending in two days because
our team is good. Disappointed with the batting, but it is good for
Earlier, India completed their
first innings from 347-6 overnight.
Ashwin (18) and Hardik Pandya
(71) took their seventh-wicket partnership to 35 runs before Ashwin
became pacer Yamin Ahmadzai's third dismissal.
Pandya scored his third test
half-century off 83 balls. Overall, he faced 94 balls and hit 10
Ahmadzai took 3-51, and Wafadar
and legspinner Rashid Khan took two wickets each.
India begin a tour of Ireland
and England at the end of the month.
Spence to defend title at home in Texas vs Mexico's Ocampo
this Jan. 17, 2018, file photo, Errol Spence Jr. warms up during a
workout at Gleason's Gym in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP
Frisco, Texas (AP) —
Errol Spence Jr. wanted to defend his IBF crown back home in Texas
as soon as possible after taking the title from Kell Brook in the
Englishman's hometown a year ago.
The 2012 U.S. Olympian gets
that chance Saturday night against Mexico's Carlos Ocampo in a
mandatory defense between undefeated fighters. Spence's second fight
as a champion will be the first title bout in the 12,000-seat
football stadium that is the indoor practice field for the Dallas
Cowboys at team headquarters 30 miles north of Dallas.
"I feel like I've definitely
earned this hometown fight," said Spence, who grew up in DeSoto, a
suburb south of Dallas. "To go to another country and fight a
champion in his hometown, and to win the belt, I think I deserve to
defend my belt in front of my fans."
Spence (23-0 with 20 knockouts)
won his first defense in the 147-pound division against Lamont
Peterson in January in New York. The fight was stopped in the eighth
round — Spence's 10th straight knockout.
Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs), fighting
professionally outside his home country for the first time, is
largely an afterthought amid talk of Spence taking on other
welterweight champions. Keith Thurman holds two titles, and Terence
Crawford just took the WBO crown from Jeff Horn nearly a year after
Horn beat Manny Pacquiao.
"That's what other people talk
about," Spence trainer Derrick James said. "When we come to the gym,
we talk about Carlos Ocampo. We never look past the guy. He's a very
dangerous opponent. He's coming to upset, to be the wild card, to do
exactly what we did to Kell Brook."
This is the second of what the
28-year-old Spence figures will be three fights in 2018. It's also
his first as a co-promoter with his new company, Man Down Promotions
— another reason that putting on a show is at least part of the
story line while Spence tries to keep the focus on winning first.
"Don't try to do anything out
of the norm," Spence said. "Don't try to do anything different just
because I'm fighting at home or try to go for the quick knockout.
There's really nothing he can do as long as I'm focused and as long
as I stay true to my own game."
The 22-year-old Ocampo was a
two-time silver medalist at the Mexican Olympiad, an amateur
tournament. His pro victories includes bouts against former world
title challengers Jorge Paez Jr. and Charlie Navarro. Ocampo's most
recent win was a seventh-round stoppage against Dario Ferman in
"It's supposed to be tough with
the crowd against me and I know I'm the underdog, but my mind is
only on the fight," Ocampo said. "I'm just fighting one man, not a
The undercard includes Daniel
Roman facing Moises Flores in a super bantamweight fight and former
champion Javier Fortuna against Adrian Granados in a 10-round bout
at 140 pounds.
Putin and Russia get their 1st win at the World Cup
Russia's Denis Cheryshev celebrates after scoring his side's fourth
goal during the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which
opened the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow,
Russia, Thursday, June 14. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Moscow (AP) — Vladimir
Putin craves sporting glory, and he got another taste of it in the
opening match of the World Cup.
Russia ended a 16-year wait for
victory in the tournament by routing Saudi Arabia 5-0 Thursday in
Group A, with the Russian president watching from the VIP box
alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the Saudi crown
It was the host nation's first
World Cup win since 2002, and it raises the hope that Russia can get
past the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Yuri Gazinsky initially put
Russia ahead with a header from Alexander Golovin's cross when the
Saudis failed to clear a corner in the 12th minute. Gazinsky charged
forward to meet the ball as Saudi player Taisir Al-Jassam stumbled,
leaving a simple finish.
Putin and Infantino smiled and
shrugged as they sat next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Putin then reached over to shake the prince's hand.
Substitute Denis Cheryshev soon
scored the first of his two goals. He chipped the ball over two
Saudi defenders in the 43rd minute and shot over goalkeeper Abdullah
Al Muaiouf's right side to make it 2-0. He later chipped the ball in
for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time.
"I have never done anything
like this," Cheryshev said. "I already felt very happy when I knew I
could come here with my squad, but I never, ever dreamed of
something like this."
After Cheryshev's first goal,
Artyom Dzyuba made an instant impact off the bench to make it 3-0 in
the 71st with a header from Golovin's cross. Golovin added the fifth
from a free kick.
Following a lavish opening
ceremony featuring British singer Robbie Williams, Putin welcomed
visiting fans and promised Russia would be a "hospitable and
Putin has made no secret about
his desire for success in international sports, especially at the
Olympics. But high points for Russian athletes have been rare since
the country's image was tarnished by doping, with numerous Olympic
medals stripped for drug use.
In a World Cup first, the video
assistant referee system was available for the match between the
tournament's lowest-ranked teams, though it wasn't used for an
The Saudis, who last won a
match at the World Cup in 1994, failed to get a single shot on
The win for Russia is a big
boost to its hopes of advancing, but it will still face a tough test
against Egypt on June 19 and Uruguay six days later.
With the five goals against the
Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining
Saudi Arabia's route to the
knockout round is much more difficult. The Saudis will face Uruguay
on June 20 and then Egypt on June 25. Egypt and Uruguay play Friday
KEY TO SUCCESS
Russia's players were
significantly taller and heavier than the Saudis, a help when
challenging for the ball and when the penalty area was crowded.
That had an effect on
Gazinsky's goal, which came after the Saudis struggled to clear a
Russian corner, and the header from the tall and stocky Dzyuba.
One concern for Russia is that
creative midfielder Alan Dzagoev picked up a suspected hamstring
injury, but that was what allowed Cheryshev to come off the bench
and change the game.
FRINGE PLAYERS TRIUMPH
Russia's bench players had
their day of glory.
Dzyuba had played only once for
Russia since 2016, while Cheryshev and Gazinsky made two appearances
in that time.
Raised in Spain, where his
father Dmitry taught at Real Madrid's youth academy, Cheryshev
showed his technical skills by beating the two Saudi defenders
before his first goal.
Dzyuba spent half the season on
loan after reported disputes with Zenit St. Petersburg management,
but forced his way back into the Russia team with strong play.
Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi:
"We were not doing what we wanted to do. The opposing team did not
have to make a huge effort to win."
Golovin: "For us, each game is
like the last."
It was Russia's third win from
10 World Cup matches since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Cheryshev hadn't scored for Russia in his 11 previous appearances.
Saudi Arabia has now lost a game by four or more goals at each of
its last four World Cup visits, including an 8-0 rout at the hands
of Germany in 2002.
Johnson shares lead in a US Open that plays like one
From left, Justin Thomas, Dustin
Johnson and Tiger Woods walk off the 12th tee during the first
round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Thursday, June 14, in
Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Southampton, N.Y. (AP) —
The U.S. Open lived up to its reputation in the return to Shinnecock
So did Dustin Johnson.
Fresh off a six-shot victory
last week, Johnson managed all aspects of his game Thursday on a
classic U.S. Open course that required nothing less. He wasn't
perfect, but he was under par — barely — and shared the lead at
1-under 69 in an opening round of strong wind, high anxiety and
scores that made this feel like a U.S. Open again.
"You had to focus on every
single shot you hit — putts, everything. It was just difficult all
day," Johnson said. "Every day out here is going to be difficult."
It was plenty tough for Tiger
Woods, who started with a triple bogey and added a pair of double
bogeys on the back nine for a 78.
Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy
and Jordan Spieth — the only three active players with three legs of
the career Grand Slam — made only six birdies among them. They were
a combined 25-over par, with Mickelson the low man in the group at
Johnson, Ian Poulter, Scott
Piercy and Russell Henley were the only players under par. That's a
sharp contrast from last year at Erin Hills, where 44 players broke
par in the opening round to set a U.S. Open record.
Jason Dufner nearly joined
them. He settled for a 70 with no complaints.
"I think it's in fifth place,"
he said. "So beat about 151 guys."
Most everyone else felt beat up
on a course where wind that gusted to 25 mph made the fairways
shrink and the rough look even taller. McIlroy needed a dozen people
help him find a tee shot in the rough. He found the next shot on his
own because he advanced it only 6 feet. Mickelson asked an official
if there was a rule that allowed a player to see the ball as he was
trying to hit it.
