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.
Giroud, Mbappe help France beat Australia 4-1 at World Cup
AL WAKRAH, Qatar (AP) — France showed it can cope without its star striker at the World Cup. Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up the second of Olivier Giroud’s two goals to help the defending champions beat Australia 4-1. Giroud equaled Thierry Henry’s national record of 51 goals with a header from Mbappe’s cross. Mbappe headed in a cross moments earlier. He knelt with one hand behind his back and his finger on his forehead in a new celebration. Craig Goodwin gave Australia the lead in the ninth minute. Adrien Rabiot equalized with a header in the 27th and set up Giroud’s first goal shortly after.
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.”
USC jumps to 5th behind, UGA, Ohio St, Michigan, TCU in CFP
LSU has moved up to fifth and Southern California is sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings behind Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU. The top four remained the same for the third straight week, but the teams chasing changed order after Tennessee lost to South Carolina last Saturday night. Two huge games this weekend could create more clarity. Michigan is at Ohio State and USC hosts Notre Dame, which checked in at 15th in the selection committee’s rankings.
Jury: NCAA not to blame in ex-USC football player’s death
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles jury has rejected a claim by the widow of a former USC football player who said the NCAA failed to protect him from repeated head trauma that led to his death. The jury found Tuesday that the NCAA was not negligent in the death of Matthew Gee. Lawyers for the widow of Gee, a linebacker on the 1990 Rose Bowl-winning squad, say he endured an estimated 6,000 hits that caused permanent brain damage and led to cocaine and alcohol abuse that eventually killed him at age 49. The NCAA says it had nothing to do with his death.
Tiger Woods wins $15M in PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program
Tiger Woods played nine rounds this year in the majors. That was enough for him to win $15 million from the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program. The tour sent a memo to players Tuesday with the final tally. Woods ranked No. 1 in four of the five metrics. The exception was how much he was on TV during the weekend. He played the weekend at the Masters and Saturday at the PGA Championship. Rory McIlroy was second, followed by Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm. In all, 23 players earned money from the $106 million bonus pool.
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.
Vegas oddsmakers, officials say NFL finally hears message
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas oddsmakers had argued for years that sports betting is easier to monitor where it’s legal and regulated. Now the NFL, other major pro leagues and the NCAA openly embrace Las Vegas and sports betting. The NFL was the staunchest of the leagues in wanting to keep an arm’s distance from Vegas and sports betting. The NFL’s relationship with the city began to thaw when league owners started to seriously consider the Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas from Oakland. They voted in March 2017 to approve the relocation.
Transfer portal puts more value on early basketball tourneys
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — College basketball’s early season tournaments are proving more valuable than ever for teams trying to forge an identity with multiple transfers. The transfer portal has led to more roster turnover and upheaval each year. Holiday tournaments like this week’s Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas take on more value as teams need competitive games to figure out their rotations and chemistry with new additions. North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts says there’s more value for that growth in games than in practices. Kansas coach Bill Self says it takes longer to build cohesion than many understand with freshmen and transfers.