Trinity Rodman scores two second-half goals as US down Wales 2-0 in final tuneup Women’s World Cup

Trinity Rodman scores two second-half goals as US down Wales 2-0 in final tuneup Women’s World Cup
US midfielder Lindsey Horan, left, and Sophia Smith, center, celebrate with forward Trinity Rodman, right, who scored in the second half of a FIFA Women's World Cup send-off soccer match against Wales in San Jose, California on Sunday. (AP)
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Updated 10 July 2023
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Trinity Rodman scores two second-half goals as US down Wales 2-0 in final tuneup Women’s World Cup

Trinity Rodman scores two second-half goals as US down Wales 2-0 in final tuneup Women’s World Cup
  • Rodman: This team does a really good job of setting a standard
  • The US will begin group stage play in Group E facing Vietnam on July 22 at Auckland’s Eden Park

SAN JOSE, California: Megan Rapinoe and Trinity Rodman stood side by side at the top of a stairwell waiting to return to the field for some final cheers and fanfare before the Americans departed for the Women’s World Cup Down Under.

The Old Guard and Young Guard of US Soccer are mixing, meshing. These women are still learning from each other and about each other. And US coach Vlatko Andonovski is confident the kinks will be worked out over the coming couple of weeks in training for the Americans to shine.

Rising star Rodman scored for US in the 76th minute and again in the 88th, and the Americans finally capitalized on their many offensive chances to beat Wales 2-0 on Sunday in a final tuneup for the Women’s World Cup.

Several players are dealing with injuries so Andonovski had to adjust his lineup.

“Changes were necessary and with those changes now we’re going to need maybe a couple more weeks until we get in sync,” Andonovski said. “We’re very confident in where we’re at right now and we can see how good we’re likely going to look and when that happens it’s going to look good.”

First, Rodman broke up a scoreless tie when she one-touched a pass from Sophia Smith then later emphatically delivered again to provide a glimpse of Americans’ youth movement headed to the big stage in Australia and New Zealand.

Smith corralled a pretty ball from Lynn Williams — who subbed in during the 64th minute — sent from the center circle and raced past her defender on the left side to find a charging Rodman for the initial goal.

Rodman, the highly touted 21-year-old forward, set up her own shot the next time. She entered for Alex Morgan to begin the second half challenged by Andonovski to raise the pace.

“This team does a really good job of setting a standard,” Rodman said over the chants of “USA! USA!” an hour after the final whistle.

Rodman doubled her number of goals for the US to give her four over 18 matches for the Americans — and she even had another chance on a header in the 74th. The US hardly looked in sync for much of the afternoon less than two weeks from the World Cup opener but the backups brought some new energy.

Andonovski is mixing and matching lineups featuring veterans and unproven new talent on the 23-woman World Cup roster with nine returners from the 2019 World Cup champion team and 14 players making their debut on the biggest world stage.

Alana Cook nearly found the net on a header in the 68th minute that Wales forward Kayleigh Green headed away near the post and Sofia Huerta had a nice look in the 73rd minute.

Alyssa Thompson missed from just outside the penalty box in the 61st minute — so it was a game of missed chances on a picture-perfect Bay Area afternoon for the sold-out friendly match that had its share of physical moments and hard hits.

A scrappy Wales team fought on its defensive end to limit the Americans’ chances for open looks at the net yet the US did get ample chances to work on various set pieces throughout the game. The Welsh didn’t manage their first shot until the 74th minute on an attempt by Hannah Cain.

Wales defender Lily Woodham exited briefly and was examined by medical personnel following a head-to-head collision with Alyssa Thompson in the 23rd minute that gave Woodham a swollen right eye immediately. And forward Carrie Jones took a shoe to the head moments before the halftime whistle.

A day after Rapinoe announced she will retire after her fourth World Cup and finish the National Women’s Soccer League season with the OL Reign, the 38-year-old forward didn’t get on the field as a precaution with her nursing a calf injury over the past month. She received huge cheers when she came outside for warmups and again running through the tunnel after going through her pregame routine.

