Category Archives: Sports

Brazil vs Mexico are set for U17 World Cup Final

The final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 will pit ex-champions versus one another. Thursday’s semi-final results in Brasilia have produced a weighty showpiece set to feature three-time winners Brazil and North American juggernauts Mexico, who hold two titles of their own.

The early encounter at Estadio Bezerrao saw El Tri go toe-to-toe with European holders the Netherlands. The match concluded 1-1 in regulation time, with the Dutch pulling ahead in the 74th minute before Efrain Alvarez’s curling free-kick emphatically brought Mexico level five minutes later.

Alvarez nearly went from hero to zero when he missed the first spot-kick of the shootout.

Chelsea’s Ian Maatsen converted his penalty to give the Dutch the lead. Mexico scored their next three kicks, while Netherlands missed twice, but Joel Gomez so his effort stopped denying Mexico a win in the normal shootout. The match went to sudden death and Victor Guzman gave Mexico the lead. Goalscorer Yuri Regeer missed his penalty to confirm Netherlands’ elimination.

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Goalkeeper Eduardo Garcia’s three stops in the penalty shoot-out cemented his side’s fourth appearance in the final.

Hosts Brazil were forced to play catch-up versus France when Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga and Nathanael Mbuku each scored inside the opening quarter-hour.

Bolstered by a buzzing crowd, A Seleção grew into the game and equalised through Veron in the 76th minute. Then substitute Lazaro blasted the hosts ahead in the 89th minute, ensuring they earn the opportunity to contest a World Cup final on home soil.

Brazil and Mexico will now face each other at the Estadio Bezerrao in Gama on November 18, where the winner of the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup will be crowned.

Brazil is seeking its fourth crown in the tournament, and first since 2003. It also won in 1997 and 1999. Mexico is trying for its third U17 crown after wins in 2005 and 2011.

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Astros´ Justing Verlander wins second career AL Cy Young Award

For the second time in his near undeniable Hall of Fame career, the honor goes to Justin Verlander after a vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

In the NL, Jacob deGrom made history by becoming just the 11th pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Youngs.

Verlander edged out teammate Gerrit Cole by 12 points. It’s the first time teammates have received all 30 first and second-place votes. Verlander was named first on 17 ballots. Cole on 13. Their former teammate, Charlie Morton, finished third. Morton currently pitches for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Verlander is the fourth Astros pitcher to conquer the award, joining Mike Scott (1986), Roger Clemens (2004) and Dallas Keuchel (2015). Verlander previously won the award in 2011 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. He’s finished top three in the Cy Young voting on four other opportunities, including runner up finishes in 2012, 2016 and 2018.

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Performance-wise, not a lot separated Verlander and Cole from one another. Verlander remained dominant and durable in his age-36 season, leading MLB with 223 innings pitched and finishing with exactly 300 strikeouts. That mark was a new career-high for the 15-year veteran.

Verlander also pitched his third career no-hitter, won 21 games, posted a 2.58 ERA and for the second consecutive season posted the best WHIP in MLB at 0.803. That is despite allowing a career-high 36 home runs.

Cole, 29, led the league with a 2.50 ERA while setting a franchise record with 326 strikeouts. Despite missing one start because of an injury, Cole enjoyed a stronger finish to the season. Over his final 22 starts, Cole was 16-0 with 226 strikeouts over 146 2/3 innings. During that stretch, Cole joined Hall of Famer Martinez as the only pitchers to post at least 14 strikeouts in three consecutive starts.

Both résumés are impressive. As is the résumé of Charlie Morton. The 35-year-old right-hander joined the Tampa Bay Rays in free agency and filled the role of ace after 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell missed time with injuries. Morton won 16 games, posted a 3.05 ERA and was vital in helping the Rays clinch a wild-card spot.

The dispute between Verlander and Cole is one that will likely continue far beyond Wednesday’s announcement. But there was no clear wrong choice on the matter.

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Costa sidelined for three months by slipped disc

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has suffered a neck injury that could require surgery and sideline him for around three months.

