World Cup teams nix armbands that were seen as snub to Qatar
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — FIFA’s threat of on-field punishment for players has pushed World Cup teams to back down. They abandoned a plan Monday for their captains to wear armbands that were seen as a rebuke to host nation Qatar’s human rights record. Just hours before the first players wearing the armbands in support of the “One Love” campaign were set to take the field, FIFA warned they would immediately be shown yellow cards. That changed the calculus for the seven European teams. They may have expected to merely be fined. The standoff was just the latest dispute that threatened to overshadow play on the field. Since being awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010, conservative Muslim Qatar has faced criticism of its treatment of low-paid migrant workers as well as its criminalization of homosexuality.
Saka, Rashford help England rout Iran 6-2 at World Cup
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford put the last year’s European Championship loss behind them in England’s 6-2 rout of Iran at the World Cup. Both players missed penalties in the shootout loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final and were then subjected to racist abuse. But Saka scored twice at Khalifa International Stadium and Rashford came off the bench to add another with his first move of the match.
World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Messi seeks history with Argentina
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Lionel Messi returns to the World Cup for a fifth attempt at finally winning soccer’s biggest prize. He’ll also be hoping to make history with Argentina. The Argentines are among the favorites to win in Qatar and a victory would fill the one gaping hole in his resume. But a win of a draw Tuesday against Saudi Arabia would give Argentina a record-tying result. Argentina arrived in Qatar on a 36-match unbeaten streak. That is one shy of tying Italy’s record for international men’s soccer1. Other games Tuesday include France against Australia, Mexico facing Poland and Denmark playing Tunisia.
World Cup ticketing app problem delays fans at England-Iran
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Problems with FIFA’s mobile application for World Cup match tickets caused hundreds of fans to miss the start of England’s match against Iran. Fans said their tickets had disappeared from their phone apps and lines began to form outside the Khalifa International Stadium about an hour before the 4 p.m. kickoff in Doha. The lines cleared at a ticketing help desk about 30 minutes into the game. It was unclear if each ticket holder’s problem was resolved or if fans had simply been sent in to see the game. FIFA acknowledged “some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets.”
Women’s protests overshadow Iran’s World Cup loss
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Some Iran fans at the team’s World Cup opener against England showed their support for protests against the Islamic Republic’s regime. Both women, who are banned from watching soccer at home, and men wore T-shirts or waved signs printed with the mantra of the uprising — “Woman, Life, Freedom.” The Iran team also appeared to make a statement, choosing to not sing along with the national anthem before the match. Iran is competing in the World Cup amid unrest wracking their country, spurred by the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police.
AP Top 25: Virginia climbs to No. 5, UNC and Houston are 1-2
Virginia climbed 11 spots to No. 5 in this week’s AP Top 25 following a difficult week. The Cavaliers canceled their game against Northern Iowa after three football players were fatally shot. Virginia opted to play in Las Vegas, beating No. 7 Baylor and No. 16 Illinois to win Continental Tire Main Event. North Carolina held its place in the top spot, receiving 47 first-place votes from a media panel. No. 2 Houston moved up a spot for its highest ranking since 1983. Kansas is No. 3 and Texas climbed seven spots to No. 4.
Nets’ Simmons preps for hostile return in 1st game in Philly
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brookly Nets guard Ben Simmons is ready for his hostile homecoming in Philadelphia. Simmons was an All-Star guard in Philadelphia before back injuries and what he said were mental health issues prompted him to demand a trade. Simmons was traded earlier this year to the Nets for James Harden. He missed Brooklyn’s first game in Philly last season with an injury. He sat on the bench and was heckled all game. Simmons knows worse is expected now that he will actually play.
Analysis: How ’bout them Cowboys! Dallas is most impressive
Dak Prescott was nearly perfect in directing a balanced, dynamic offense. Micah Parsons again wreaked havoc in leading a dominant defense. Behind Prescott and Parsons, Dallas dismantled Minnesota and put the rest of the NFL on notice with a convincing 40-3 victory on the road against a team that had won seven straight games. No team owns a more impressive win this season. The 7-3 Cowboys are unlikely to win the NFC East. They trail the Philadelphia Eagles by two games and already lost to them. But they proved why they’ll be a dangerous team that nobody will want to face in January.
AP Top 25 Reality Check: Michigan joins Ohio St. in 900-club
Moving toward the latest monumental matchup between Michigan and Ohio State, the Big Ten rivals share another Associated Press college football poll milestone. Michigan became the second school, joining Ohio State, to appear in at least 900 rankings since the media poll started in 1936. The Wolverines were ranked third and the Buckeyes second, behind No. 1 Georgia, in the AP Top 25. Ohio State has been ranked 963 times — that’s 79% of all AP polls. Michigan’s 900 appearances represent 74% of all polls.
Staley, VanDerveer back Griner at S Carolina-Stanford game
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley and Hall of Fame Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer each wore white long-sleeved T-shirts featuring Brittney Griner’s name and image during their game Sunday. Top-ranked South Carolina topped No. 2 Stanford 76-71 in overtime in a matchup of the past two NCAA champions. Before South Carolina boarded the bus and left Maples Pavilion, Staley had her Gamecocks write letters to Griner. On the arena concourse, a “Dear BG” table with an invitation to “Write a letter to Brittney Griner” collected hundreds of hand-written messages. The 32-year-old Griner is serving a nine-year sentence for drug possession at a Russian penal colony.