"People talk about the fairways
are 'more generous' for an Open," Charles Howell III said after a
71. "When the wind starts blowing this way, they're not generous."
Woods ran into problems on the
short grass — it took him three shots to reach the putting surface
behind the first green on his way to a triple bogey, and he
four-putted on No. 13 for the first of successive double bogeys.
"It was pretty evident nobody
was making any birdies in the morning — lots and lots of bogeys and
'others,'" Woods said. "My game plan was not to make any 'others,'
and I made three of them. So didn't do very well there."
Piercy, the last man in the
156-man field as an alternate from qualifying, was so disgusted with
his game in his final practice round that he walked off the course.
He dropped only two shots, both on par 3s, and was the first to post
a 69. Poulter also played in the morning, while Johnson and Henley
played in the afternoon as the wind reached its full strength.
Henley was the only player to
reach 3 under at any point, and he promptly gave that back with a
double bogey on No. 10.
Even those at 71 felt as though
they put in a hard day's work, a group that included Justin Rose and
"It's a different kind of
enjoyment, right?" Rose said. "I enjoy the battle. I enjoy the
fight. I enjoy the grind, really. When you get a bit cut up and
bruised, it can change pretty quick."
Johnson holed medium-length
putts for birdies, a few nervy, short putts for par and picked up a
bonus when his shot from a front bunker on the par-4 eighth rattled
and rolled into the cup. He also got a break on the fifth hole. The
only way he found his ball in the rough was that former PGA champion
and Sky Sports reporter Rich Beem stepped on it. He still made
bogey, but it beat having to go back to the tee to play his third
It didn't take long to figure
out what kind of test this was going to be, with the 15 flags atop
the grandstand next to the 18th green already flapping as the first
group teed off, and they were crackling by the afternoon.
Spieth missed a 4-foot par putt
on No. 10 to start his round, and then tried to get that shot back
by playing a bunker shot at the flag on the par-3 11th. It trickled
over the green and down the slope, and Spieth didn't get back on the
green until he played three more shots. He salvaged a triple bogey
and shot 78.
McIlroy was 10 over after 11
From the middle of the first
fairway, Woods went long over the green. He chipped once and it
rolled back down the hill. Another try, same result. Finally, he
rapped his putter up the hill and by the hole and missed the putt.
He held it together until a four-putt on No. 13, the last three of
those putts from 6 feet.
"Shoot something in the 60s
tomorrow, and I'll be just fine," Woods said. "I just think today
was the toughest day we'll have all week. But then again, I think
they're going to let these greens firm out a little bit. They'll
start to pick up a little bit of speed, and it will be a good U.S.
That already appears to be the
The U.S. Open has gone to new
courses two of the last three years, and Jack Nicklaus is among
those who feared it had lost its identity. Even with wider fairways,
Shinnecock Hills resembled a U.S. Open course from past years. And
it played like one.
Afghanistan hit back after 2 centuries for India in test
Afghanistan's Mujeeb Ur Rahman, left, celebrates with teammates the
dismissal of India's Cheteshwar Pujara during their one-off cricket
test match in Bangalore, India, Thursday, June 14. (AP Photo/Aijaz
Bangalore, India (AP) —
Afghanistan hit back with five wickets after Shikhar Dhawan and
Murali Vijay scored centuries for India to finish day one of the
one-off cricket test on 347-6 on Thursday.
India were cruising at 280-1
after two rain delays when they suddenly lost Vijay and Lokesh Rahul
in the space of three deliveries and five wickets in all in the last
In their maiden test,
Afghanistan's spinners struggled in the first two sessions while the
seamers made the early breakthroughs before the spinners got their
lengths right and took the last two wickets.
India lost five wickets for 54
runs in the final session. Ravichandran Ashwin, 7 not out, and
Hardik Pandya, 10 not out, were at the crease.
Shikhar Dhawan made 107 and
fellow opener Vijay 105.
Dhawan earned his seventh test
hundred off 87 balls, and became the first Indian batsman to score a
century in the first session of the opening day of a test. Overall,
he's the sixth batsman in history to achieve this feat. The most
recent was last year by David Warner against Pakistan.
"I didn't know that I had
achieved that feat until I was back in the dressing room (during
lunch)," Dhawan said. "It is a great feeling. I have been batting
well, in the tests against Sri Lanka and then in the IPL, too."
Dhawan helped India reach lunch
on 158-0, then added only three more runs to his tally before he was
dismissed by Yamin Ahmadzai, who entered the history books as the
first Afghanistan bowler to take a test wicket. Mohammad Nabi caught
Dhawan at first slip, with some juggling help from the second slip
"They attacked us in the
morning, especially the spinners, and were successful in scoring
quickly," Ahmadzai said. "There were some nerves and we gave too
many loose balls in the first two sessions.
"This was a dream come true for
our nation. It was enjoyable but there were also a little stress.
Getting a test cap is the most important thing in the life of a
cricketer. So I can't really put it in words. When we first went
onto the field, there was excitement and some nerves as well."
Vijay was on 94 before the
first rain delay, and 99 before the second. He quickly got to his
12th test hundred, off 143 balls.
Vijay was trapped by Wafadar
(1-53) in the 52nd over and lost his video review. He and Lokesh
Rahul put on 112 for the second wicket.
Just two balls later, Rahul
played on off Ahmadzai (2-32) and was out for 54.
Afghanistan showcased better
control with the ball in the final session and the scoring rate came
down to 4.4 by stumps. The bowlers troubled the batsmen regularly,
which resulted in a few more wickets than India anticipated.
India crossed 300 in the 60th
over but then lost stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
After conceding 100 runs off 99
balls in his first test outing, legspinner Rashid Khan (1-120)
trapped Rahane lbw in the 67th over and should have had another
wicket, but Mohammad Nabi dropped Cheteshwar Pujara at slip two
Pujara was on 31 then and added
four more runs until he was dismissed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1-69)
from Nabi's superb catch.
Dinesh Karthik was run out on 4
late in the day.
Australia name unchanged side for 2nd test against Ireland
Kurtley Beale of Australia, center,
attacks during the International rugby match between Australia and
Ireland in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, June 9. (AP Photo/Tertius
Australia (AP) — Australia named an unchanged 23 for Saturday's
second rugby test against Ireland after winning the first match 18-9
last weekend in Brisbane, while Ireland made eight changes.
Rugby Australia said Thursday
that coach Michael Cheika resisted the urge to change a winning
formula despite the return of flanker Ned Hanigan (knee injury) and
lock Rory Arnold (suspension).
It marked the first time that
Cheika has named an unchanged 23 for back-to-back matches in his 46
games in charge of the Wallabies since taking the head coaching job
in November 2014.
"That was our first game of the
season, and we had to rush and crammed a lot last week," Cheika
said. "So I'd just like to give those guys another opportunity to
get out there and try and do better. We need to raise the bar on
ourselves and on our own standards."
Star playmaker Johnny Sexton,
meanwhile, returns among the sweeping changes to Ireland's starting
team. Sexton replaced flyhalf Joey Carbery, re-establishing his
successful scrum-base partnership with halfback Conor Murray.
Coach Joe Schmidt made big
changes to his forwards with a new front row of Cian Healy, Niall
Scannell and Tadhg Furlong while Dan Leavey comes in at openside
flanker ahead of Jordi Murphy and Devin Toner joins James Ryan in
the second row.
Outside center Gary Ringrose
comes in, with Robbie Henshaw switching to inside center and Andrew
Conway takes over on the right wing from Jacob Stockdale.
Defense coach Andy Farrell said
Ireland was left "angry" by the Brisbane loss which ended the team's
12-match winning streak which had seen it win the Six Nations title
and Grand Slam.
"They are walking round like a
bear with a sore head," said Farrell. "We've had a couple of
meetings and they understand why, individually and collectively,
certain things happened."
The third and final match in
the series is scheduled for June 23 in Sydney.
Australia: Israel Folau,
Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty,
Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Caleb Timu, Michael Hooper (captain),
David Pocock, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Brandon
Paenga-Amosa, Scott Sio. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa,
Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Tui, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps,
Ireland: Rob Kearney, Andrew
Conway, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls, Johnny Sexton,
Connor Murray, C.J. Stander, Dan Leavy, Peter O'Mahony (captain),
James Ryan, Devin Toner, Tadhg Furlong, Niall Scannell, Cian Healy.
Reserves: Rob Herring, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne,
Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.
North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup
Delegates of Canada, Mexico and the
United States celebrate after winning a joint bid to host the 2026
World Cup at the FIFA congress in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June
13. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Rob Harris and
Moscow (AP) — North
America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters
overwhelmingly opted Wednesday for the financial and logistical
certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal
for the first 48-team tournament.
