- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 1, 2015


ZURICH (AP) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter will not be traveling to Canada for Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final, FIFA said, as criminal investigations into soccer’s governing body continue in the United States and Switzerland.

Secretary general Jerome Valcke will also be absent from the biggest event in women’s soccer.

FIFA said in a statement that “due to their current commitments in Zurich, the FIFA President and the FIFA Secretary General will remain at the FIFA Headquarters.”

Traveling to Canada would have taken Blatter to the doorstep of the United States, where he is a target of one of the investigations into soccer corruption. There have been no charges or accusations against Blatter - unlike two of his vice presidents, who remain in custody in Switzerland.

CONCEPCION, Chile (AP) - Lionel Messi helped set up five goals as Argentina trounced Paraguay 6-1 in the Copa America semifinals, setting up a final against host Chile.

Messi assisted in first-half goals by Marcos Rojo and Javier Pastore and one of Angel Di Maria’s second-half goals. The Barcelona star also helped set up the final two goals by Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

Striker Lucas Barrios scored the lone goal for Paraguay, which was trying to reach its second straight final in the South American tournament.

Boosted by the home crowd and its best generation of players in years, Chile will be trying to win its first Copa America on Saturday, while Argentina will be attempting to end a 22-year title drought to give Messi his first triumph with the national team.

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - The movie “Bend It Like Beckham” first got Kiera Burke interested in soccer. During the 2012 Olympics, she went to Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium to watch the women’s teams from United States and Canada play a thrilling semifinal.

Now the 13-year-old is among millions of Britons - including Prince William, David Beckham and “Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson - on a growing bandwagon following the English women’s team’s unprecedented progress in the Women’s World Cup.

Kiera, who plays for an under-15 team in the northern English city of Chester, has been given a pass by her dad to stay up until the early hours of Thursday to see if the Lionesses can beat Japan and reach the final. In a summer without an Olympic Games, a men’s World Cup or a European soccer championships, England’s women soccer players have seized the nation’s attention, putting their underperforming male counterparts to shame.


PARIS (AP) - Slowed by an injured left leg, Usain Bolt withdrew from this month’s Diamond League meetings in Paris and Lausanne, dealing a blow to his title defense preparations for the world championships in August.

“I’m disappointed not to be able to compete in Paris and Lausanne,” Bolt said in a statement on his website. “I love running at these meetings but at the moment I am unable to compete at 100 percent. I look forward to getting back into full training as soon as possible.”

The statement said the 28-year-old “has been feeling discomfort in his left leg since his last competition which has restricted his training.”

Bolt’s last race was a 200 meters in New York on June 13 that he described as “really bad.” His time of 20.29 was more than a second off his world record of 19.19. He said then that he felt good physically and was bewildered why he ran what he called “probably one of the worst turns I’ve ever had in my entire life.”

Bolt also was a no-show at the Jamaica trials last week where he had been expected to sharpen his sprinting form against the likes of Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake.


CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - No doubt someone will suggest they call him Ice. Or maybe Stick. Or Zamboni.

Olympic hockey gold medalist Meaghan Mikkelson and her husband are prepared for all sorts of possibilities as they turn to Twitter to help name their baby boy.

Mikkelson, a two-time gold medalist with Canada’s women’s hockey team, and husband Scott Reid are expecting in September.

They’re asking people to send baby names to Mikkelson’s Twitter address, @Mikkelson12, with the hashtag namemybaby.

The couple will pick their eight favorite suggestions July 6 and then ask social media to vote on those names. They’ll choose their son’s name from the two that receive the most votes.


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Auburn and Oregon will open the 2019 season at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, nine seasons after meeting in the BCS national championship game.

The matchup on Aug. 31, 2019, was announced Tuesday. It is part of a series of Labor Day weekend season openers at the home of the NFL’s Cowboys.

Auburn beat Oregon 22-19 in the BCS title game in Glendale, Arizona, to end the 2010 season. Oregon lost to Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff title game last January at AT&T; Stadium, where the Ducks also dropped their 2011 opener to LSU.

Alabama plays this year’s opener against Wisconsin, and takes on Southern California there in 2016. Florida meets Michigan in the 2017 opener, and LSU plays Miami in 2018.


ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) - Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen made birdie on the first playoff hole to qualify for the British Open.

Goosen shot 67-72 at Woburn to get into a three-for-one playoff for the final spot. Paul Dunne of Ireland was medalist at Woburn for the second straight year. He was joined by Robert Dinwiddie of England, who finally made it after 16 tries.

Qualifying was held at four courses in Britain, each offering three spots.

Goosen tied for fourth in the BMW International Open in Germany on Sunday and had only four hours’ sleep before the 36-hole qualifier.

Colin Montgomerie had it tougher. He was runner-up at the U.S. Senior Open in California on Sunday, flew to England and missed out on the Woburn playoff by four shots.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An Albuquerque hit-and-run case against former UFC champion fighter Jon “Bones” Jones has stalled due to a delay in obtaining records, prosecutors said.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office said Monday a deadline had passed without the state moving forward because prosecutors are still waiting on dispatch reports and medical records for a pregnant women involved in the crash.

The state had 60 days after the release of Jones to present a case to the court, District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Kayla Anderson said. Without the evidence in the records, she said, a judge could dismiss the case.

Anderson, however, said prosecutors anticipate moving forward when they have a completed case investigation.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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