Tag Archives: matches

MLS, NWSL to test concussion substitutes in soccer matches

Major League Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League and U.S. Soccer, are joining a trial program that will allow teams two additional substitutes for suspected concussions in each match.

The International Football Association Board, which sets the rules for the game, approved the trial for concussion substitutes last December. It is expected to run through August 2022.

U.S. Soccer is working with the top men’s and women’s leagues, as well as the United Soccer League and the National Independent Soccer Association, to implement the pilot program protocol across the sport in the United States.

“We do think it’s incredibly important for players and player safety, and it speaks to our role of being a leader in this area and prioritizing health and safety above really anything else that we do as a league,” said Jeff Agoos, vice-president of competition for MLS.

2 substitutions for suspected concussions

Starting this season, teams can make two substitutions for suspected concussions. That’s in addition to the five substitutions already allowed because of the coronavirus. Normally teams are allowed three total substitutions.

Concussion substitutions can be made even if a player has returned to the field to play. If teams sub out a player because of concussion, the opposing team gets an additional sub — addressing competitive balance concerns.

“It was critical to come together as a sport with our professional leagues and proceed in this pilot program, prioritizing the well-being of our players above all,” Dr. George Chiampas, U.S. Soccer’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “We’ve worked hard to raise awareness of head injuries in soccer over the last several years, and this change should go a long way in protecting players suspected of suffering a concussion.”

Olympics also eyeing 

The concussion rule was in force during the SheBeleives Cup in February. FIFA is considering whether it will be used at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The English Premier League has allowed use of concussion substitutes since early February. West Ham United’s Issa Diop became the first player subbed out because of a suspected concussion in an FA Cup match against Manchester United on Feb. 9.

In MLS, Agoos there will be additional resources to determine is a concussion substitute is needed.

“If a player is injured, obviously the medical staff will be called on to the field for an evaluation,” Agoos told The Associated Press. “If it’s a head injury, the venue medical director may come on and evaluate the player. In parallel, we have an independent group of people [spotters], similar to some of the other sports, that are reviewing the video of that play and then can send that video to the fourth official’s table where the venue medical director, the VMD, is located for further evaluation.”

Additionally, different cards will be used by officials during MLS matches to indicate the kind of substitution being made: White for a normal sub, pink for a concussion sub and blue for an additional sub.

MLS opens its regular season on April 16; the NWSL’s preseason Challenge Cup tournament starts Friday.

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CBC | Soccer News

Messi matches Pele goal haul, making good on header in draw with Valencia

Lionel Messi reached another personal scoring milestone in Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Valencia in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Messi’s 643rd career goal for Barcelona since his 2004 debut matched Pele’s tally for Santos accumulated from 1957-74. Messi is Barcelona’s and the Spanish league’s all-time leading scorer.

The latest setback by Barcelona left Ronald Koeman’s team in fifth place and eight points adrift of league leader Atletico Madrid, which got two goals by Luis Suarez to help beat Elche 3-1.

Messi cancelled out Mouctar Diakhaby’s opener for Valencia when he scored in first half injury time moments after Jaume Domenech saved his penalty shot. Jordi Alba recovered the rebound of Domenech’s save and crossed it to the far post where Messi headed it in.

Central defender Ronald Araujo scored his first career goal for Barcelona with an acrobatic kick to put the hosts ahead at Camp Nou in the 53rd.

But Jose Gaya set up Maxi Gomez to hit back for Valencia in the 69th and split the points.

The match featured two young Americans who started for both sides. Sergino Dest, 20, played the full match as Barcelona’s right back, while 18-year-old Yunus Musah had to be substituted in the first half after the Valencia right back appeared to injury a leg. He walked off gingerly.

Suarez strikes after recent bout with virus

Suarez’s goals were his first since he returned to action recently following his coronavirus infection.

Suarez’s double ensured Atletico bounced back from losing to Real Madrid 2-0, its first defeat in the competition since February.