The soccer showpiece will
return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134
votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow, where
the 2018 tournaments starts on Thursday.
"Thank you for entrusting us
with this privilege," U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos
Cordeiro told the congress. "The beautiful game transcends borders
U.S. President Donald Trump
tweeted after the victory : "Congratulations, - a great deal of hard
While Trump has been feuding
with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over tariffs and policy
after the G-7 meeting and with Mexican leaders about his proposed
border wall, the heads of state are not heavily involved in this
World Cup bid. Even if Trump wins re-election, his presidency would
end before the 2026 World Cup.
The vote by national football
federations was public, in contrast to secrecy surrounding the 2010
vote when FIFA's elected board members picked Russia to host in 2018
and Qatar in 2022, defeating the U.S.
The regional bid proved more
appealing this time and the North Americans even collected 11 votes
"The United bid was strong and
if it was just the United States, I think Morocco would have beaten
them," said Cameroon federation official Kevin Njomo, whose country
voted for Morocco. "People have a soft spot for Mexico, especially
looking at Mexico as a little bit under-developed and giving them a
chance. Canada is a good tourist destination.
"But I think where it had the
advantage was the World Cup would be more profitable in America and
it is a capitalist world."
North America is optimistically
promising to deliver $14 billion in revenue helped, while the
tournament won't require major construction work required on the 16
planned stadiums, all of which already exist.
The U.S. proposed staging 60
out of the 80 games in 2026, when 16 teams will be added to the
tournament, leaving Canada and Mexico with ten fixtures each. But
FIFA President Gianni Infantino suggested the split of games could
"They have made a decision
among themselves but ultimately it will be up to FIFA to decide,"
Morocco appeared too hazardous
as a potential host when all 14 venues had to be built or renovated
as part of a $16 billion investment in new infrastructure. The vote
leaves Morocco reeling from a fifth failure in a World Cup hosting
vote, with the continent's sole tournament coming in 2010 in South
Moroccan Prime Minister Saad
Eddine El Othmani shared the national disappointment but tweeted his
thanks to the bid organizers for "this common dream."
Moroccan sports journalist Omar
Chraybi acknowledged that "technically speaking, it's understandable
- the U.S. bid capacity surpasses Morocco's." Yet he didn't lose
hope, saying, "The world still looks at Africa as an underdog, but
we can't afford to give up."
While Morocco's combined
tickets and hospitality revenue projected to be $1.07 billion,
according to FIFA analysis, North America would generate $2 billion
Canada will host men's World
Cup matches for the first time, while Mexico gets its first taste of
the event since 1986.
"To have a message coming from
football that says actually Mexico, Canada and the United States
together can organize the biggest sporting and social event
together," Infantino said. "It is a nice message."
The 87,000-capacity MetLife
Stadium outside New York — home of the NFL's Giants and Jets — is
proposed for the final. It's just miles from where federal
prosecutors spearheaded an ongoing investigation into FIFA
corruption. More than 40 soccer officials and businesses indicted,
convicted or pleaded guilty.
The bribery scandal put the
governing body on the brink, Infantino told the congress ahead of
"FIFA was clinically dead as an
organization," Infantino said, reflecting on his election in 2016
before announcing plans to another four-year term in 2019. "Two
years later, FIFA is alive and well, full of joy and passion and
with a vision for its future."
The North American victory
suggests current FIFA leaders don't hold grudges against a country
whose government has jailed corrupt sports leaders.
"When they help us fight
against corruption, of course, we are pleased," Infantino said.
The North America bid also had
to overcome concerns about the impact of policies from the Trump
administration, including attempts to implement a ban on travel by
residents of six majority-Muslim countries.
FIFA now has the final say on
which cities are selected to host games and whether all three
countries are guaranteed a place at the tournament. Victor
Montagliani, the Canadian who leads CONCACAF, wants them to take
three of the seven guaranteed qualification slots reserved for the
region as host. Both the United States and Canada failed to qualify
for this year's World Cup.
There is also a chance to send
an eighth team via an inter-continental playoff. North America will
host the six-team playoff tournament in November 2025 to decide the
last two places in the 48-team lineup.
Lowly-ranked Russians, Saudis meet to kick off World Cup
In this June 8, 2018 file photo Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari,
right, duels for the ball with Germany's Joshua Kimmich during a
friendly soccer at BayArena in Leverkusen, Germany. (AP Photo/Martin
Moscow (AP) — The World Cup
is set to start and finish with games at the opposite ends of the
The lowest-ranked teams at the
tournament will meet in the opener Thursday when Russia host Saudi
Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which is also venue for the July
The No. 70-ranked Russians got an
automatic spot as tournament hosts and the Saudis, at No. 67, have the
lowest ranking of the 31 countries which secured places via qualifying.
They're the longest of long shots to reach the final.
The home team will likely need to
win to have a realistic hope of advancing from Group A, and are expected
to have Russian President Vladimir Putin in the crowd for support as
they bid to end a winless streak of seven games. Only one World Cup host
nation has failed to get past the group stage — South Africa in 2010.
The other two teams in the group,
Egypt and Uruguay, boast star forwards in Mohamed Salah and Luis Suarez
who could cause major problems for the Russian and Saudi defences.
The Saudis lost their last three
games but remain upbeat at their first World Cup appearance for 12
CLASH OF COACHES
Juan Antonio Pizzi and Russia's
Stanislav Cherchesov bring very different personalities and coaching
tactics to the tournament.
Pizzi won the 2016 Copa America
title with Chile using an all-action style with constant pressure on the
opposition. He'll struggle to replicate that with a Saudi team he took
over after it had qualified for the World Cup.
Cherchesov favors a more defensive
approach. Cherchesov, known for his prickly demeanor in interviews,
responded to questions about what he'd say to Russian fans who are
nervous about their team's poor form by saying he's "no psychologist, to
go around calming people down."
Injuries disrupted Russia's World
Cup preparations, with forward Alexander Kokorin and defenders Georgy
Dzhikiya and Viktor Vasin sustaining severe knee injuries earlier this
That forced Cherchesov into some
late shake-ups. Expect Fyodor Smolov to start up front and for more
tinkering with the defence. Cherchesov abandoned his usual three-man
backline with wing-backs in favor of a four-man defence against Austria
last month, but Russia lost 1-0 and failed to register a shot on target.
The average age of players in the
Russia and Saudi Arabia squads is almost 29 — among the oldest in the
tournament — and each boasts a pair of players with more than 100
For the Russians, there's captain
and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev with 105 caps, plus the 38-year-old central
defender Sergei Ignashevich (121).
Osama Hawsawi has played 135 times
for Saudi Arabia, and midfielder Taiseer Al-Jassim has 132 caps.
Russian football was embroiled in
the country's doping scandal, with whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov
claiming his Moscow laboratory covered up failed drug tests.
Rodchenkov has said one player
benefited from the cover-up, but didn't identify him or specify whether
the player made Russia's final 23-man World Cup squad.
Defender Ruslan Kambolov, who was
in the preliminary squad, was investigated by FIFA over alleged doping,
but lawyers said FIFA dropped the case. FIFA hasn't confirmed that.
Spain fire coach Lopetegui 2 days before World Cup opener
June 9, 2018 file photo, Spain's national soccer team coach Julen
Lopetegui shouts during a friendly match between Spain and Tunisia in
Krasnodar, Russia. (AP Photo)
Krasnodar, Russia (AP) -
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui was fired Wednesday, two days before the
country's opening World Cup match against Portugal and a day after he
accepted the job to coach Real Madrid next season.
Spanish soccer federation president
Luis Rubiales did not name a replacement.
Rubiales said firing Lopetegui
wasn't the best solution for the national team but it was needed after
being caught by surprise by Real Madrid's announcement.
"The federation cannot be left out
of a negotiation by one of its workers and be informed five minutes
before the press release," Rubiales said. "We have been compelled to
Rubiales, who took over as
president last month, said the federation's values were broken and it
was the only decision he could make.
"It's a difficult situation, but we
are not the ones who determined the action that had to be taken. The
federation has its values and it has to maintain them," he said. "It may
look like a weakness now, but with time this will make us stronger."
Lopetegui did not attend the news
conference in Krasnodar.
"We have to work on a series of
decisions that come just two days before the opener," Rubiales said.
"There's a lot to do."
Ali, Rashid set up England's 3-wicket win over Australia
David Willey shakes hands with Australia captain Tim Paine, third right,
after hitting a six to win the one-day cricket match between England and
Australia at the Oval cricket ground in London, Wednesday, June 13. (AP
London (AP) — Spinners Moeen Ali
and Adil Rashid shared five wickets and set up England's three-wicket win
over new-look Australia in the first one-day international on Wednesday.