“One thing people know about P is it’s hard to know what age she is because she fits in so well with everybody on the team,” said defensive leader Crystal Dunn. “And that’s the kind of veteran-ship and leadership we have on this team is we want to stay connected to the young ones, they’re always teaching us new things, these new TikToks that are out. We’re trying to stay young and hip and I think it’s important as a team we’re one unit.”

Rapinoe will have to wait for the World Cup to make her 200th career national team appearance over a 17-year career with the Americans — and will become just the 14th US player to reach the mark.

Rapinoe debuted in the 2011 Germany World Cup and also played in 2015 in Canada and France four years ago. She and the Americans are chasing a third straight title when the Women’s World Cup opens July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

Instead of seeing Rapinoe, the home fans in a sellout crowd of 18,000 were treated to their first chance seeing Rodman at PayPal Park, home of the MLS San Jose Earthquakes.

Midfielder Savannah DeMelo entered midway through the second half for her first career appearance with the Americans, who are 8-0-0 this year outscoring opponents 19-1.

The US will begin group stage play in Group E facing Vietnam on July 22 at Auckland’s Eden Park. The Americans face 2019 runner-up The Netherlands in the second match July 26 then Portugal on Aug. 1.


Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye

Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye
Updated 18 June 2024
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Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye

Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye
  • Ozcan has said the team needs to capitalize on the large Turkish population and passionate support in Germany
  • “Our hearts beat for Turkiye, for home. Of course, Germany is also home for us, but we are Turks,” said fan Cengiz Catalpinar

DORTMUND/MUNICH: Tens of thousands of Turkiye fans draped in the country’s red flag celebrated ahead of the country’s first match of Euro 2024 against neighbor Georgia in Dortmund on Tuesday, creating a festival atmosphere akin to a host nation to welcome the team.
Almost 3 million people with Turkish roots live in Germany, following a wave of official migration that began in the 1960s. The close ties are reflected in both the German and Turkish football teams. Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan has Turkish roots, while Turkiye’s midfielder Salih Ozcan, was born in Cologne and plays for Borussia Dortmund.
Ozcan has said the team needs to capitalize on the large Turkish population and passionate support in Germany.
Heavy rain and forecasts of thunderstorms closed Dortmund’s 25,000 capacity fan zone and other giant viewing spots in the cities of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, but fans en route to the stadium made good on their promise to make some noise. Berlin’s two fan zones were also closed due to bad weather.
“Our hearts beat for Turkiye, for home. Of course, Germany is also home for us, but we are Turks,” said fan Cengiz Catalpinar.
Mehmet Guelcicek had driven for two days from Zurich in Switzerland to reach Dortmund and watch the match.
“We are Turks and always there with the team.”
Many Turks were also celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, when typically, animals such as sheep are sacrificed.
Ugur Aydin walked with an inflatable sheep.
“We saved him from the Eid sacrifice festival and are celebrating our own festival today with a 3 point win over Georgia. And hopefully the same again for the next two games, against Portugal and the Czech Republic,” he said.
Turkiye begin their Euro 2024 campaign against newcomers Georgia knowing a winning start in one of the tournament’s weaker groups would give them a great chance of making the knockout stages after disappointing last time around.
In hot sunshine in Munich in southern Germany fans began to stream into the city’s fan zone.
“This is a big deal for us and it is great to be in Germany for the tournament, to join with the Turkish community here. We are the second hosts,” said Erdem Sakinc, a 21-year-old student from Ankara studying in Germany.
Georgia, meanwhile, are playing in their first ever major tournament and are the clear underdogs
Georgia fan Veronika Gogokhia said, “This is a historical moment for our country and our team. This is a debut and the whole of Georgia, all Georgians all over the world are really excited,” she said.
Later on Tuesday at the stadium around 40 fans from each set of supporters were involved in brief scuffles and police moved in between them, a Reuters reporter inside the stadium said.


Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd

Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd
Updated 18 June 2024
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Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd

Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd
  • Mainoo’s breakthrough season with the Red Devils earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024
  • “Happy to be building with him, he’s already got two trophies and hopefully there is more to come,” he said

BLANKENHAIN, Germany: England midfielder Kobbie Mainoo is happy speculation about Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag’s future is over after he was given his first-team chance by the Dutchman.
Mainoo’s breakthrough season with the Red Devils, which included scoring the winning goal in a FA Cup final win over English champions Manchester City, earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024.
Despite winning a second trophy in two seasons at Old Trafford, Ten Hag’s future remained in doubt after United finished eighth in the Premier League.
However, Ten Hag confirmed on Sunday he has been told by the club he will remain in charge next season.
“Happy to be building with him, he’s already got two trophies and hopefully there is more to come,” Mainoo told reporters at England’s training camp on Tuesday.
“It’s nice to have that piece of mind. We know what manager we are going back to.
“He put so much trust in me and belief in me. I can’t thank him enough.”
Mainoo came off the bench late on in England’s 1-0 win over Serbia on Sunday to make his competitive debut for Southgate’s team.
England next face Denmark in Frankfurt on Thursday and Mainoo is looking forward to facing two of his Manchester United team-mates, Rasmus Hojlund and Christian Eriksen.
Eriksen scored in the Danes’ 1-1 draw with Slovenia in their opening game, three years on from suffering a cardiac arrest on the field during Euro 2020.
“Me and Ramsus are both young and we are quite close,” added Mainoo.
“Christian, I’ve learned a lot from him. The journey he’s been on since the last Euros has been amazing.
“If I am to play on Thursday I’ll need to put all that aside.”


FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries

FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries
Updated 18 June 2024
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FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries

FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries
  • FIFA said a number of teams competing at the ongoing European Championship and the upcoming Copa America have joined the SMPS
  • “We have already seen how effective the service has been in FIFA tournaments and it is only logical that we make it available to all 211 FIFA Member Associations,” Infantino said

GENEVA: FIFA’s social media tools designed to protect players from online abuse will now be available to all 211 member associations and their teams, world soccer’s governing body said on Tuesday, coinciding with the International Day for Countering Hate Speech.
The Social Media Protection Service (SMPS), which was developed by FIFA and the players’ union FIFPRO, was first offered to all teams at the 2023 women’s World Cup to help moderate hate speech on social media and hide harmful content.
FIFA said a number of teams competing at the ongoing European Championship and the upcoming Copa America have joined the SMPS.
“We have already seen how effective the service has been in FIFA tournaments and it is only logical that we make it available to all 211 FIFA Member Associations, wherever and whenever they play,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
“We need to protect all players, coaches, officials and teams from abuse, as well as their followers.”
The tool was launched at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and since then FIFA said the service had hidden 2.6 million abusive comments from public view.
Nearly 31,000 cases of “abusive content” were reported to social media platforms — such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube — which led to consequences such as account suspensions.
Meanwhile, one in five players were the target of online abuse during the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
FIFA said the SMPS will also be used at upcoming events such as the Olympic Games in Paris, the Under-20 women’s World Cup in Colombia, the Futsal World Cup in Uzbekistan and the Under-17 women’s World Cup in the Dominican Republic.


England fan seen waking up in empty stadium at Euro 2024

England fan seen waking up in empty stadium at Euro 2024
Updated 18 June 2024
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England fan seen waking up in empty stadium at Euro 2024

England fan seen waking up in empty stadium at Euro 2024
  • “I’ve just woken up. It’s four o’clock in the morning,” the unidentified fan says in the video

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: A worse-for-wear England fan woke up cold and confused in an empty stadium hours after the end of his team’s Euro 2024 clash with Serbia, according to a video on social media.
“I’ve just woken up. It’s four o’clock in the morning,” the unidentified fan says in the video showing rows of empty seats behind him at the stadium in Gelsenkirchen where England won 1-0 in their opening game on Sunday night.
The video, viewed hundreds of thousands of times, prompted laughter among fellow England supporters, though some questioned how security had missed the snoozing fan and also why the lights were still on in the early hours at the stadium.
“This is what happens when you watch Sleepy Southgate ball!” quipped one poster, referring to coach Gareth Southgate’s team’s less than scintillating second half performance.


