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, Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0 at World Cup
AL WAKRAH, Qatar (AP) — Breel Embolo’s goal has lifted Switzerland to a 1-0 win over Cameroon at the World Cup. He kept his promise not to celebrate scoring against the country where he was born. The Swiss forward from Yaounde struck with a right-foot shot in the 48th minute Thursday. He was standing all alone eight meters (yards) out in the middle of the goalmouth to take Xherdan Shaqiri’s low pass. Embolo raised his hands in a gesture of apology as teammates rushed to him near the penalty spot. The 25-year-old forward left Cameroon with his family when he was five.
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.
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.
Promising Spain brings back the ‘tiki-taka’ at the World Cup
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — King Felipe VI was among those congratulating Spain after its 7-0 rout of Costa Rica in the World Cup opener as “La Roja” put on a masterclass of ball possession and efficient attacking to get off to a good start in its quest to win a second world title. The historic victory raised expectations about “La Roja’s” chances of succeeding in Qatar and winning soccer’s most coveted trophy for the first time since 2010. Spain plays Germany in their second Group E match on Sunday.
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.
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.