Ali ran through the top order with 3-43
and Rashid took 2-36 as Australia were bowled out for 214 in 47 overs after
they won the toss and elected to bat.
Glenn Maxwell top-scored with 62 and
gave the total some respectability by sharing an 84-run sixth-wicket stand
with Ashton Agar, who made 40.
A century stand between captain Eoin
Morgan (69) and Joe Root (50) saw England cruising along at 153-3 before
they lost three wickets in four overs and stumbled to 163-6 in the 32nd
But David Willey scored a career-best
unbeaten 35 and guided England to 218-7 with six overs to spare as he raised
the victory with a straight six off seamer Michael Neser.
"Very pleased, particularly with the
bowlers, thought they did amazingly well," Morgan said. "The spinners turned
the momentum in our favor, they've been a great combination for us in the
middle. Moeen had a few left-handers to bowl at (and) he always gives you
options, like Ben Stokes. He's had a great day."
Ali grabbed all his three wickets in
his first five overs and when Rashid had Marcus Stoinis caught behind
Australia slumped to 90-5 in the 20th over.
Ali had Aaron Finch caught at short
third man off his fourth ball and then had Shaun Marsh clean bowled off a
straight delivery before captain Tim Paine tried an ambitious sweep only to
lob another gentle catch to Mark Wood at short third man.
Maxwell and Agar rebuilt the innings
with a half century stand before Australia lost their last five wickets for
40 runs with Liam Plunkett (3-42) picking up three of those wickets.
The slide started when Maxwell flicked
Plunkett straight to Jonny Bairstow at midwicket and Agar was trapped leg
before wicket by Rashid.
England, who suffered a shocking defeat
against Scotland last Sunday, faltered early in their run-chase against
Australian seamers Billy Stanlake (2-44) and Neser (2-46) and slipped to
38-3 in the eighth over.
Morgan, who hit 11 boundaries, and Root
shared a 115-run stand and put the chase back on track before both were
caught behind. And in between those crucial wickets Jos Buttler, dropped
early on by Paine, also offered a tame catch at mid on.
Willey ensured England didn't suffer
another hiccup and took England home with 36 balls to spare for a 1-0 lead
in the five-match series.
"England's batting line is really deep,
a hard side to bowl out, but our bowlers did a terrific job," Paine said.
"Our top four or five didn't get the job done. Maxi has been hitting the
ball well in the nets and nice to see him translate that to the middle.
Thought it was simple today, our top order didn't get the job done."
Questions of loyalty cast shadow over German World Cup squad
German national soccer team poses for photos before a friendly match
against Austria in Klagenfurt, Austria, Saturday, June 2. (AP
Berlin (AP) — The public
backlash over players mixing sport and politics ensured the Germany
squad left for its World Cup defense under a cloud of its own making.
Debate over issues of integration,
national pride, and what it means to represent the country has damaged
the German soccer federation (DFB)'s push to promote inclusion and
Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan
was jeered by German supporters during the team's warmup game against
Saudi Arabia last Friday.
Despite coach Joachim Loew's
appeals for the player to be applauded as he sent him onto the pitch,
Gundogan was jeered as he went on as a substitute, and again every time
he touched the ball in Germany's last friendly before the World Cup.
The taunting came in the wake of
Gundogan and his German teammate Mesut Ozil posing for photos with
Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London last month.
Both players, who were born in
Germany to families of Turkish descent, presented Erdogan with jerseys
from their clubs, with Gundogan dedicating his Manchester City jersey to
"my revered president."
Erdogan is hoping to cement his
grip on power in an election this month and some 1.4 million expatriate
Turks are eligible to vote in Germany.
Beatrix von Storch, a lawmaker for
Germany's far-right AfD party, posed a question on social media asking
why Gundogan was playing for Germany if Erdogan was his president.
Gundogan said it was never his
intention to make a political statement. And in the wake of the Saudi
game, he posted a tweet saying "Last game before the World Cup ... and
still grateful to play for this country."
Ozil remained on the bench against
the Saudis because of a knee injury and wasn't subjected to jeers.
Loew said the crowd reaction "hurt
me because a team lives from every player being supported."
"For a national player to be
whistled," he said, "that helps nobody."
It's not the first time Loew has
criticized the behavior of fans. Loew was incensed with supporters in
Prague during World Cup qualifying last September when a group of around
200 chanted Nazi slogans and abusive chants.
"They are not our fans," Loew said
at the time.
But the jeering of Gundogan didn't
appear to be restricted to right-wing hooligans.
The DFB possibly enflamed the
situation with its public admonishment of Gundogan and Ozil — DFB
president Reinhard Grindel criticized both players and demanded an
Grindel later tweeted a photo of
himself, Loew and team manager Oliver Bierhoff sitting down for talks
with Gundogan and Ozil, saying the players "have informed us that they
stand for and identify with our values on and off the pitch."
But the jeering of Gundogan and the
criticism and insults leveled at both players has indirectly affected
other players in the team.
The DFB prides itself on Germany's
multicultural team, but a spotlight has now been directed on the
dedication of players with roots from outside the country such as Sami
Khedira, Antonio Ruediger and Jerome Boateng.
Whether or not players sing the
national anthem has been another contentious issue for the AfD, which
has questioned the commitment to German of players who don't sing along.
Forward Mario Gomez has appealed
for the debate not to be blown out of proportion.
"I ask people to remember that we
want to be world champions. For that we need Illy, we need Mesut," Gomez
said. "There shouldn't be an attempt to drive a rift, but rather an
attempt to build a bridge so we can go with whole other thoughts to the
Woods looking for win, the final piece of his return to golf
Woods tees off the fourth hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open
Golf Championship, Tuesday, June 12, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP
Southampton, N.Y. (AP) —
Tiger Woods returned to the U.S. Open for the first time in three years
and hardly anyone noticed.
Then again, it was late Sunday
afternoon. Shinnecock Hills was practically empty.
"A bizarre experience," said Jordan
Spieth, who played nine holes with him.
Such a quiet moment was rare for
Woods in his celebrated return following four back surgeries. A year
that began with intrigue soon gave way to hysteria over anticipation of
his first victory in nearly five years.
That time has not arrived as Woods
heads into the second major of the year.
"Golf is always frustrating," Woods
said Tuesday after going nine holes with Dustin Johnson and Bryson
DeChambeau, winners of the last two PGA Tour events. "There's always
something that isn't quite right, and that's where we as players have to
make adjustments. You've seen the tournaments I've played this year.
There's always something. Hopefully, this is one of those weeks where I
put it all together and even it out. And we'll see what happens."
It has been 10 years since Woods
won his last U.S. Open, his 14th and last major. All it takes for him to
temper any frustrations is to look back at last year, when he didn't
know if he would even play another U.S. Open.
He was at a low point in his career
and his personal life. While recovering from fusion surgery — his fourth
surgery on his back in three years — he was arrested on a DUI charge and
found to have a mixture of two painkillers, the sleeping aid Ambien, the
anti-anxiety drug Xanax and the active ingredient for marijuana in his
system. He entered a clinic to get help and pleaded guilty to a reckless
driving charge that kept him out of jail.
Asked about the video of his arrest
and how his life has changed, Woods replied, "It's gotten better."
That seems like longer than a year
ago because Woods has been such an active part of the PGA Tour again. In
some instances, he looks like the same Woods.
He hit one drive past Johnson on
the par-5 fifth hole Tuesday that left him a 2-iron to the front of the
green. He had two chances to win in March, missing a long birdie putt on
the last hole in Innisbrook and hitting a drive out-of-bounds on the
16th hole at Bay Hill the following week.
But no trophies. No fist pumps.
"There's two ways of looking at
that," Woods said. "I've given myself chances to win, which I didn't
know if I was ever going to do again. And then again, not happy with the
fact that I didn't win because I loved how it felt being there. ... And
so, yeah, I've had my opportunities. Also, I'm very thankful to have had
those opportunities. I didn't know if I was going to have them again."
What kind of opportunities will
Shinnecock Hills offer?
Tuesday was the busiest day of
practice under a clear sky, warm weather and a course that just about
everyone is raving about.
Woods played nine holes in the
afternoon Sunday and Monday — a change from the days when he would sweep
the dew off the grass first thing in the morning — and nine holes
And while the crowd was relatively
sparse for his morning round, there is no mistaking when Woods is
Jason Day was on the putting green
when only a few people were around. And then suddenly, there was a
"He rolls up and there's 30 guys on
the putting green, and it was hard to do your work," Day said. "But
that's just the Tiger effect, and everyone wants to see him. Everyone
wants to see what he looks like and how big he is or just see, I guess,
the myth behind Tiger Woods. ... It is definitely bigger, always bigger
when he's in contention on Sundays. And if he's in contention this
Sunday, then it's going to be huge."