The Uruguay striker’s seven goals make him joint top scorer of the league along with Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal and Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas.

Suarez isn’t the dominant scorer he was at Barcelona before changing clubs this summer, but he is still a world-class finisher when his teammates get him the ball in scoring position.

Costa makes impact in injury return

He put the hosts ahead in the 41st minute with a subtle touch to roll a long pass by Kieran Trippier past on-rushing goalkeeper Edgar Badia.

Suarez added the second in the 58th when he slid to sweep home a low ball sent to the far post by Yannick Carrasco.

Lucas Boye got one back for Elche with a header in the 64th and drew a one-handed save from Jan Oblak minutes later.

But substitute Diego Costa put the result beyond doubt when he earned and converted a penalty with 10 minutes remaining. It was Costa’s first appearance after missing seven games due to injury.

The league leaders moved three points clear of Real Sociedad and Real Madrid. Sociedad visits Levante later Saturday, while Madrid visits Eibar on Sunday.

Also later, fourth-placed Villarreal is at Osasuna, while Sevilla faces Valladolid.

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CBC | Soccer News

Impact, Toronto FC aim to bounce back in 401 Derby after disappointing 1st matches

The Montreal Impact and Toronto FC both disappointed in their opening matches at the MLS is Back Tournament.

Now they look to bounce back at the expense of the other Thursday night at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in the Orlando area.

Both teams have room for improvement.

Montreal looked disjointed in a 1-0 loss to New England last Thursday, leaving coach Thierry Henry to lament’s his team’s lack of desire on the night.

Toronto conceded two late goals in a disappointing 2-2 tie with 10-man D.C. United on Monday morning, with coach Greg Vanney ruing the late collapse from his veteran team after a commanding opening 80 minutes.

WATCH | TFC squanders strong effort in late collapse to D.C. United:

Despite playing down a man in the second half, D.C. United’s Federico Higuain scored in the 84th minute and Frederic Brillant scored in stoppage time, as D.C. salvaged a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. 2:31

With the top two teams from each of the six groups and the four best third-place finishers advancing to the knockout round of 16, both Toronto and Montreal need points.

New England, which leads Group C with three points, takes on D.C. United on Friday.

Asked where his team stands given each club in the group has played one game, Henry was brutally honest.

“Well right now, at the bottom of the group. That’s where we stand,” he told a virtual news conference Tuesday. “So we’re going to try to make sure we don’t stay there too long.”

Given the fierce rivalry between the two clubs, Henry suggested playing at a neutral site won’t dial down the occasion.

“At the end of the day it is a rivalry, whether you play it in your garden or Stade Saputo or another stadium,” he said. “That’s the one you don’t want to lose. So for me, I don’t even have to motivate the players because they already know what time it is. And I’m sure it’s the same for Toronto.”

WATCH | Impact look disjointed in loss to Revolution:

Revolution designated player Gustavo Bou scored the lone goal as New England beat the Montreal Impact 1-0 in both teams’ first game of the MLS is Back tournament. 1:17

A somewhat prickly Henry also took pains to remind reporters that his criticism of the Impact’s desire was related solely to the New England game and that he was not having a go at his players.

“I said at the end of the game that we have always been fighting. We didn’t have that on the day … it can happen. I hope it won’t happen again. But I have been in teams, for example, where we had that some games, we were missing that. I was just stating a fact — on the day.”

The Impact will have had six days to prepare. Toronto just two.

The game was originally slated for Wednesday but was pushed back a day when Toronto’s match with D.C. United was delayed 24 hours due to COVID-19 test issues.

One plus for Toronto is Thursday’s game is an 8 p.m. ET kickoff. Its last group game against New England marks a second unwelcome 9 a.m. start.

Results from the three group games count in the regular-season standings. Toronto comes into the contest at 1-0-2 while Montreal is 1-1-1.

On Monday, Vanney suggested Jozy Altidore may be available off the bench Thursday. The star striker was behind in his training after spending much of the lockdown at his Florida home, which necessitated a self-quarantine when he returned to Toronto.