Lionel Messi and Argentina will try for a 3rd straight major title in Copa America

Lionel Messi and Argentina will try for a 3rd straight major title in Copa America
Updated 18 June 2024
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Lionel Messi and Argentina will try for a 3rd straight major title in Copa America

Lionel Messi and Argentina will try for a 3rd straight major title in Copa America
  • Argentina and Uruguay are tied with 15 Copa titles each, followed by Brazil with nine
  • Spain is the only nation to win three consecutive major titles: The European Championship in 2008 and 2012 around the 2010 World Cup

NEW YORK: Lionel Messi and Argentina will try to match Spain’s feat of three consecutive major titles when the Copa America kicks off Thursday night.

Coming off championships in the 2021 Copa America and the 2022 World Cup, Messi will be four days shy of his 37th birthday when the Albiceleste take the field against Canada at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

“I want to enjoy a couple of more matches being a world champion,” Messi said after Argentina beat France on penalty kicks to win the 2022 World Cup final.

He has 10 goals in 10 international appearances since, raising his total to 108 in 182 games for Argentina’s national team. He is either tied for second with Ali Daei or one behind, depending on whether a disputed goal by the Iranian is counted, trailing only Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo at 128.

“It is not easy to compete again after winning it all,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said.

Argentina and Uruguay are tied with 15 Copa titles each, followed by Brazil with nine. No other nation has won more than two.

Brazil features an attack headed by Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo, just off a Champions League title with Real Madrid, and Raphinha. The emerging star is 17-year-old Endrick, who joins Real Madrid this summer.

“If you look at every position in their proposed starting 11, it’s probably one of the world’s best players,” US coach Gregg Berhalter said.

Spain is the only nation to win three consecutive major titles: The European Championship in 2008 and 2012 around the 2010 World Cup.

A look at the tournament:

Expanded field

There will be 16 teams, just as in 2016. The US, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica join the 10 South American nations after qualifying from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Back in the US

Ecuador was to host the tournament under the rotation of CONMEBOL, South American soccer’s governing body, but declined. The tournament was then moved to the US, which also hosted the special centennial Copa America in 2016 as Chile won on penalty kicks over Argentina at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Eleven NFL stadiums are being used, including eight of the 11 US venues for the 2026 World Cup, plus three smaller MLS homes. The final will be at Miami Gardens, Florida, on July 14, starting five hours after the European Championship final in Berlin.

CONMEBOL says more than 1 million tickets have been sold for the 32 matches. The 2016 tournament drew just under 1.5 million, and the 2019 tournament in Brazil about 850,000. The 2021 Copa was played mostly without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

US team

This will be the biggest test for the US team before the World Cup — the Americans get an automatic berth as co-host along with Mexico and Canada — and most Europe-based players are expected to skip next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie are the core of a team that returns 18 players from the 2022 World Cup roster.

“A World Cup on home soil is the biggest thing that you know we’ll probably do in our career,” Pulisic said. “It’s a special time for this sport in America.”

World Cup test?

In 2016, CONMEBOL partnered with the US Soccer Federation, which was in charge of most of the logistics. This time, CONMEBOL is co-organizing the tournament with CONCACAF, the governing body of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Unlike during the World Cup, the organizers have only short-term access to venues. At Hard Rock, a concert is scheduled for July 6, between the last group stage game and the final, and a new grass surface will be installed.

At MetLife Stadium, where a semifinal will be played July 9, staff will look at it as a preview for the World Cup final on July 19, 2026. The stadium has a camera system designed by Arecont Vision and managed by Genetec Security Center that was installed before the 2014 Super Bowl and a new system by Axis Communications is being put in place this summer in the seating bowl with 80 8K, 41-megapixel cameras.

“We can see every seat all the time. I think it serves as a good deterrent,” said Daniel DeLorenzi, vice president of security and safety services. “We have three drone detection systems. ... Not only can we track the drone, but more importantly, we can track where the operator is.”