Woods last played in the U.S. Open
in 2015 at Chambers Bay. He was coming off the highest score of his
career, an 85 in the third round at the Memorial, and never stood a
chance on the course built over a former gravel pit. He shot rounds of
80-76 and was gone by the weekend, and before long, he was gone from
golf with the first of his back surgeries.
Three years from his last U.S.
Open, five years from his last victory, and so much has changed.
Johnson returned to No. 1 in the
world with his six-shot victory last week at the St. Jude Classic, the
18th of his career, all since Woods won his last U.S. Open. He replaced
Justin Thomas, the PGA champion who turned 25 in April.
Woods will play with both of them
when the first round begins on Thursday.
"I can see that there may be a
sense of ... this is the last kind of push that he needs for his
career," Day said. "But at the same time, I know that he's still hungry.
I think he's hungry for that next win and trying to get — not the monkey
off his back, because he's done it so many times — but just coming back
and competing and playing well against our generation now. And I think
that's what he's looking forward to."
Playoff disappointments make Cup parade sweeter for Capitals
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin, from Russia, holds up the Stanley Cup
trophy during the NHL hockey team's Stanley Cup victory celebration,
Tuesday, June 12, at the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn
Washington (AP) — Nine early
playoff exits paved the way for the Capitals' unexpected Stanley Cup run and
made the trip down Constitution Avenue all the more satisfying to the NHL
champions and their fans.
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom
rode the final bus down the mile-long parade route, lifting the Cup to
roaring cheers and waving to seas of red in the crowd.
Five days after capturing the
franchise's first title and the first of any kind by a Washington team in
the major four professional sports since 1992, this was their day to soak in
winning following so much disappointment.
"Because we waited so long, I think it
feels even better," Backstrom said.
Hundreds of thousands of fans lined
Constitution and filled the National Mall on Tuesday to celebrate a long
journey fulfilled. One fan held up a sign reading, "Worth the Wait," but
before the end of the rally, T.J. Oshie already had the crowd thinking about
"There's been a lot of chants," Oshie
said. "There's been, "Let's Go Caps," there's been, "We Want the Cup." We've
heard in the streets, "We've got the Cup." We've got a new one for you today
The serious work of getting geared up
for the 2018-19 season begins in the coming days and weeks with decisions on
coach Barry Trotz, defenseman John Carlson and other free agents. But for
players such as Ovechkin and Backstrom who have been through eliminations at
the hands of the Penguins, Rangers, Lightning, Canadiens and Flyers dating
to 2008, the partying leading up to the parade isn't close to ending.
"It just started," Backstrom said.
Much like the Capitals did over the
weekend by taking the Cup to local bars and restaurants, the parade was a
chance to celebrate with a fan base that had to endure 42 seasons without a
Fans congregated on the National Mall
hours before the parade began, filled the steps of the National Archives and
lined up 20 deep in some areas to catch a glimpse of players riding more
than three dozen buses from 23rd Street to 7th.
"Look at this — look at the people
that's here" Ovechkin said. "We thought it was going to be crazy, but it's
basically nuts. You guys are killing it."
Ovechkin, Backstrom, veteran Brooks
Orpik, owner Ted Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick took up the most
prominent place in the parade on the last bus with the Stanley Cup. Chants
of "Ovi! Ovi!" alternated with pleas of "Raise the Cup!" which Ovechkin,
Backstrom and Orpik did off and on while sipping from beer bottles.
Trotz threw beads from his
double-decker bus, but the pending free agent coach saved potentially his
most meaningful impact of the day for his speech at the rally.
"I know our years of adversity has sort
of came to an end," Trotz said. "We did this together and it feels so
special. Love this, love the community. We're going to do it again."
There's no certainty about Trotz unless
he signs a new contract, but the Capitals should have much of their core
intact as they try to complete the difficult task of repeating. Before rival
Pittsburgh went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, no team had done it since
Detroit in 1997 and 1998.
Of course, that didn't stop players
from bringing it up to the delight of the crowd that stretched down the Mall
almost to the Washington Monument.
"I couldn't see the end of people from
the stage," winger Tom Wilson said. "It's unbelievable to give back the
least we could and just celebrate with them."
Beyond the scripted — two high school
marching bands, an F-16 flyover, Budweiser Clydesdales and past greats such
as Olie Kolzig and Peter Bondra — backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer
sprinted around with the D.C. flag, Oshie chugged a beer through his jersey
and Ovechkin and fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov dropped F-bombs on stage.
Trotz invoked Martin Luther King Jr. by
saying, "We had a dream, and we did it." Leonsis quoted John F. Kennedy's
"Ask Not" speech. Wilson brought it back to the title by shouting,
"Everybody says what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but we brought the Cup
By the end of the sun-soaked rally,
Capitals players swayed together and sang Queen's "We Are the Champions," a
song they've been belting out renditions of with varying sobriety over the
past few days.
"It's been a long time since we had a
championship here in this city," Backstrom said. "To be able to after all
these years to bring it, it's great. It's a sports city. There's not another
city that deserves a championship more than D.C."
FIFA urges referees to take their time for video review
Referee Nestor Pitana of Argentina gestures during a training session in
Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 12. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Moscow (AP) — World Cup
referees must ensure all the time used for video review is played at the
end of each half — even if a stoppage takes 10 minutes.
FIFA's instructions to more than
100 match officials in Russia were outlined Tuesday, two days ahead of
the often-contentious technology making its World Cup debut.
"All the minutes, all the seconds,
lost by VAR (video assistant referees) will be added at the end,"
Massimo Busacca, FIFA head of refereeing, said at a news conference. "We
don't want to lose any seconds lost by any interruption."
The process for reviewing one of
the most complex incidents that can be reviewed — a running
confrontation involving all players — will take as long as needed.
"We will take all the possible time
to see if there is a clear red card," said Busacca, who was a 2010 World
Cup referee. "When it is related to match confrontation and not
respecting the image (of football), we can even stay 10 minutes at the
video to see exactly what happened."
The first referee in the spotlight
is Nestor Pitana of Argentina, who handles the Russia-Saudi Arabia match
in Moscow on Thursday.
FIFA picked Pitana for duty, with
Massimiliano Irrati of Italy leading a four-man video review team. They
will work at a FIFA control center in the Moscow suburbs, several miles
from the Luzhniki Stadium.
Referees can call for reviews of
possible clear errors and serious incidents missed in game-changing
situations: goals scored, red cards, and penalty awards, plus mistaken
FIFA's advice could lead to more
decisions reviewed — and potentially overturned — having asked officials
to let play flow and keep the option of a later review.
"He is respecting the instructions
that were given him on purpose by keeping the flag down," said Pierluigi
Collina, chairman of FIFA's referees committee. "If he puts a flag up,
everything is finished."
Video review still has doubters
after a first full season in top leagues such as Germany's Bundesliga
which opted to use the technology.
Teams and fans have been angered by
some slow and confusing decision-making process, repeating problems seen
in Russia at FIFA's Confederations Cup warmup tournament last year.
"It is ready for the World Cup but
don't think it will be perfect," said Busacca of a system that has been
tested since 2016 and formally approved only in March.
Collina stressed that the outcome
of decisions "is what really counts at the end of the day." And the 2002
World Cup final referee has opted for experience to set the tone in the
first of 64 games.
Pitana refereed four games at the
2014 World Cup, and Irrati is from Collina's native Italy which also
used video review in Serie A.
In a 90-minute news conference,
Collina opened by making reference to corruption allegations against two
match officials FIFA selected for World Cup duty but had to drop in
The cases of Saudi Arabian referee
Fahad Al Mirdasi and Kenyan assistant Aden Range Marwa "surprised us a
lot," he said. "We will continue to be clear and strict when something
similar will occur."
Mickelson trying not to look ahead at another US Open chance
golfer Phil Mickelson. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky/File)
Southampton, N.Y. (AP) —
Phil Mickelson is running out of time.
Mickelson doesn't need to be
reminded that this is his 27th appearance in the U.S. Open, more than
any of the 156 players at Shinnecock Hills. He wouldn't want to be
reminded that 65 players — including the last four major champions —
were not even born when Mickelson was low amateur in his first U.S. Open
in 1990 at Medinah.
"I just can't believe that time has
flown by so fast," he said Monday.
The desire hasn't changed, only the
Mickelson didn't win a major until
he was 33 and in his 12th full year on the PGA Tour. Back then, any
major would have sufficed. A year after he won the 2004 Masters, he
added a PGA Championship. And then in 2013 at Muirfield, he surprised
even himself by capturing the British Open.