Canadian midfielder Jonathan Osorio, dealing with a quad issue, may have to wait another game to see action.

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CBC | Soccer News

Superstars shine brightest in 2008, 2016 men’s soccer gold medal matches

This week, positive COVID-19 tests to soccer, tennis and hockey players have increased worries about a general return to play.

There’s still no word about whether the Olympics and Paralympics will get a definitive green light ahead of summer 2021.

The NHL, MLB and NBA continue to make noise about hub cities, summer tournaments and shortened seasons, but there have been no pucks dropped, balls tipped or pitches thrown, just yet.

All there is… is seemingly endless speculation.

WATCH | Olympic Games Replay – Olympic Soccer:

Watch action from the Olympic men’s soccer gold-medal matches in 2008 and 2016. 2:27:06
One team sport that has resumed, on the European front at least, is soccer. Leagues in Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy are underway — albeit without audiences in the stands.

It’s safe to say devout fans are desperately craving more actual sport and fewer stories about its absence.

It’s only natural.

This Saturday is the 15th of several weeks of programming at CBC Sports which will showcase some of the most memorable moments from various editions of the Olympics, both winter and summer.

Episode No. 15 of Olympic Games Replay features the gold medal men’s soccer matches from the Beijing 2008 Games as well as a triumph by the home team at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

WATCH | Argentina, Brazil respectively strike gold in 2008 and 2016:

Relive the men’s gold medal matches from 2008 with Argentina vs. Nigeria and 2016 with Brazil vs. Germany. 1:23

Soccer, or football as it’s officially known, for men has appeared at every edition of the summer Olympics — with the exception of the first modern Games in Athens, Greece in 1896 and the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932.

It was not until 1984 that professional players were allowed to compete at the Olympics, and since 1992 it has been a tournament for players under the age of 23. FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, has always been careful not to let the Olympics rival the World Cup for attention.

Galt Football Club, pictured, represented Canada at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, winning the gold medal after defeating two local American club teams by a combined total of 11-0. (GaltFC.ca)

Beginning in 1996, at the Atlanta Olympics, three players per team who were beyond the age of 23 were permitted to be added to each qualified country’s roster.

Only three times in the history of the Olympics has a Canadian men’s squad made the grade. The Canadians most recently played at Los Angeles in 1984 and finished sixth, while struggling to a 13th-place finish at the home Games of Montreal in 1976.

In 1904 at St. Louis, Canada was represented by the Galt Football Club, which won the gold medal by defeating two American club teams from the local area.

The Canadians outscored their opponents 11-0 in two matches played to capture the only Canadian gold medal in traditional team sport at a summer Olympics — with exception to two lacrosse championships in 1904 and 1908.

Argentina defends crown at Beijing Games

In Beijing at the 2008 Olympics, the first Games held in China, men’s soccer was an overwhelming success.

The tournament drew nearly a million and a half spectators to the venues over the course of play. The final between Argentina, the defending champions, and Nigeria, the 1996 gold medallist, was contested before 90,000 fans at the glorious National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest.

“Because it is age-restricted, the Olympic tournament is not generally as popular as the World Cup where the world stops to watch, but that tournament in China was something else,” said Jason de Vos, a former Canadian captain, who was the analyst for the gold medal match in 2008.

Lionel Messi, left, and Sergio Agüero pose with their gold medals after Argentina defeated Nigeria in the men’s football final at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

“It featured a who’s who of Argentinian football. It had the established big stars and the future stars. They all went on to have magnificent careers.”

Indeed, Argentina’s side featured a 21-year old Lionel Messi, as well as Sergio Agüero — who had been brilliant at the FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Canada one year earlier.

