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AP Sports
Altidore, referee focus before U.S.-Belgium game PDF Print E-mail
Written by RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 06:08

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — They know the eyes of the United States will be on them from thousands of miles away, and they say they are ready.
The Americans try to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2002 when they play Belgium on Tuesday.
“For some of the guys, it’s the last opportunity, so we have to make the most of it,” U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said. “And I’m sure if we play to the best of our ability, we’ll get a positive result.”
There were two bits of news on the eve of the match. Jozy Altidore has recovered sufficiently from his left hamstring strain to be available, although it appears he is unlikely to start. The forward has not played since the Americans’ June 16 opener, when he was taken off on a stretcher during the first half.
“Just having him with us tomorrow is huge,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Monday, adding Altidore’s time on the field depends on “how much work is in his legs.”
Klinsmann created a stir by saying he isn’t happy with FIFA’s choice of referee, Algeria’s Djamel Haimoudi. His nation was eliminated by the U.S. in 2010, and Algeria played in the same first-round group as Belgium.
“Is it a good feeling? No,” Klinsmann said at a news conference.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots dismissed Klinsmann’s comments, saying: “If we start going into this, it is looking for excuses ahead of the match.”
The United States and Belgium haven’t played in the World Cup since the first tournament in 1930, a 3-0 win by the Americans.
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World Cup kisses goodbye to Africa PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOHN LEICESTER, AP Sports Writer   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 06:07
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Nigeria and Algeria made World Cup history for Africa and now leave with their heads held high.
Despite tenacious resistance, Africa’s last representatives were sent home on Monday by France and Germany.
Those two former champions will next play each other on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. That quarterfinal means Europe is guaranteed at least one semifinalist in this World Cup that has smiled on the Americas, supplier of eight of the last 16 teams.
With exceptional saves, goalkeepers again starred both in France’s 2-0 win over Nigeria and Germany’s 2-1 marathon against an Algerian team whose bravura has been among the many revelations of this surprise-packed tournament.
This was Algeria’s first taste of World Cup knockout football, having never advanced from the group stages in three previous attempts.
Germany needed extra time to win after both teams failed to score in two absorbing halves, and it let Abdelmoumene Djabou get a goal back in the dying seconds, doing  little for the three-time champion’s credentials as a favorite to lift the trophy again on July 13.
France, winner in 1998, looks the sharper of the two. Germany’s tactics of pushing players forward and leaving a large chunk of defending to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer would almost certainly undo it against a stronger attack.
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Pistons not renewing Chauncey Billups’ contract PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 06:01

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Pistons say they won’t pick up the team option on Chauncey Billups’ contract for the 2014-15 season.  
Coach Stan van Gundy says Monday’s announcement was a hard one. He says the 37-year-old guard “will always be a valued member of the Detroit Pistons’ family.”
Owner Tom Gores says Billups has shown “leadership, dedication and excellence both on and off the court” and says he’s confident Billups will have “a long and bright future” in the league after his playing days are over.
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At wet Wimbledon, Murray, Djokovic near rematch PDF Print E-mail
Written by By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 06:06
LONDON (AP) — As the rain wreaks havoc on the Wimbledon schedule and players start to complain, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have found little reason to worry about the weather.
It helped that both got to play Monday on Centre Court, the only spot at the All England Club with a retractable roof.
And with back-to-back, straight-set victories, they moved closer to a semifinal showdown that would be a rematch of the final last year, when Murray beat Djokovic to become the first British man since 1936 to win Wimbledon.
“Sometimes the scheduling works in your favor. Sometimes the weather works in your favor,” Murray said. “You just have to deal with it.”
He reached the quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive year by dulling the dangerous serve of 20th-seeded Kevin Anderson and saving a set point in the tiebreaker of a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) win. They played under a drizzle for about 15 minutes before the roof was closed early in the second set.
It stayed that way for the top-seeded Djokovic, and the 2011 champion beat No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the 11th consecutive time, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5). Djokovic grimaced once in the final set while clutching the upper left arm he landed on in his prior match, but finished strongly and said afterward he felt fine.
“A lot of matches were canceled, but that’s London, that’s Wimbledon, with its very unpredictable weather,” Djokovic said.
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Reds’ Latos is sharp, but loses to Padres 1-0 PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAY PARIS, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 05:50
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mat Latos gave up one run, and the San Diego Padres managed just one hit all night.
It all added up to a 1-0 loss for Latos and the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
“Can’t really say I was a tough-luck pitcher,” Latos said. “At least I won’t say it.”
Everth Cabrera’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning scored the game’s only run, as the Padres topped Cincinnati despite getting one hit. Tommy Medica’s single in the second was the only hit for the Padres, who got solid pitching behind rookie Jesse Hahn (4-1) and four relievers to end Cincinnati’s season-high five-game winning streak.
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in as many chances for the Padres, who won for the second time this season after getting just one hit. They defeated Pittsburgh 3-2 on June 4, with Cabrera’s bunt single being the lone hit
Latos (1-1) allowed one run, a hit and a walk over seven innings in absorbing the loss against his former team. He struck out four.
“My job is to put up zeroes and try to win a ballgame and I made one mistake,” Latos said. “I walked the leadoff hitter and it came back to bite me in the butt. So that’s on me.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 05:51
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