One to go for the career Grand
Slam, the one that has vexed him the most.
He has more runner-up finishes in
the U.S. Open than the other three majors combined. So when Mickelson
was asked if he had unfinished business at Shinnecock Hills, he paused
briefly before delivering an obvious answer.
"I can say that a few times in this
tournament," he said.
It helps that Mickelson has a
strong history at Shinnecock Hills, which he refers to as one of his
He had a one-shot lead with two
holes to play in 2004 when Retief Goosen made a 12-foot birdie putt in
the group behind him on the par-5 16th, and then Mickelson put his tee
shot in the bunker on the par-3 17th, blasted out to 5 feet and took all
the air out of the Hamptons when he three-putted for double bogey.
In his first U.S. Open at
Shinnecock Hills in 1995, he was one shot out of the lead going into the
final round, closed with a 74 and finished four shots behind. More than
a tough final round was playing the par-5 16th hole in 6 over for the
"If I played that hole even, I
could have won," Mickelson said.
This is not a time for Mickelson,
who turns 48 on Saturday, to be looking behind.
He doesn't want to look forward,
Never mind that Mickelson has
played well on the next three U.S. Open courses — Shinnecock Hills,
Pebble Beach and Winged Foot. Or that with a victory earlier this year
at the Mexico Championship that his confidence level is higher than the
four previous years when he didn't win at all.
Mickelson only cares about posting
a score in the opening round Thursday that will keep him in the mix, and
then repeating the process Friday. It's a message he delivered on four
separate occasions during his interviews.
"These three (courses) provide me a
great opportunity to finish out this final leg," he said. "Certainly,
with the way I've been playing this year and at the consistent level, as
well as at a much higher level than I've played the last few years, it
gives me a great opportunity. But the last thing I'm thinking about
right now is trying to win. I'm trying to get myself in position for the
weekend. Because when you try to go out and win a U.S. Open, you will
lose it quick."
Asked if he had ever tried to win a
U.S. Open on Thursday, he replied, "Yes, and I was home Friday night."
Mickelson hasn't had a chance since
his sixth runner-up finish in 2013 at Merion, where he twice made bogey
with a wedge in his hand over the last six holes. This is the longest
stretch — three U.S. Opens — that he has failed to even feature on the
The oldest player to win the U.S.
Open was Hale Irwin, who was 45 when he won at Medinah in 1990 —
Mickelson's first major.
"That's the marvelous thing about
Phil Mickelson. You don't put anything beyond his talents," said David
Duval, who has competed against Mickelson since college.
In the last few weeks, Mickelson
has said he doesn't want to get too wrapped up in how the golf course
sets up, other than he think it's the best ever for a U.S. Open. The
fairways are slightly wider, which should help. Most of the rough around
the green has been shaved down, playing to another of his strength
because he has such a wide variety of short-game shots instead of just
hacking out of thick grass.
"I feel as though the luck of a
courses has been taken out as much as possible to where skill is the
primary factor," Mickelson said. "I think we're going to have a great
leaderboard and a great tournament."
All he cares about is being part of
that leaderboard on the weekend, and then take his chances from there.
Mercedes lose ground in Formula One race
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, comes through the Senna
corner during the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix auto race in Montreal,
Sunday, June 10, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)
Montreal (AP) — Mercedes
arrived at the Canadian Grand Prix without the correct tires or an
expected engine upgrade and left Montreal trailing in the Formula One
Ferrari returned to the top of the
podium at the track named for Gilles Villeneuve for the first time since
2004, with Sebastian Vettel going from the pole to the checkered flag to
finish six seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes on Sunday.
Erstwhile points leader Lewis Hamilton, who was aiming for a
record-tying seventh victory in Montreal, struggled to finish fifth and
fell one point behind Vettel in the standings.
Mercedes executive director Toto
Wolff said. "I think this is a major wake-up call for every member of
the team. Everybody needs to assess how to improve performance. ...
Those marginal gains are going to make all the difference."
Despite having the championship
leader and the three-time defending Montreal champion, Mercedes leave
Canada second-guessing their strategy to bring fewer sets of the softest
tires to the track, a move that Wolff conceded left Hamilton and Bottas
at a disadvantage in qualifying. The team also were unable to deliver a
reliable engine upgrade in time for the race.
Without it, Hamilton found himself
losing power even up until the end. Adding to his problems was a cooling
issue that required an early pit.
"From the start I was down on power
and my engine was overheating. I couldn't get the temperatures down, so
I just thought it was going to fail," he said. "Every single lap I was
waiting for the power to just drop away and disappear, but it kept
Vettel was never really challenged,
picking up his third victory of the season and 25 points to erase
Hamilton's 14-point lead.
"It was a tough day in the office
today, but I'm just very grateful that I finished today's race and score
some points," Hamilton said. "I'm sure in the next couple of days it
will get more and more painful. But it could get a lot worse. I could
have had a DNF (did not finish). I'm just grateful the engine made it."
Hamilton said he would never doubt
the team's ability to fix its problems.
"That would be the first sign of
weakness, and my mind is not weak," he said. "I have complete confidence
in my guys, and I'm putting all my energy toward them."
After long wait, Afghanistan prepares for first cricket test
Afghanistan cricket player Samiullah Shinwari plays a shot during
the T20 cricket match between Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Dehraduni,
India, Friday, June 8. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Bengaluru, India (AP) — When
Afghanistan plays its inaugural cricket test match against top-ranked
India starting Thursday, it's an event that has been 17 years in the
Afghanistan was made an affiliate
member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) back in 2001, at a
time when it was the only sport that was approved by the oppressive
Taliban regime. But after 9/11, even cricket became just an afterthought
as the country spiraled into war.
Yet the game survived somehow among
the Afghan people, who continued living in refugee camps lining the
border to cricket-loving Pakistan. And it led to the rise of players
like national-team captain Asghar Stanikzai, all-rounder Mohammad Nabi,
hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad and pacer Shapoor
All of them learned to play in the
dusty outskirts of Peshawar, the home in exile of Afghan cricket, and
are now preparing to step into the limelight of a five-day test match
for the first time. Such matches can only be played between countries
who have been given test status by the ICC, with Afghanistan set to
become only the 12th official test nation.
"It's a great moment for us as we
embark on our test journey. To be playing our first test against India
is a great honor and we hope to give a good account of ourselves,"
Stanikzai said. "To be competing against the best on the test rankings
table is something to be proud of and we will try to do our best in
whatever chances we get and exhibit the skills the players possess
individually as well as collectively as a team."
In the past year or so,
Afghanistan's reputation has grown as they played at Lord's in London
against an MCC XI led by Brendon McCullum, drew an ODI series in West
Indies, beat Ireland and Zimbabwe away, and then came back from the
brink to win the ICC 2019 ODI World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.
Consequentially, an increasing number of Afghan cricketers have gained
Among their biggest stars is Rashid
Khan, the 19-year-old leg-spin bowler who is one of the world's most
sought-after players in the shorter Twenty20 form of the game.
Born in Nangahar in eastern
Afghanistan in 1998, Khan's family moved to Pakistan to escape the war
and then returned to Jalalabad a few years later. Back in his home
country, Khan continued to sharpen his bowling and advanced to represent
Afghanistan on the international stage in a one-day international in
October 2015, a month after his 17th birthday.
Nicknamed the "Afghan Afridi" for
his wicket-taking celebration mirroring those of Pakistan's mercurial
all-rounder Shahid Afridi, Khan has taken world cricket by storm with
successes in major T20 competitions like the Indian Premier League, the
Caribbean Premier League and the Big Bash in Australia. Khan was named
the 2017 ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year, and now can't wait to move
to test cricket.
"There is immense happiness back
home (regarding the rise of Afghan cricket). Our players are doing well
in the IPL and everywhere across the world. It shows the Afghanistan
cricket team is slowly rising through the ranks," Khan told The
Associated Press in an interview last year. "Ultimately, the goal is to
play test cricket. Maybe, I will get to play Afghanistan's first-ever
test. Hopefully that day isn't far away."
In fact it arrives this week.
Sara Errani's doping suspension increased to 10 months
Italian tennis player Sara Errani.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, file)
Switzerland (AP) — Past French Open finalist Sara Errani's doping
suspension was increased Monday from two months to 10 months, a decision
that left her "disgusted by this matter" and questioning if she will
The Court of Arbitration for Sport
announced its rulings on appeals by Errani and Italy's national
anti-doping agency, which asked for up to a two-year punishment.
The 31-year-old Italian tested
positive for the banned substance letrozole in an out-of-competition
drug test at her family home in February 2017. Errani was told about the
result in April 2017 but continued to compete with the hope of winning
Her original two-month ban was
served from August to October 2017. That period will count toward her
new 10-month suspension.