Also present were deft midfielders Javier Mascherano and Angel DiMaria on side in the 1-0 victory over the Nigerians. All of these players would go on to lead Argentina to an appearance in the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Brazil captures dramatic gold at home

In 2016, the spotlight fell on the Brazilian men’s team. Although they had captured five previous medals in Olympic play and been the runners-up at the London 2012 Olympics, the South American powerhouse had never been the gold medal champion.

Still the team roared through the tournament at the Rio Games, spurred on by delirious home crowds in love with their star player Neymar, a 24-year-old, who had put on a show at the FIFA World Cup two years prior.

“It was a storybook tournament for them and a storybook final match,” recalled de Vos, who was actually in the Rio de Janeiro airport at the time of the gold medal game between the home side and Germany.

Brazil forward Neymar converts his penalty during a shootout to defeat Germany in the men’s football gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

de Vos had been in Brazil as part of the coaching staff for the Canadian women’s team that had won bronze. Now waiting for their flight home, the Canadians watched riveted as Neymar scored in a 1-1 draw with the powerful Germans, extending the match past extra-time and into a penalty shootout.

“The whole airport stopped and watched, this was the big one for them,” de Vos described the scene as everyone zeroed in on historic Maracana Stadium and the impending drama.

As it turned out, Neymar was the last Brazilian to score in penalties and one German missed, thus the home team captured a precious Olympic gold medal for the first time — and on hallowed ground to boot.

“The whole place erupted. It was crazy. Neymar scores in the final and then completes the deal by scoring on penalties,” de Vos marvelled.

“It will always be a challenge for him to eclipse the great players who have gone before him in Brazil. Players like Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Rivaldo. But Neymar has proven both in international play and what he’s done in his club career that he is in the echelon of the greatest players in the world.”

The victory by the men’s soccer side, a sixth medal in the last nine Olympics by the footballers, was easily the most savoured moment in Brazilian Olympic history and went a long way toward adding some lustre to the Rio Games, which had been beset by a litany of controversies.

The 15th episode of Olympic Games Replay features three hours of football competition from the Beijing 2008 Games as well as the Rio 2016 Olympics. It kicks off with Argentina versus Nigeria, followed by Brazil and Germany in gold medal matches.

Looking ahead, Episode No. 16 of Olympic Games Replay airs Saturday, July 4, and will showcase “Canada’s Games,” as we relive the Olympic Games held in Montreal in 1976, Calgary in 1988 and Vancouver in 2010.

There will be a feature interview with high jumper Greg Joy, who saved the day for Canada in Montreal with a silver medal on the next to last day of the Games. We’ll speak with figure skater Elizabeth Manley, who delighted fans at the Saddledome by winning a medal that was as good as gold in Calgary. And there’ll also be a conversation with skeleton champion Jon Montgomery, who created one of the most iconic moments in Canadian sports history at the Vancouver 2010 Games.

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CBC | Sports News

England allows George Floyd justice messages by players in soccer matches

English Premier League players will be able to show solidarity with the George Floyd justice campaign during games without the prospect of facing sanctions.

The Football Association on Tuesday endorsed FIFA’s new stance that “common sense” would be applied when assessing the context of on-field messages on players’ equipment. The laws of the game prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.”

German soccer authorities said they may sanction players who used goal celebrations to highlight last week’s death in Minneapolis of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air.

But the English FA, which oversees disciplinary action for Premier League games, has given the green light for players using games to protest against social and racial inequality.

“Where any behaviours or gestures on the pitch that may constitute a breach of the laws of the game have to be assessed, they would be reviewed on a case by case basis with a common sense approach and understanding of their context,” the FA said in a statement when asked about players’ tributes to Floyd.

“The power of football can break down barriers across communities and we remain deeply committed to removing all forms of discrimination from across the game we all love.”

WATCH | German league players show support for George Floyd:

During Sunday’s Bundesliga action, Marcus Thuram takes a knee and Jadon Sancho unveils a shirt that says ‘Justice For George Floyd’. 0:40

The Premier League is due to resume on June 17.

Players from Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle have been pictured this week in training taking a knee as part of anti-racism gestures sparked by the death of Floyd.

