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.
Embolo scores, doesn’t celebrate as Swiss win at World Cup
AL WAKRAH, Qatar (AP) — Breel Embolo’s goal lifted Switzerland to a 1-0 victory over Cameroon at the World Cup. Embolo kept his promise not to celebrate scoring against the country of his birth. The Switzerland forward scored in the 48th minute of a low pass from Xherdan Shaqiri. Embolo raised his hands in a gesture of apology as teammates rushed toward him near the penalty spot. The 25-year-old forward left Cameroon with his family when he was 5. Cameroon coach Rigobert Song says “I would have liked him to be on my side but that’s not the way it went.”
South Korea holds Uruguay to 0-0 draw at World Cup
AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — South Korea and Uruguay started their World Cup campaigns with a 0-0 draw. The draw at Education City Stadium was yet another early World Cup match with the favored team stumbling. Argentina and Germany both lost their opening matches in major upsets. South Korea forward Son Heung-min was wearing a mask to protect a broken left eye socket and his team always looked the more likely to score against the more experienced Uruguayans. But Uruguay had best chances in a match with few clear scoring chances. Diego Godin hit the post in the 43rd minute and Federico Valverde hit it in the 89th.
Aaron Rodgers says he’s been playing with broken thumb
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he’s been playing with a broken thumb for the past six weeks. Rodgers hurt his thumb on Oct. 9 during a foiled Hail Mary attempt on the final play of the Packers’ 27-22 loss to the New York Giants in London. The Packers have listed Rodgers with a thumb injury each week since. But the four-time MVP didn’t acknowledge publicly until Wednesday that it was broken. Rodgers says he’s played through worse injuries. And he says the thumb now feels the best it has since the Giants game.
Phillies’ Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery. The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team. Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost to Houston in six games. The two-time NL MVP hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.
Inflation or not, price of pro sports teams keeps going up
Inflation isn’t going to hurt the bankrolls of sports team owners. In fact, it may help. While the uber-rich will have to pay a little more for their eggs at the grocery store – just like everyone else – inflation isn’t likely to affect the bottom lines at their sports properties. Sports business analysts say the added costs of running the teams is like a rounding error for the multibillion dollar teams. And when the stock market turns sour, sports teams can hold their value better than other investments. Several major pro teams are currently on the market, including English Premier League teams Manchester United and Liverpool. If the NFL’s Washington Commanders are sold, it could break the record for highest price ever for a sports team.
Ohio State, Michigan get chance to add more lore to rivalry
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The highly anticipated matchup between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan with much at stake is almost here. The Buckeyes and Wolverines will play for the Big Ten East title and a spot in the conference championship game, where one of them will be big favorites and a win away from reaching the College Football Playoff. If The Game goes as expected on Saturday in the Horseshoe, it will join the long list of memorable moments in a series that dates to 1897.
Empty streets, cranes: the city built for Qatar’s World Cup
LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Less than a month before it is set to host the World Cup final, Lusail City is oddly quiet. The sleek district 20 kilometers north of Doha was built to accommodate World Cup fans and hundreds of thousands of host nation Qatar’s residents. It is home to the golden, bowl-shaped stadium where the World Cup’s final match will take place, but its empty streets are raising questions about how much use it will get once more than a million soccer fans leave the small Gulf Arab nation after the tournament.
England wary of World Cup upset against US
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — England scored six goals in its opening World Cup game against Iran, but it was the two it conceded that concern coach Gareth Southgate and provide hope for the United States. The tournament has already produced some shocking results, including Saudi Arabia’s win against Argentina and Japan’s upset over Germany. A win for the U.S. over England would not be on the scale of Saudi Arabia’s win, but Gregg Berhalter’s team is undoubtedly the underdog against one of the tournament favorites.
England doesn’t scare US star Adams – but spiders do
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — United States midfielder Tyler Adams is more frightened of spiders than he is of England. Adams revealed what scares him most before the U.S. team’s World Cup clash with England on Friday. And it’s not the prospect of coming up against one of the tournament favorites. England beat Iran 6-2 in its opening game in Qatar on Monday while the U.S. tied 1-1 with Wales. Adams accepts coach Gregg Berhalter’s team is the underdog. But he says the game holds no fear for him.