Costa had been feeling discomfort in the neck and upper back area in recent days.

The former Chelsea forward, 31, appeared in Atletico training earlier this week after featuring on Sunday for 10 minutes off the bench in the 3-1 La Liga victory over Espanyol.

Atletico Madrid say that X-rays on Thursday showed Costa has a herniated cervical disc, adding that he will be assessed by neurosurgery specialists to determine what treatment he will undergo.

If surgery is needed, Costa, who has two goals in 15 appearances for the Spanish club this term. He will be out of action until February 2020 regardless of whether he has an operation.

“The medical services of the club have conducted radiological tests of Diego Costa to assess the cervical discomfort suffered in recent days,” an Atletico announcement read.

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“These tests have determined that the forward suffers a cervical disc herniation.

“In the next few days, he will be evaluated by specialists in neurosurgery to establish the definitive treatment.”

Diego Simeone’s team are presently third in the La Liga table, one point behind Real Madrid and Barcelona who are level at the top of the league.

Atletico are also second in Champions League Group D, and can book their place in the last 16 with a victory over Juventus on November 26.

The injury will further complicate Costa’s hopes of returning to the Spain squad and playing at Euro 2020. He has not featured for La Roja since July 2018.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Atletico have no intention of going into the transfer market to find a temporary substitute for Costa or anyone else, with the club having already reached its salary cap limit set by La Liga.

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Texans claim CB Vernon Hargreaves off waivers

The Houston Texans claimed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves off waivers Wednesday, the team revealed.

Hargreaves was released by the Bucs on Tuesday after he was benched last weekend for what coach Bruce Arians deemed a lack of hustle. “He didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle,” Arians said when asked about Hargreaves, who surrendered a 55-yard catch to Andy Isabella at the beginning of the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. “He was chasing somebody across the field, and he wasn’t running fast enough.”

It is the latest move by the Texans to bolster their secondary. They got Gareon Conley from the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 21 in exchange for a third-round pick. Conley was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft; Hargreaves was a first-round pick in 2016.

Hargreaves, 24, joins a secondary that has been dealing with injuries for much of the season.

Veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph has been playing through shoulder and neck injuries, and cornerback Bradley Roby has missed the Texans’ past three games with a hamstring injury. Rookie corner Lonnie Johnson also missed Week 9 with a concussion.

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The Texans have allowed 277.3 passing yards per game, which ranks 29th inthe NFL.

Hargreaves, the 11th overall pick in 2016, was the Bucs’ top cornerback heading into this season.

Although he posted an interception in Week 1 and made a game-saving tackle on Christian McCaffrey on a goal-line stand in Week 2, Hargreaves, who was expected to be a leader, appeared to lack focus at times.

The Texans also waived cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun from the active roster. Hargreaves has a lot of work to do. His effort last Sunday for his former team was unacceptable. This is made obvious by the fact that the team cut him for it. His play has also been quite a rollercoaster over his three-plus year career. However, if Houston uses him correctly they could reap major benefits from an extremely low-risk move.

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Colin Kaepernick to workout Saturday, NFL invites teams

NFL teams were on Tuesday invited to join a private workout by Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco quarterback who ignited controversy by kneeling during the US national anthem to protest in opposition to racial injustice.

Kaepernick’s protests triggered a political firestorm in 2017 — after the quarterback had left the league — when US President Donald Trump described players who knelt during the US anthem as “sons of bitches” who should be sacked.

He has not played since opting out of his 49ers contract at the end of the 2016-2017 season and has been repeatedly ignored by teams in the years since.

In 2017 he filed a grievance versust the NFL alleging he was being unfairly denied employment, a case that was settled in February.

He has continued to train in the hope of being able to keep his readiness to play and the NFL-arranged workout

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“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday,” Kaepernick wrote.

“I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”

The workout will take place at an undisclosed location in Atlanta. Clubs that don’t attend in person will have access to video of the session. The event will be closed to media.

Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the 2013 Super Bowl, played his last match on January 1, 2017, in the 49ers’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks. During that season, in which the 49ers were 2-14, Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns and had four interceptions. He rushed for 468 yards on 69 attempts. He opted out of his contract after the season and has been a free agent since.