The England team tweeted a close-up photo of Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling high-fiving alongside the message “whatever our nationality. Whatever our race. We’re all on the same team.”

An England men’s game had to be stopped twice last year in Bulgaria after players were subjected to racial abuse.

WATCH | Canadian athletes speak against racism:

Canadian athletes have been speaking out against racism and for change, including tennis youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime, basketball legend Steve Nash, and Olympians Kia Nurse, Karina LeBlanc and Perdita Felicien 2:38

The FA said it “strongly condemns discrimination of any kind and has endeavoured to ensure that football in England is both diverse and inclusive in recent years.”

England winger Jadon Sancho was booked while playing for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday for removing his jersey — a yellow-card offence — only so he could reveal a T-shirt with a Justice for George Floyd message.

Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho celebrates his goal by revealing a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ shirt during a match against Paderborn on Sunday. (Lars Baron/Getty Images)

That led to FIFA telling The Associated Press on Monday that national federations should apply “common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.”

Hungarian league reprimands player for Floyd shirt

The Hungarian soccer federation has issued a written reprimand to a player of African origin who showed his undershirt with the words Justice for George Floyd after scoring a goal.

Tokmac Nguen was born in a refugee camp in Kenya to parents from South Sudan and grew up in Norway. He scored for Ferencvaros in its 1-1 draw with Puskas Akademia on Sunday.

The federation’s disciplinary committee said in a ruling issued Monday that any similar actions by Nguen in the future would result in “actual penalties” on each occasion.

Floyd died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving. Floyd’s death has sparked days of protests across the United States.

FIFA has urged soccer competition organizers to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players demanding justice for Floyd during matches.

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CBC | Soccer News

The AMD Ryzen 7 4800U’s Onboard GPU Nearly Matches the GeForce MX250

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Early benchmarks of the Ryzen 7 4800U’s integrated graphics solution suggest that the 15W APU can nearly keep pace with an Intel system equipped with a GeForce MX250. While the MX250 is a modest performance target, it’s still impressive to see AMD fielding this kind of horsepower in a 15W TDP bracket.

This information comes from a Sina Weibo user who compared an engineering prototype of the 4800U with a handful of Lenovo Xiaoxin laptops. Given that the 4800U system is a prototype, performance could be different in the final shipping version.

AMD’s breakdown of which areas of improvement contributed the most to Vega’s uplift.

The early data, however, suggests that the 4800U will perform well, nearly matching a low-end discrete card from Nvidia when paired with Core i5-10210U (4C/8T, 1.6GHz base, 4.2GHz boost).

Exact data isn’t provided for League of Legends, hence the “>90,” and the Intel Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7 apparently couldn’t run Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but the other results show the 4800U against the MX250 and the 4600U. The Comet Lake CPU used DDR4-2666 modules, while Ice Lake and AMD’s Ryzen Mobile 4000 CPUs both used DDR4-3200.

The MX250 that AMD nearly catches is a Pascal-era GPU in a 384:24:16 configuration. Nvidia is reportedly prepping MX330 and MX350 refreshes to this GPU family that would substantially increase overall performance and re-create a meaningful performance gap between an iGPU-based AMD APU and a system with a discrete Nvidia GPU, even at the low end. This is all to the good — boosting the performance of integrated graphics should spur AMD, Nvidia, and Intel to continually improve their entry-level discrete products. What I find noteworthy is the way integrated graphics have continued to improve over time.

One of the slow-moving but significant changes in the last decade has been the tremendous improvement in low-power CPU and GPU performance. Generally speaking, both AMD and Intel have improved their performance more in the lowest TDP bands (15W, 35W) than they have at the highest desktop TDPs. While there are still major advantages to using a discrete GPU in a laptop or desktop, AMD’s integrated solutions are faster and can play a wider range of titles today than the equivalent products of 5-7 years ago. Top-end gaming will always be difficult for entry-level parts, but it’s much easier to find games to play today than it once was.