Errani had to wait seven months for
"I have dedicated my life to this
sport and I don't think I deserve all this," she wrote on Twitter. "I
feel powerless against such an injustice. ... All of this is a total
nonsense! ... I don't know if I will be able to find the strength and
desire to play tennis again, after all this."
The sports court ruled that the
letrozole came from medicine taken by Errani's mother "that found its
way into the family meal prepared by the athlete's mother and eaten by
the entire family, including the athlete" in February 2017. But the
court said Errani needed to be more careful and that her mother's fault
"is imputed to her."
Errani lost the 2012 final at
Roland Garros to Maria Sharapova and was ranked as high as No. 5 in
singles the next year. Errani also completed a career Grand Slam in
doubles with Roberta Vinci.
Errani is ranked 72nd this week.
She lost in the first round of the French Open.
Nadal beats Thiem for 11th French Open title
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the men's final of the
French Open tennis tournament against Austria's Dominic Thiem in three
sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France,
Sunday, June 10. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Paris (AP) — In full control
of the French Open final, a rather familiar position for him, Rafael
Nadal suddenly was worried.
He led by two sets plus a break
early in the third, when the middle finger on his racket-wielding left
hand was cramping so badly he couldn't straighten it. After serving a
fault, Nadal took the unusual step of heading to the sideline in the
middle of a game.
"Tough moment," Nadal would say
later. "I was very scared."
Up in the stands, Nadal's uncle
Toni, his former coach, was nervous, too, "because I thought maybe we
can have a problem," he said. "But in the end, it was not too
It rarely is for Nadal at a place
he has lorded over the way no other man ever has at any Grand Slam
tournament. Nadal dealt with that ultimately minor inconvenience and
claimed his record-extending 11th French Open championship Sunday by
displaying his foe-rattling excellence in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over
No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem.
"There is a reason why he won 11
times here," said Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian appearing in his first
major final. "It's definitely one of the best things somebody ever
achieved in sport."
Thiem was on the couch, watching on
TV, in 2005, when Nadal earned his first Grand Slam trophy in Paris at
age 19. That began a run of four consecutive French Open triumphs
through 2008. He added five straight from 2010-14 and now has two in a
Throw in three titles at the U.S.
Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and Nadal is up
to 17 majors, second among men only to Roger Federer's 20. The two stars
have combined to win the past six Slams.
The victory also allowed the
32-year-old Nadal to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, ahead of Federer.
If there were any reason for a bit
of intrigue entering Sunday, it was this: Thiem beat Nadal on red clay
at Rome in May 2017 and again at Madrid last month.
But those are not quite the same as
the French Open, where Nadal is 86-2 for his career.
"I am sure you will win here in the
next couple of years," Nadal told Thiem afterward.
Against many other opponents —
maybe ANY other — Thiem would have made things interesting. He pounded
huge serves that topped 135 mph (220 kph) — about 25 mph (40 kph) better
than Nadal's fastest — and translated into seven aces but also had five
double-faults. He took the biggest of big cuts on groundstrokes, his
feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the
very outcome — not of any individual point, but the whole shebang —
depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket. That led
to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal) but also 42 unforced errors (18
more than Nadal).
It worked. For a bit.
Until 4-all, 15-all in the opening
set, to be precise. Nadal held for 5-4, and Thiem basically handed over
the next game — and the set — with four mistakes. A volley into the net.
A forehand wide. A forehand into the net. A forehand long.
"Terrible misses," Thiem
Just like that, Nadal was off on a
five-game burst to lead 3-0 in the second set.
By then, Nadal was finding his
spots. One down-the-line forehand winner landed right at the baseline,
leaving Thiem sagging his shoulders and muttering. Another forehand
winner from Nadal found a corner, and Thiem yelled toward his coach.
It was a cloudy and steamy
afternoon, with the temperature at 77 degrees (24 Celsius) and the
humidity approaching 70 percent. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's
aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him. Those conditions
might have contributed to the cramping that affected Nadal about two
hours into the final, at 2-1 in the third set.
"I was not able to move the hand,
the finger," Nadal said. "I was not (in) control of my finger."
His uncle thought wrapping around
Nadal's left forearm was too tight. When he first halted play, Nadal
removed that tape, which he said let his circulation improve. At the
following changeover, he was given a salt pill by a doctor and had his
left forearm massaged by a trainer. After guzzling water during that
break, Nadal felt better and was back to playing his unmistakable brand
of nearly unbeatable clay-court tennis.
Shortly, he'd be holding the silver
trophy, the one he knows so well, and crying.
A few hours earlier, as Nadal and
Thiem warmed up, the booming voice of the announcer at Court Philippe
Chatrier detailed the bona fides of both. Nadal's introduction included
a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the French
The crowd responded at the mention
of 2005, initially offering polite applause. It added more voices by the
time 2008 rolled around. The crescendo rose to a full-throated roar for
Go ahead and 2018 to the lengthy
"If you tell me seven, eight years
ago that I will be here ... having this trophy with me again, I will
tell you that is something almost impossible," Nadal said. "But here we
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel wins the Canadian Grand Prix
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel of Germany crosses the finish line to
win the Canadian Grand Prix Sunday, June 10, in Montreal. (Paul
Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
Montreal (AP) — Sebastian
Vettel led from the pole to the checkered flag — and then some — to
claim a long-awaited Ferrari victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion sped
on after the checkered flag was waved one lap too early, finishing his
wire-to-wire victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday to claim
his third win of the year and the lead in the Formula One standings.
"I was a bit confused. I told them
I don't think the race is over yet," said Vettel, who confirmed on the
counter in his car and with his team that he was only completing his
69th of the scheduled 70 laps.
"Some of the marshals were already
celebrating," he said. "I was just worried that people don't jump on the
track and start celebrating. We're still going at full pace."
Canadian model Winnie Harlow blamed
race officials for telling her the wrong time to wave the flag. Formula
One regulations say that if a checkered flag is waved too early, the
race is over as of the last completed lap, making the results official
as through 68 laps.
F1 spokesman Matteo Bonciani said
there was confusion getting the message from a course official to Harlow
on the platform.
"WHEN THEY TELL YOU TO WAVE THE
FLAG A LAP TOO EARLY!" Harlow wrote on Instagram. "You had one job
sir!!! Hahaha but so grateful everyone was safe today and no one got
Had any passing occurred on the
69th or 70th laps, they would not have counted, Bonciani said. But there
was not, and Vettel picked up the 50th of his career, his second in
Montreal and the first for Ferrari at the track since Michael Schumacher
won three in a row from 2002-04.
Mercedes was second with Valtteri
Bottas — not erstwhile championship leader Lewis Hamilton — about six
seconds back after never really challenging for the win. Max Verstappen
was third and the other Red Bull car, driven by Daniel Ricciardo, was
Hamilton, who was fifth on Sunday,
fell from the top of the Formula One standings and now trails Vettel by
one point, 121-120. He had been going for a record-tying seventh victory
in Montreal and a third win in four races.
"I'm the opposite of confident,"
said Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff, whose team failed to
deliver with an engine upgrade in time for the weekend and also botched
its tire strategy in practice.
"I think this is a major wake-up
call for every member of the team," he said. "Everybody needs to assess
how to improve performance. ... Those marginal gains are going to make
all the difference."
Starting cleanly, Vettel was
pulling away from the field when a crash between Brandon Hartley and
hometown favorite Lance Stroll brought out the safety car in the very
first lap. On the restart, Sergio Perez skidded onto the grass but
managed to straighten himself out and rejoin the race.
Vettel had no such trouble, leaving
the jostling behind him as he steered through the 2.71-mile (4.36-km)
track named for the Ferrari driver and Montreal native who earned his
first Formula One victory here 40 years ago.
"Grazie," the German said to his
Italy-based team before grabbing a red and yellow Ferrari flag and
waving it on his way to the podium.
"They've been waiting long enough
for Ferrari to win here," Vettel said. "Forty years after Gilles won his
Grand Prix here, it's nice to show Ferrari is still alive. It's nice to
become part of that story, hopefully a little bit more in the future."
Bottas finished second for the
fourth time in seven races this season. The fifth place finish was
Hamilton's worst of the year, but he said his engine was giving him
problems all season and he was happy he was even able to finish.
"It could get a lot worse. I could
have had a DNF (did not finish)" which would have put him another 10
points behind Vettel, he said. "I'm just grateful the engine made it."
Verstappen's podium was his second
of the year, and it eases some of the pressure he has felt with a series
of mistakes that cost him and the Red Bull team in Azerbaijan and
Monaco. After arriving in Montreal, Verstappen half-jokingly threatened
to head-butt any reporter who asked about the crashes.
