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World Cup stunner: Saudi Arabia beats Messi’s Argentina 2-1

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Saudi Arabia scored one of the biggest World Cup upsets ever by beating an Argentina team led by Lionel Messi 2-1. Messi’s quest to win the one major title to elude him got off to a shocking start and brought back memories of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over an Argentina team led by Diego Maradona in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup. Goals by Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari in a five-minute span in the second half gave the Saudis their greatest win. Messi stood with his hands on his hips near the center circle and looking stone-faced as Saudi Arabia’s jubilant players ran in all directions around him.

Loss for Messi and Argentina among biggest World Cup upsets

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The staggering loss for Lionel Messi and Argentina against Saudi Arabia at the World Cup is right up there with the biggest upsets in tournament history. Messi is playing at likely his last World Cup and chasing the one title that has been elusive to him. Messi and his highly-rated team are among the favorites to win the World Cup in Qatar but have an unwanted place on a very different list now.

Analysis: Russell Wilson trade looks like Herschel Walker’s

DENVER (AP) — It’s early but the Russell Wilson trade is looking as one-sided as any in the NFL since the “Great Train Robbery” that sent Herschel Walker from Dallas to Minnesota 33 years ago in a deal that netted the Cowboys the pillars of their 1990s dynasty. Wilson has thrown just seven touchdown passes for the last-place Broncos. His successor in Seattle is Geno Smith, who has the Seahawks surprisingly atop the NFC West alongside the 49ers. Plus, the Seahawks stand to get a top-10 pick from the Broncos in 2023 after hitting pay dirt in the ’22 draft.

Analysis: As NBA’s first quarter ends, the contenders emerge

Miami Heat President Pat Riley has a longstanding belief: After 20 games, a team knows its identity. He’s right. And after 20 games, title contenders are usually known as well. Think of this as the end of the season’s first quarter. That’s basically where the NBA is right now, with teams starting to approach the 20-game mark. There’s much basketball left to be played, but 20 games has proven almost without fail to be more than enough of a sample size when determining which teams have a legitimate shot at a championship. The numbers show it. The teams know it, too.

Rivalry week picks: From Egg Bowl to Apple Cup to The Game

Conference title and playoff hopes are just part of what’s on the line during college football’s rivalry weekend. There’s the Golden Egg in Mississippi. The Territorial Cup in Arizona. The Old Oaken Bucket in Indiana. The Apple Cup in Washington. The Freemont Canon in Nevada. The Governor’s Cup in Kentucky. The main course of the Thanksgiving football feast are the rivalry games with championship stakes attached involving No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State and No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 5 Southern California.

Column: 3 great years in golf, 2 of them already forgotten

The PGA Tour referred to Rory McIlroy and Lydia Ko as golf royalty because they ruled the golf world this year. They had great years, no doubt. But neither won a major. And when it comes the PGA Tour, such a label dismisses Scottie Scheffler and ignores Cameron Smith. Both won more than McIlroy. Each won a major. What men’s golf had this year was three great years by three players. What makes McIlroy stand out is winning the points title on two tours. And mostly it’s for his strong voice of support for the PGA Tour in its fight with LIV Golf.

Lydia Ko, Steven Alker, Ryan Fox make it big year for Kiwis

It would be a stretch to call 2022 the year of the Kiwi. But not by much. Steven Alker capped off his amazing run by going from qualifier to Charles Schwab Cup champion in just over a year on the PGA Tour Champions. Lydia Ko won the CME Group Tour Championship for the $2 million prize and captured the LPGA Tour player of the year award. Not to be overlooked is Ryan Fox. The 35-year-old from New Zealand ended last year at No. 213 in the world. Now he’s No. 27 after two wins and four runner-up finishes on the European tour.

Ryder Cup: Colsaerts appointed European vice captain

LONDON (AP) — European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald has appointed Nicolas Colsaerts as his third vice captain for next year’s event in Rome. The Belgian golfer joins Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Edoardo Molinari of Italy as vice captains for the European team. Colsaerts helped Europe win the 2012 Ryder Cup and has three tournament victories on the European tour. He said “my first reaction when Luke asked me was sheer joy.” Bjorn and Molinari were both appointed by Henrik Stenson, who was stripped of the role as Europe’s captain after joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf breakaway series.

Argentines shocked, saddened by loss in World Cup debut

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Shock and sadness engulfed the streets of Argentina’s capital as the long-awaited debut of the national team in the World Cup ended in a stunning 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. Fans had woken up early to watch the match, with everyone seemingly convinced it would be an easy victory for a team on a 36-match unbeaten run.

Tunisia holds Denmark 0-0 as Arab teams impress at World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Tunisia held European Championship semifinalist Denmark to a 0-0 draw at the World Cup. The result came three hours after Saudi Arabia beat Argentina in a shocking upset and before a stadium filled almost entirely with Tunisia supporters in another big result for Arab nations competing at the first World Cup in the Middle East. An expert save shortly before halftime by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel helped Denmark preserve the draw. The match marked Christian Eriksen’s return to a major tournament less than a year and a half after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.