The Ryzen Mobile 4000 family is shaping up as formidable competition for Intel, and it could find a home with OEMs looking to nearly match the MX250’s performance in a single-chip solution. Nvidia will ship faster dGPUs, of course, but AMD may still have a larger addressable market thanks to the strength of its new iGPU. Vega looks to have some life left in it after all.

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Serie A plays on despite calls from Italian government officials to suspend matches

Serie A played on Sunday despite calls from Italy’s sports minister and players’ association president to suspend the games in Italy’s top soccer division.

Parma-Spal, the first match of the day, kicked off after a 75-minute delay inside an empty stadium as officials considered an appeal from sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora minutes before the scheduled start.

Spadafora said he supported a call from Italian soccer players’ association president Damiano Tommasi to avoid putting players at risk amid the virus outbreak.

“It doesn’t make sense right now, when we’re requesting enormous sacrifices of our citizens in order to stop the spread of contagion, to put at risk the health of the players, referees, coaches and fans — who will surely get together to watch the games, just not to temporarily suspend soccer and damage all the interests that surround the game.” Spadafora said. 

You can’t joke around with your health.– Mario Balotelli, Brescia striker

“I think [soccer federation president Gabriele] Gravina should have some additional consideration without waiting for the first case of contagion, before assuming this serious responsibility,” Spadafora added.

The players’ association was considering a strike, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

WATCH | Derby d’Italia plays out in empty stadium:

Juventus beat Inter Milan 2-0 in an empty stadium after the Italian Government decided all sporting events were to be played without spectators due to the coronavirus. 1:19

Striker Mario Balotelli, who plays for Brescia in the Lombardy region hit hardest by the virus, questioned why the games were being played in an Instagram story.

“Playing means travelling by bus, train, airplane, sleeping in hotels, coming into contact with other people outside your club,” Balotelli wrote. “You can’t joke around with your health.”

Five Serie A matches were scheduled for Sunday, beginning with Parma vs. Spal at 12:30 local time (7:30 ET) and concluding with Juventus vs. Inter Milan at 8:45 p.m. (1:45 ET). All of the matches had already been postponed from last weekend.

An appeal by Spadafora for this weekend’s games to be shown on free TV “considering the serious inconvenience affecting the population in this difficult time” was rejected by the league.

Parma and Spal players were ready to come onto the field at Ennio Tardini stadium in Parma when they received the news of Spadafora’s call for a suspension. The players then turned around and returned to their changing rooms.

Substitutes, who were already on the bench, also got up and rejoined their teammates in the changing rooms.

Then 45 minutes later, the players came back out to warm up again and the match began at 1:45 p.m. (1245 GMT). Relegation-threatened Spal won 1-0.

Sweeping quarantine

Workers inside the stadium wore masks over their faces, while streaming service DAZN showed the game with commentary from announcers based inside a Milan studio.

Italy announced a sweeping quarantine early Sunday for its northern regions, igniting travel chaos as it restricted the movements of a quarter of its population in a bid to halt the new coronavirus’ relentless march across Europe.

Shortly after midnight, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree affecting 16 million people in the country’s prosperous north, including the Lombardy region and at least 14 provinces in neighbouring regions. The extraordinary measures will be in place until April 3.

Italy on Saturday reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since its outbreak began on Feb. 21. The number of infected people rose 1,247 in the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 5,883. Italy’s death toll rose to 233.

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CBC | Soccer News

Canada matches best Davis Cup result with win over Australia in quarter-finals

Canada has advanced to the semifinals at the Davis Cup Finals.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver beat Australia’s John Peers and Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-4 in the winner-take-all doubles match on Thursday.

Canada won the best-of-three tie 2-1 and will face Serbia or Russia in the semifinals on Saturday.

Pospisil, ranked 150th in the world in singles after missing the first half of 2019 following off-season back surgery, is now 4-1 at the Finals.

