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Hydration, nutrition and rest key for US in Manaus PDF Print E-mail
Written by JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer   
Friday, 20 June 2014 15:32
SAO PAULO (AP) — Kyle Beckerman is counting on all his experience playing Major League Soccer games in the heat and humidity to prepare him for what he will face in the World Cup on Sunday.

Hydration and planning are paramount for weathering the challenging tropical conditions of the Amazon rain forest, where the Americans are headed for their weekend showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

The world players' union on Friday called for teams to be more cautious before and during matches in the steamy climates of Manaus and Fortaleza. The union reacted to complaints that there just aren't adequate chances for players to catch their breath or rehydrate to avoid cramping.

"Well, I think a lot of us, we play in the MLS and we go to Houston, go to Dallas, and the Midwest is hot and steamy in the summer, the East Coast is," said Beckerman, a U.S. midfielder. "And guys who play in Europe, they've played in the MLS and played in these temperatures, so I'm hoping when we get there it will seem familiar and seem like one of those MLS cities and it won't be too big of a deal."

Germany and Ghana face off Saturday in another Group G match at Fortaleza.

FIFA allows cooling breaks when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius). FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Vincent Gouttebarge insists FIFA's introduction of those short breaks — 3-4 minutes each — at the 30th and 75th minutes do not suffice for "optimal re-hydration."

"Sports science shows that the amount of fluid an athlete can ingest and digest during exercising is up to 200-250ml every 15 minutes," Gouttebarge said in a statement. "Consequently, an optimal re-hydration strategy could rely on two short water breaks every 15 minutes during each half of a match, rather than on a single four minute water break during each half."

Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio said he felt as if he were having "hallucinations" during a 2-1 opening victory against England at the Arena da Amazonia due to the conditions.

And if he thinks this is hard, if the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is played in June, the temperatures are likely to reach 100-plus.

The U.S. team had no cases of cramping during last summer's winning run in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the Americans won't change much heading to Manaus: hydration, nutrition and rest.

"To me, these conditions are very similar to the States in July," U.S. sports performance dietitian Danielle LaFata said Friday, before the Americans departed from Sao Paulo Futebol Clube. "The guys, I've been having talks with them about keeping up on their fruit and vegetable intake because fruits and vegetables are 80-90 percent water."

LaFata is having the kitchen staff use additional salt in team meals. She's also encouraging players to eat plenty of carbohydrates and will be adding electrolytes to sports drinks.

She planned to go through the aisles every 30 minutes during the team's 4-hour flight to encourage hydration.

"We heard about the conditions and we tried to prepare for that in Florida to try to face the weather," right back Fabian Johnson said. "I think we'll take a few days to adjust to this and hopefully be ready for it."

No European team has ever won a World Cup played in South America.

Physicist Stephen Hawking, Britain's most famous scientist, offered his conclusion last month that one factor England needed to win in Brazil was to avoid high temperatures and the environmental effects. The Three Lions opened with a loss to Italy in Manaus, then were eliminated from advancing out of group D on Friday when Costa Rica beat the Azzurri — a day after England's 2-1 loss to Uruguay.

The Americans are trying to put the heat and elements at the back of their minds. Stopping Ronaldo is a main focus.

"It's going to be hot," forward Chris Wondolowski said. "You get to play 90 minutes in a World Cup game. It doesn't matter how hot it is. We'll be ready."

US confident it can stop Ronaldo on Sunday PDF Print E-mail
Written by RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer   
Friday, 20 June 2014 15:30
SAO PAULO (AP) — Just after he was cut from the U.S. roster last month, right back Brad Evans posted this snarky tweet: "You got off easy this time @Cristiano."

The Americans are confident their defensive depth can stop the two-time world player of the year when they play Portugal on Sunday night in a World Cup match in the Amazon rain forest capital of Manaus.

"He's a complete player," midfielder Michael Bradley said Friday. "When you look at the game today, there's such a premium on the physical aspect of the game — speed, strength, endurance — and he is a guy who checks all those boxes. And then when you talk about his technical ability — the way he shoots with his right foot, his left foot, how good in the air he is — he's somebody who can make the difference at any moment."

Coming off a 2-1 opening win over Ghana, the U.S. could possibly clinch advancement with a win and would put itself in excellent position with a tie.
Updated 7 p.m., AP Source: Cavaliers reach agreement with Blatt PDF Print E-mail
Written by 
TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer   
Friday, 20 June 2014 15:28
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers went outside the box, and outside the country to find their new coach.
The club ended a wide-ranging 39-day search on Friday by agreeing on a contract with successful European coach David Blatt, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting.
Terms of Blatt’s contract were not immediately known. The Cleveland Plain Dealer was first to report the Cavs coming to terms with Blatt.
American-born and Princeton-educated, Blatt spent the past two decades winning titles in Israel and leading Russia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. The 55-year-old recently resigned from Maccabi Tel Aviv, a club he led to the Euroleague championship this season, to pursue his dream of coaching in the NBA.
He’ll get his chance with the Cavs, who haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010 and fired Mike Brown on May 12 following a 33-49 season. Blatt is Cleveland’s third coach in three years and he arrives less than a week before the Cavs will select first in the draft.
Cleveland’s surprising decision to give Blatt the job came after the team talked to several high-profile college coaches and met with some former NBA head coaches and other up-and-coming assistants. This week, the team zeroed in on Blatt, who is widely considered one of the game’s brightest offensive minds.
As the sides were negotiating Blatt’s contract, the Cavs got a closer look at Duke forward Jabari Parker, who worked out at the team’s training facility in Independence, Ohio. Parker is one of the Cavs’ options with the No. 1 overall pick, a selection they are determined to get right.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 June 2014 18:53
Costa Rica advances with 1-0 win over Italy PDF Print E-mail
Written by ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer   
Friday, 20 June 2014 15:29
RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Costa Rica followed up its surprise win over Uruguay with another World Cup stunner on Friday, beating four-time champion Italy 1-0 to secure a spot in the next round and eliminate England in the process.

Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz gave his side the lead in the 44th minute, heading in off the underside of the crossbar following a cross from Junior Diaz. Goal-line technology was used to show that the ball bounced down and in after hitting the bar.

There was a frenetic end to the first half, as moments before Ruiz's goal Costa Rica had a penalty appeal waved away when striker Joel Campbell was bundled over by Giorgio Chiellini.

Costa Rica leads Group D with six points, while Italy and Uruguay have three each before Tuesday's showdown. England has zero points after losing to Italy and Uruguay.

So after entering the tournament as an expected underdog in a group featuring three former world champions, Costa Rica is now on top.

"Maybe there are a lot of people who didn't have faith in us because we were in the 'Group of Death'. But the dead are the other ones and we're going to the next round," Ruiz said.

Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto was on the same wavelength.
Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas defects PDF Print E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 20 June 2014 10:41
HAVANA (AP) — Cuban authorities say hard-hitting outfielder Yasmani Tomas of Havana’s powerhouse ballclub Industriales has defected.
Communist Party newspaper Granma said Friday that he left the island “through unscrupulous, illegal human trafficking.”
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