Japan gets 2 late goals to upset Germany 2-1 at World Cup
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored late goals to give Japan a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Germany at the World Cup. Ilkay Gündogan had given four-time champion Germany the lead with a first-half penalty. But Doan pounced on a rebound to equalize in the 76th minute after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer blocked a shot from Takumi Minamino. Then Asano sprinted clear of Nico Schlotterbeck and beat Neuer from a narrow angle in the 83rd. Both Doan and Asano play for German clubs. It was the first competitive meeting between the two nations.
Germany players cover mouths at World Cup in FIFA protest
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Germany’s players covered their mouths for their team photo before their opening World Cup match in a rebuke of FIFA’s clampdown on plans to wear armbands seen to protest discrimination in host nation Qatar. Germany coach Hansi Flick says “it was a sign from the team, from us, that FIFA is muzzling us.” The team lined up in the traditional formation before Wednesday’s game against Japan and each of the 11 players covered their mouth with their right hand. The gesture was a response to FIFA’s warning to the seven European federations that players would be penalized if they wore colorful “One Love” armbands as a symbol for inclusion and diversity. Qatar has been under scrutiny for its human rights record and laws criminalizing homosexuality.
World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Ronaldo and Neymar seek history
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Two of the best players in soccer start World Cup competition Thursday as Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar both seek history in Qatar. Ronaldo is attempting to become the first male soccer player to score in five different World Cups when he leads Portugal against Ghana. Neymar is the leader of a Brazil team seeking a record-extending sixth World Cup title. South Korea plays Uruguay and Switzerland faces Cameroon in other games. South Korea forward Son Heung-min will likely be wearing a Batman-style mask to protect the left eye socket he fractured earlier this month.
Young Spain squad routs Costa Rica 7-0 at World Cup
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Spain’s young squad got off to a high-scoring start at the World Cup by routing Costa Rica 7-0. Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres scored a goal each in the first 31 minutes. Torres, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Álvaro Morata added to the lead in the second half. Olmo’s goal was the 100th at World Cups for Spain. The country became the sixth nation to score more than 100 times in the tournament. It was the first time Spain has scored seven goals in a World Cup match.
Big upset puts global spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s players
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s shocking upset of Lionel Messi and Argentina suddenly put the Green Falcons in the international spotlight. Saudi Arabia has no big names like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. The squad is instead full of domestic league players under a French coach that has jumped around several teams. Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari became instant national heroes with second-half goals in the 2-1 victory over the Argentines. Both play for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia’s top league. And so does goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais. He preserved the win with a pair of late saves.
Jets bench Zach Wilson, Mike White to start vs. Bears
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson has been benched by the New York Jets. The underachieving quarterback will be replaced by Mike White as the starter Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Coach Robert Saleh announced the decision after evaluating and discussing the situation with his assistants. Saleh said the benching is a reset for the second-year quarterback. Wilson had a dismal performance last Sunday in the Jets’ 10-3 loss to the Patriots in New England. The No. 2 overall pick in the draft last year was 9 of 22 for a measly 77 yards. Joe Flacco will be White’s backup.
Thanksgiving slate features five winning football teams
Thanksgiving will be filled with food and winning football teams. The three-game slate for Thursday turned out better than anyone could’ve hoped when the schedule was announced. Five of the six teams playing are currently sitting in playoff spots. The early game that traditionally features the Lions is more interesting now that Detroit has won three straight games. The visiting Buffalo Bills are among the NFL’s best teams and already won a game in the same stadium after a blizzard forced them out of western New York last week. Dallas hosts the New York Giants in a battle for second place in the NFC East and Minnesota hosts New England.
Prayers go on, sometimes out of sight, in prep football
WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Across America, most high school football seasons are winding down. It will wrap up the first year since the Supreme Court ruled it was OK for a public school coach near Seattle to pray on the field. The decision prompted speculation that prayer would become an even bigger part of the game-day fabric, though that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Outside Detroit, coaches have found ways for their diverse rosters to pray if they wish. Some keep it behind closed doors to avoid potential anti-Islamic jeers from fans in other communities.
Denmark reignites European dispute with FIFA at World Cup
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — European soccer has again showed public frustration with FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the World Cup. This time it was in the Denmark camp. Danish soccer federation president Jesper Møller pledged he wouldn’t vote for Infantino in March when he runs unopposed for re-election and also hinted at wishing to walk away from FIFA membership. European criticism of Infantino has intensified at the World Cup amid a dispute about wearing captains armbands that back an anti-discrimination campaign. Infantino berated European society and media for criticism of World Cup host Qatar in an eve-of-tournament news conference.
Where will Ronaldo go after leaving Manchester United?
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United with immediate effect. Where will he turn up next? The Portugal star has put himself on the market with his explosive pre-World Cup interview that led to the termination of his contract on Tuesday. As a free agent the 37-year-old forward now has the chance to impress potential suitors and prove he can still produce on the highest level for his country in Qatar.