The day was less positive for
two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who was celebrating his 300th
Formula One race. He retired to the garage after 43 laps — the eighth
time he failed to finish in Montreal.
It was also a short day for Stroll,
a Montreal native who locked up with Hartley heading into Turn 5 on the
first lap. A year ago, Stroll picked up the first Formula One points of
his career in his hometown.
Crawford scores TKO over Horn, wins WBO welterweight title
Terence Crawford, right, lands a punch on Jeff Horn, of Australia, in a
welterweight title boxing match, Saturday, June 9, in Las Vegas. (AP
Las Vegas (AP) — With a bevy
of punches in the ninth round, Terence Crawford solidified his case as
one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
Crawford dropped Jeff Horn with 50
seconds left in the ninth and sent him into the ropes with a slew of
punches, ending the fight and winning the WBO welterweight title.
Referee Robert Byrd stopped the
fight with 28 seconds left in the round.
"Like I said before, I was the
stronger guy," said Crawford, who landed 48 percent of his power shots,
according to CompuBox. "He did everything we expected him to do. He came
in there with the intentions of roughing me up and getting aggressive.
But the thing he didn't understand was how strong I was. I think they
underestimated me a little bit.
"I'm stronger than him. I just had
to get in the ring and prove it. You saw what I did in there. Now I want
all the champions at welterweight."
Crawford (33-0, 24 knockouts) moved
up to the 147-pound division and became the sixth fighter in boxing
history to win titles at lightweight, junior welterweight and
welterweight. Considered by many as boxing's best pound-for-pound
fighter, Crawford relinquished the four major belts he held in the
junior welterweight division to move up to a stacked welterweight
The 30-year-old from Omaha,
Nebraska, improved to 11-0 (eight knockouts) in world title fights, the
most wins by an active American fighter.
The 30-year-old Horn (18-1-1, 12
knockouts) struggled to make weight one day prior to the bout, hitting
148 pounds on his first try at the weigh-in Friday. He originally won
the belt by decision from Manny Pacquiao last July in his hometown of
Brisbane, Australia. He fought once since, stopping Gary Corcoran in
Brisbane in December to retain his title.
He wasn't so fortunate against
Crawford, who out-landed Horn 155-58, according to CompuBox. Horn landed
just 6.4 punches per round. Crawford's previous 10 opponents landed 7
"He was hard to tag, and he just
kept me guessing," Horn said. "He's a classy fighter who fought a great
And while Horn's trainer Glenn
Rushton said Crawford was sharp by remaining patient for counter
punches, he didn't think it was as dominating a fight as everyone else.
"When you're away from home, you
have to win your rounds more clearly. I thought there were some close
rounds in there, and it was definitely a premature stoppage," Rushton
said. "Terence would just get that odd shot, just that little bit more.
He got hit harder by Pacquiao."
Crawford, a traditional
right-hander who fought southpaw most of the bout, dominated from the
start, using both hands to pepper Horn throughout. Effortlessly,
Crawford absorbed the hard-charging Horn the entire fight, while dodging
the big blows and countering effectively to wear down his opponent. A
big left in the second round by Crawford got things going, while an
impressive right cross to Horn's left temple in the third round showed
his keen ability as a tactician.
Though he never appeared
frustrated, Horn couldn't find a rhythm against Crawford, who chuckled
in the middle in the fourth, the same round he opened a small cut on
Horn's left eyebrow. As slick and surgical as Crawford was, he showed
his power in the fifth round, using a thunderous left uppercut to Horn's
jaw, and moments later landing a left hook to the body.
The sixth round was as close to a
winning round that Horn would see, but Crawford continued to serve a
shutout by blocking punches and countering with stinging jabs to the
Crawford's skills came to life in
the eighth round, as he went upstairs-downstairs near the end of the
round, working the head and the body before closing the round with a
monster right that staggered Horn.
The two fighters were originally
scheduled to meet April 14, but Crawford injured a hand in training,
which resulted in the fight being postponed. Though it's been close to
one year since Crawford has been in the ring, when he fought at 140, he
looked every bit the part of a hard-hitting welterweight.
"I compare him, and it's the
highest praise that I can give a fighter ... that he reminds me of Sugar
Ray Leonard," promoter Bob Arum said. "And that to me is a great, great
compliment because I always thought that Leonard was the best. And this
guy is equal if not better than Ray was. The future is unlimited."
The fight marked the first attempt
to attract boxing fans to ESPN's new $4.99 per month app, which allowed
them to watch the bout from the MGM Grand Garden.
In the co-main event, Jose Pedraza
defeated Antonio Moran by unanimous decision for a regional lightweight
title. With the win, it opened the door for Pedraza to challenge WBO
lightweight world champion Ray Beltran in August.
Dustin Johnson reclaims world's top spot with St. Jude win
Dustin Johnson watches his drive on the first hole during the final round
of the St. Jude Classic golf tournament Sunday, June 10, in Memphis, Tenn.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Teresa M. Walker
Memphis, Tenn. (AP) — Dustin
Johnson is back in his spot as the world's top-ranked golfer thanks to a
dominant victory capped by an absolutely amazing hole-out for eagle.
"What a cool way to end the day,"
Johnson shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday
making the St. Jude Classic his second PGA Tour victory this year and 18th
of his career to take back the No. 1 ranking he held for 64 straight weeks
before falling to No. 2 behind Justin Thomas a month ago . Johnson won the
event for the second time, finishing with the eagle, three birdies and a
bogey for a 19-under 261 total.
"It means a lot," Johnson said of
reclaiming the No. 1 ranking. "It was a long way to get there, and I held it
for a long time and obviously JT took it from me for a little while. It was
nice to finish like that and get it back."
Andrew Putnam started the final round
with a share of the lead for the first time in his career. He shot 72 and
finished at 13 under.
"I feel like I steadied the ship a
little bit after a rough start," said Putnam, who secured his card for the
year with his best finish yet.
Preparing for the U.S. Open, Johnson
took the lead to himself with a par on No. 1, while Putnam double-bogeyed,
and cruised to the $1.18 million winner's check. Johnson turned in the
lowest score under par by a winner here since David Toms at 20 under in 2003
— before the course was redesigned dropping par from 71 to 70 after the 2004
Johnson, who won the U.S. Open in 2016,
heads to Shinnecock Hills after stringing together four straight rounds in
the 60s. He went 67, 63 and 65 before wrapping up a final round that felt
almost like a practice round with the only question remaining how low
Johnson would go until his final dramatic shot.
Nobody has ever won on the PGA Tour and
followed by winning the U.S. Open. The way Johnson's playing, he sees no
reason why he couldn't be the first.
"I know what it takes," Johnson said.
"I'm going to have to play a lot like I did this week if I want to win next
Topping his walk-off eagle won't be
easy. In the intermediate rough to the right of the fairway, Johnson hit
9-iron and watched as the ball bounced twice before rolling into the cup to
bring fans to their feet. Johnson said he couldn't tell if the ball went in
for a few seconds.
"Luckily I did watch him hit that last
shot and that was pretty special, so that was fun to see," Putnam said of
J.B. Holmes (67) was at 9 under.
Stewart Cink (72) and Richy Werenski (71) tied at 8 under. Brandt Snedeker
(70) and Retief Goosen (66) tied four others at 7 under.
Phil Mickelson had a 65 and was at 6
Putnam, a two-time winner on the
Web.com Tour, had only one bogey through his first three rounds. He pushed
his opening tee shot into the right rough and his approach in the rough left
of the green. He wound up three-putting for double bogey. Johnson rolled in
a 4-footer for par and a two-stroke lead at 15 under on a sizzling day with
the temperature feeling like 99.
Johnson worked on keeping the ball in
the fairway, hitting 3-wood off the tee on the first of the course's two par
5s. Even with the 3-wood, Johnson had the second-longest drive of the day,
hitting 333 yards on the 554-yard hole.
Even when Johnson three-putt No. 5 to
drop to 15 under, Putnam also bogeyed protecting Johnson's lead at three
strokes. Putnam pulled within two strokes with a birdie on No. 7, rolling a
putt 11 feet after Johnson parred the hole.
Johnson hit an iron 307 yards off the
tee at No. 10 . After hitting iron off the tee at No. 12 and going left of
the cart path, Johnson saved par with a 16-foot putt to protect his
two-stroke lead. Then Johnson hit a drive 359 yards on the par-4 No. 13,
leaving him 95 yards to the pin. Johnson then hit his approach to 3 feet for
his second birdie to go 16 under.
He previewed his dramatic finish on the
par-5 16th. Johnson's tee shot found the trees right of the fairway, and he
threaded a shot through a couple trees to just off the green. He chipped to
5 feet and birdied for a four-stroke lead.