Shapovalov missed a chance to clinch the tie for Canada, losing 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to Alex de Minaur of Australia in the second singles match.

Earlier, Pospisil beat John Millman 7-6 (7), 6-4.

The quarter-final win guarantees Canada will be in the 2020 Finals. The four semifinalists do not have to go through qualifying.

Shapovalov’s loss was Canada’s first in six singles matches at the event. De Minaur, 3-0 in singles at the tournament, broke Shapovalov to take a 6-5 lead in the third set and finished off the Canadian on his second match point.

The contest featured two 20-year-olds ranked in the top 20 — Shapovalov is 15th, while de Minaur is 18th.

Pospisil, meanwhile, recorded his third major upset at the Finals. He has beaten No. 12 Fabio Fognini of Italy, No. 36 Reilly Opelka of the United States and No. 48 Millman this week.

Pospisil, 29, fought off two set points in the opening tiebreak before taking it. He is now 4-0 in tiebreaks this week.

The Canadian broke Millman in the final game to win the match.

Pospisil won 85 per cent of his points when he got his first serve in and had the 15-1 edge in aces.

Pospisil was a late addition to Canada’s starting lineup for its opening tie against Italy with Felix Auger-Aliassime making his way back from an ankle injury.

While Canada has said Auger-Aliassime could play, team captain Frank Dancevic elected to ride the hot hand in Pospisil against Australia.

The Aussies elected to rest No. 30 Nick Kyrgios.

Pospisil has been the surprise star of the event, building momentum off some solid results on tour in recent months.

A former world No. 4 in doubles and No. 25 in singles, Pospisil beat then-No. 9 Karen Khachanov at the U.S. Open this year and reached the round of 16 at the Shanghai Masters. Pospisil, from Vancouver, also won two lower-level Challenger tournaments this fall.

Milos Raonic, the world No. 31 from Thornhill, Ont., did not make the trip due to a back injury.

The Davis Cup was first played in 1900 and Canada made its first appearance in 1913. Canada reached the World Group semifinals in 2013.

The competition is using a new format this year with the six group winners and the next two best teams advancing to the quarter-finals. The final is set for Sunday.

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Simone Biles matches all-time medals mark with another gold at gymnastics worlds

Simone Biles won the women’s vault competition at the gymnastics world championships on Saturday to tie the record for most world medals by any gymnast, but couldn’t add another in the uneven bars.

Biles successfully defended her vault title on Saturday by sticking the landing on her two vaults, a Cheng and an Amanar, for a score of 15.399. Biles’ U.S. teammate Jade Carey took the silver on 14.883, with Ellie Downie of Britain third on 14.816.

WATCH | Biles ties all-time medals record:

American Simone Biles bounced her way to another medal, this one a gold in the vault at the 2019 artistic gymnastics world championships. It was the 23rd medal of her career, tying the all-time record. 1:00

That took Biles to 23 career world championship medals, equalling the mark set by Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo for any gymnast, male or female.

Canada’s Shallon Olsen was fourth with 14.733 points.

Olsen, who took home a silver medal from the vault finals at the 2018 World Championships, scored a 14.600 on her first run and 14.866 on her second run.

“Today went really good. I had a few little mistakes, but I’m just going to work harder for next time,” Olsen said. “It was a great opportunity to compete with the best in the world, and it was a huge blessing to compete for Canada with my teammates supporting me.”

WATCH | Olsen just misses podium:

Olsen scored a 14.600 on her first run and 14.866 on her second run but just missed the bronze medal.   3:30

The 22-year-old American had the chance to make it 24 in the uneven bars, but couldn’t repeat her silver-medal performance from last year and finished fifth.

Belgian uneven bars specialist Nina Derwael retained her world title with a score of 15.233, ahead of Britain’s Becky Downie on 15, one of two sisters to win medals Saturday. Sunisa Lee took bronze for the U.S. on 14.8.

