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.
Argentines shocked, saddened by loss to Saudis at World Cup
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Shock and sadness engulfed the streets of Buenos Aires as Argentina’s national team lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in its opening match of the World Cup. Fans had awakened early to watch the contest in Qatar, with everyone seemingly convinced it would be an easy victory for a team on a 36-match unbeaten run. Many walked to bakeries in Buenos Aires in blue-and-white jerseys for breakfast. Cheers were heard in the streets at the kickoff. More noise followed when Lionel Messi scored early, and the din of vuvuzelas penetrated the morning air. But an eerie silence soon set in, as what was supposed to be an easy match turned challenging, and Saudi Arabia rallied with two second-half goals.
Ronaldo to leave Manchester United ‘with immediate effect’
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Manchester United says Cristiano Ronaldo will leave the Premier League club “with immediate effect.” The 37-year-old forward conducted an explosive interview on the eve of the World Cup. He criticized manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners. United said last week that it had “initiated appropriate steps” in response to Ronaldo’s comments. United says the club “thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford.”
World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Davies to play in Canada’s return
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Alphonso Davies will make his World Cup debut in a boost for a Canadian team that will be making its return to soccer’s biggest stage for the first time since 1986. Canada’s top player was in doubt for the match after he strained his right hamstring playing for Bayern Munich earlier this month. Davies was cleared to play Wednesday when Canada faces second-ranked Belgium. Germany opens its World Cup campaign against Japan as it attempts to recover from its 2018 elimination from the group stage as the defending champions. Spain plays Costa Rica and Morocco faces Croatia in a full day for Group E.
Once forbidden, gambling now embraced by NFL
Gambling has gone from the forbidden topic in the NFL to a key part of the league’s present and future. The days of lobbying against widespread legalized sports betting, preventing broadcast partners from even discussing point spreads and even prohibiting players from holding a fantasy football convention because it was at a casino are firmly in the past. The relationship between the United States’ richest sports league and gambling is stronger than ever with a team playing in Las Vegas just a short walk from the casinos on The Strip, sponsorship deals with gambling companies who pay millions for in-game advertisements and teams having sports books next to their stadiums.
Break it down: Dancers begin charting path to Paris Olympics
NEW YORK (AP) — The journey to the 2024 Olympic Games is well underway for dozens of b-boys and b-girls around the globe who hope to secure a spot to compete when breaking, the now-international dance art, makes its athletic debut on the world’s stage. After the Red Bull BC One World Final, held earlier this month in the birthplace of hip hop and a short distance from the very streets where Black and Puerto Rican New Yorkers pioneered the art of breaking, the field of Olympic competitors is starting to take shape.
Mexico and Poland play out 0-0 draw at World Cup
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Robert Lewandowski’s second-half penalty attempt was saved by Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and left Poland to settle for a 0-0 draw at the World Cup. It was Lewandowski’s first penalty miss for the national team. Poland’s all-time leading scorer with 76 goals remains without a World Cup goal. The Poland forward was awarded the penalty following a VAR review after Hector Moreno got hold of his shirt and pulled him down. Ochoa came up yelling in celebration after his stop. Mexico dominated possession but Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny turned away all three of El Tri’s shots on goal.
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.