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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teen Gavi leads Spain to 7-0 rout of Costa Rica 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.
Seven Michigan St football players charged in tunnel melee
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Charges have been filed against seven Michigan State football players stemming from a melee in Michigan Stadium’s tunnel last month. That’s according to a statement from the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office. Michigan State player Khary Crump faces the most serious charge — felonious assault. Charges against the six other players are misdemeanors. Five are charged with aggravated assault and one with assault and battery. The incident occurred on Oct. 29 when multiple members of Michigan State’s football team roughed up two Michigan players. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh had said earlier he expected the suspended Spartans to be charged.
Ballo, No. 14 Arizona beat No. 10 Creighton for Maui title
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Oumar Ballo dominated inside with 30 points and 13 rebounds for No. 14 Arizona, which held off No. 10 Creighton 81-79 to win the Maui Invitational for the third time. The combination of the unstoppable 7-foot, 260-pound Ballo and his speedy, talented supporting cast was just enough for the Wildcats to remain undefeated at 6-0. Kerr Kriisa added 13 points and nine assists, Azuolas Tubelis had 12 points and Courtney Ramey scored 10. Ryan Nembhard scored 20 for Creighton, which dropped to 6-1. It was trying to beat a ranked opponent for the third straight day.
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.