Scherbo’s advantage

Biles scored 14.7, finishing by sticking the landing on a dismount with two flips and two twists. The uneven bars has traditionally been her weakest event and was the only one in which she didn’t win a medal at the 2016 Olympics.

Of Biles’ 23 world championship medals, 17 are gold against 11 for Scherbo, who won his from 1991 through 1996. Scherbo competed at four world championships, against Biles’ five, but the men’s program contains more events.

Biles came into the world championships tied as women’s record-holder on 20 with Svetlana Khorkina, but broke the tie with team gold Tuesday before winning her fifth individual all-around gold two days later.

A year after becoming the Philippines’ first gymnast to win a medal, Carlos Yulo became his country’s first world champion with victory in the men’s floor exercise.

Whitlock wins 3rd pommel horse

Last year’s bronze medallist, Yulo performed the most difficult routine of any of the eight finalists to score 15.3 and beat Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat by one-tenth of a point. Xiao Ruoteng of China took bronze with 14.933.

Yulo said he hoped his win would improve the popularity of gymnastics in the Philippines.

“Filipinos, they like basketball, but we’re small. Maybe they should try gymnastics first. It’s more fun,” said Yulo, who trains in Japan.

Britain’s Olympic champion Max Whitlock won his third world title in pommel horse, scoring 15.5 with a near-flawless routine.

Lee Chih-Kai took silver for Taiwan on 15.433, while Rhys McClenaghan won the bronze on 15.4 as the first Irish gymnast ever to compete in a world championship final.

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Bianca Andreescu runs unbeaten streak to 16 matches, advances to round of 16

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has not tasted defeat in a long time.

The world No. 6 beat Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 7-6 (5) today in a second-round match at the China Open in Beijing, running her unbeaten streak to 16 matches.

“Today was more of a battle mentally with myself than anything,” said the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. “I felt like I was getting very down on myself. I expect a lot from myself in general, but I have to realize not everything is going to go the way I want it to.”

Andreescu fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set and then fended off a set point to beat Mertens in a rematch of a U.S. Open quarter-final. The Canadian also won in New York last month en route to her first career Grand Slam title.

“I can improve on a lot of things, but I think the main thing right now is definitely keeping a more positive approach to things,” Andreescu said. “Even if there are 100 positives in something, if there is one negative thing that happens, that triggers something in me and I then I totally forget about all the positives.

“I just want to think of the positive as much as I can and just work with what I have.”

There was some confusion about how many matches Andreescu had won in a row prior to Wednesday.

The WTA Tour clarified afterward her win streak stands at 16 matches because a walkover win for Sofia Kenin in the second round at the French Open does not count as a defeat for Andreescu.

Therefore, her last official defeat was in late March when she retired in the round of 16 at the Miami Open while trailing 6-1, 2-0 against Anett Kontaveit.

Jennifer Brady next for Andreescu

Andreescu will face world No. 66 Jennifer Brady of the U.S. on Thursday in the round of 16 at the $ 8.285 million US WTA Tour Premier-Mandatory event.

Andreescu has won three of four matches against Brady, all played at smaller tournaments.

“I’m not expecting anything easy because every time I did play her, it was a tough battle,” Andreescu said.

Andreescu said she also needs to improve on her serve. She had seven double faults against Mertens and put just 53 per cent of her first serves in.

The Canadian saved eight of 12 break-point chances for Mertens to limit the problems caused by her serve. Andreescu also converted on five of her six break-point opportunities.

In women’s doubles on Wednesday, the fourth-seeded team of Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and Yifan Xu of China lost 7-5, 6-3 to Czech twin sisters Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova.

On the men’s side, Andy Murray won consecutive singles matches for the first time since undergoing hip surgery in January.

The 32-year-old Murray beat British countryman Cameron Norrie 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-1 to make the singles quarterfinals at a tournament for the first time in 12 months.

Murray will face either top-seeded Dominic Thiem or Chinese wild-card entry Zhang Zhizhen on Friday.

Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime will face No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany in a third-round match on Thursday.

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