FIFA threat makes World Cup teams nix ‘One Love’ armbands
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.
Amid Musk Twitter chaos, athletes & celebs cope just like us
Much like many of Twitter’s hundreds of millions of users, professional sports stars and celebrities from the entertainment world are dealing with the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the microblogging app since Elon Musk took it over and began trimming the staff and making other changes. Even the people paid to advise the athletes, actors and singers are not necessarily sure how to proceed as Twitter evolves — or maybe goes away entirely. And the famous folks with millions of followers on Twitter are not necessarily sure the popular site’s disappearance would be the sky-is-falling disaster some are making it out to be.
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.
South Carolina, Stanford top women’s Top 25; IU, UNC jump up
South Carolina and Stanford are still 1-2 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll after their game over the weekend. The Gamecocks won in overtime and got all 29 first-place votes in the AP Top 25. It was a chaotic week that saw half of the top 10 teams lose at least one game. UConn, Ohio State and Iowa State round out the first five. Indiana and North Carolina have jumped into the top 10. UCLA and Kansas State are in the poll for the first time this season. Oklahoma and Nebraska are out.
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.
Wilson’s struggles have playoff-hungry Jets in tough spot
The New York Jets’ surprising season took a lousy turn in a hurry. They went from the possibility of sitting in first place in the AFC East to the bottom of the division standings with some serious questions to answer about the quarterback. Zach Wilson is taking plenty of hits for his lousy play and uninspired answers after the Jets’ 10-3 stunning loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. The No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft went 9 of 22 for a measly 77 yards with several wayward throws. Wilson’s struggles are putting the playoff-hungry Jets in a tough spot.