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Giants name Gabe Kapler as Bruce Bocky´s replacement

Kapler has been hired as San Francisco’s manager a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler received a three-year contract to replace Bruce Bochy, a beloved figure who retired at the end of the season following 13 years and three championships with San Francisco.

The Giants made the statement late Tuesday and planned a formal introduction Wednesday afternoon at the ballpark. Kapler is the second big hire in a matter of days by Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. On Monday, Zaidi introduced new general manager Scott Harris, most recently an assistant GM for the Chicago Cubs.

Zaidi and Kapler are now reunited from their time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where Kapler served as director of player development and Zaidi the general manager.

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“The most important trait, if we could have summarized it in one sentence for the next manager, was somebody who was capable of building trust and relationships with both the players and the front office,” Zaidi said. “And in my experience with Gabe, and as we went through the interview process and got to learn more about him, it became clear to us that he was the person who could best execute on that.”

The 44-year-old Kapler was fired Oct. 10 after going 161-163 over two seasons with the Phillies.

With slugger Bryce Harper their blockbuster asset, the Phillies ended 81-81 this year for their first non-losing season since 2012.

Harris said he was impressed with the reference checks done on Kapler around the game. The Giants also received feedback from current San Francisco players.

A former outfielder, Kapler played parts of 12 major league seasons with six teams and was a career .268 hitter. Bochy stated in February at spring training that he would retire after the season. He managed the Giants to World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14. San Francisco went 77-85 in his final year.

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Zverev defeats error-prone Nadal at ATP Finals

After being thoroughly outplayed by defending champion Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals, Rafael Nadal declined to make any excuses.

The top-ranked Spaniard wouldn’t blame the abdominal issue that forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters semifinals just nine days earlier, or a hand injury that kept him sidelined before that. And he bristled at the notion that his recent marriage could be a factor in a sub-par performance.

Something was clearly off for Nadal, though, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to a player he had a perfect 5-0 record versus before Monday’s match at the O2 Arena.

Nadal dropped his serve three straight times, didn’t force a single break point, and his normally powerful forehand was responsible for more than four times as many unforced errors (13) as winners (3). Still, Nadal insisted there was nothing wrong with him physically.

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”I did not feel pain in the abdominal at all”, he said. ”So the physical issue was not an excuse at all. The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight”.

Nadal hasn’t finished a tournament since winning the U.S. Open in August, also pulling out of Shanghai because of a hand injury.

That lack of playing time certainly isn’t helpful coming into an event featuring only the top eight players in the world, rather than lower-ranked early opponents.

He still has to face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in round-robin play, and probably has to defeat both in order to reach the semifinals.

For Zverev, this latest victory means he has defeated each of tennis’ Big Three in his last three matches at the O2.

The German defeated six-time champion Roger Federer in last year’s semifinals and then five-time winner Novak Djokovic in the final. “It’s definitely a place and a court that I love, and that brings maybe the best out of me,” the seventh-seeded German said.

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49ers fall to Seahawks

Despite a spirited, fourth-quarter comeback and a wild overtime period, the San Francisco 49ers experienced their first loss of the season Monday night at Levi’s Stadium, a 27-24 overtime beat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson.

And with that, the 1972 Miami Dolphins could celebrate again, as they still the last NFL team to win a Super Bowl with a perfect record.
With the defeat, the Niners became the final team to lose a game this season, dropping to 8-1. They also became just the third team to win its first eight games and lose its first one in overtime in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“You’re always disappointed when you don’t win, especially when we felt we had a number of chances,” Shanahan said. “I was very proud of our guys. I thought we competed very hard. Guys left it all out there. I know guys are hurting right now. I thought all three phases played hard. I thought our defense played unbelievable. I thought the offense played hard as they could but made way too many mistakes to be able to pull out a win in that game.”

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On a night when the Niners turned the ball over three times and allowed five sacks and 10 quarterback hits, they still had their chances to win the game. None was more tailor-made for a storybook ending than kicker Chase McLaughlin’s 47-yard field goal attempt in overtime.

More than the rare defensive miscue, the Niners’ offense struggled to take care of the ball and protect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

San Francisco entered the game without tight end George Kittle(knee/ankle), and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders departed in the second quarter with a rib injury that will require an MRI on Tuesday morning.

More than maintaining an undefeated record, a win Monday would have put the Niners firmly in control of the NFC West division. Instead, Seattle now sits just one game back in the loss column and holds the early tiebreaker.

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France beats Australia 3-2 to capture Fed Cup

Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic combined to defeat Ash Barty and Sam Stosur to conquer the 2019 Fed Cup title for France.

With scores locked at 2-2 after Ajla Tomljanovic’s singles victory and the tie requiring a decisive doubles rubber, the Frenchwomen defeat the Aussies 6-4 6-3 at RAC Arena to seal victory.

It is France’s first Fed Cup title since 2003, while Australia’s wait for a trophy in the team competition extends to a 46th year.

Mladenovic was the star of the French team, winning both her singles rubbers — including a stunning defeat of world No.1 Barty earlier on Sunday — and the doubles to go a perfect 3-0 in Perth.

For Garcia, it was redemption after being trounced 6-0 6-0 by Barty on the opening day of the tie. “I’m the proudest man on the planet right now. I’m so proud of my girls and the team — they deserve it because they fought for a long time for this title,” said French captain Julien Benneteau.

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“It’s a dream for me — I tried to imagine that at the beginning of the year when I knew that I could have the best team with me on the court.

“Eight months later, here we are.”

Barty and Stosur broke the Frenchwomen right away and held in the next game to establish a 2-0 lead.

Yet despite a slow start, Garcia and Mladenovic quickly settled into the contest, communicating brilliantly and frequently defeating the Aussies with pace.

Barty and Stosur were unable to combine as effectively, often slow and reactive as Garcia and Mladenovic pulled off a succession of winners from both the back of the court and at the net.

The French pairing, Roland Garros champions in 2016, pocketed the first set and surged ahead 2-0 in the second.

Despite the Aussies earning two break points at 15-40, Garcia erased them both with scorching passing shot winners.

Stosur served to keep the Australians alive, and together she and Barty staved off two match points and eventually held for 3-5. But with the ultra-confident Mladenovic stepping up to the line to serve for the title, the French were in safe hands.

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Lions QB Matthew Stafford out with broken bones in back

Matthew Stafford’s streak of consecutive starts came to an end, with broken bones in his back sidelining the Detroit Lions’ quarterback for Sunday’s game versus the Bears in Chicago.

Doctors will not allow Stafford to play, despite the fact that he was practicing and throwing 60-yard passes on Friday. He is now contemplated week-to-week with the back injury, with one source telling ESPN that he could be out “this week or three weeks.” Jeff Driskel will start Sunday in his place.

The injury brings an end to Stafford’s impressive streak of 136 consecutive regular-season starts, the sixth longest for a quarterback in NFL history. The last time someone other than Stafford started at quarterback for the Lions was Shaun Hill in Week 17 of the 2010 season.

Stafford’s injury dates back to last season, but he has been playing through the pain. Doctors insisted on further testing that revealed the extent of the damage in his back. When asked about the injury on Wednesday, the quarterback said he was “fine.” He was listed as questionable on the injury report and practiced every day on a limited basis this week.

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Stafford is fourth in the NFL with 2,499 passing yards. Driskel started five games for Cincinnati last season, where he completed 59.7 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and two interceptions.

Stafford, who also has had a hip injury, is no stranger to back issues. Last season, he played through the fracture of one of the bony protrusions that extend from each vertebrae. This injury is not, he said last week, related to that, and he was planning to start yet another game. Only Philip Rivers, with 218, has more consecutive starts among active quarterbacks, and the streak is a matter of pride and competitiveness. 

Signed by the Lions in September, Driskel started five games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season, completing 59.7 percent of his passes and throwing for six touchdowns.

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