Tag Archives: survives

Orlando City survives bizarre shootout as defender takes gloves to seal wild finish

Benji Michel’s goal in a second penalty shootout and a late save by a reserve defender summoned to play goalie helped send Orlando City into the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals with a wild 1-1 (6-5) victory over NYCFC on Saturday.

No. 4 seed Orlando next plays Nov. 29 against top-seeded Philadelphia or No. 8 New England.

Orlando thought it had won at the end of the first penalty shootout when goalkeeper Pedro Gallese turned away NYCFC’s fifth penalty kick. But during the team’s brief celebration, officials ruled Gallese left his line early, drawing his second yellow card. Gallese then drew a red card when he disputed the call.

Referees concluded Orlando backup goalie Brian Rowe was ineligible, which forced it to bring in reserve centre back Rodrigo Schlegel in net. Orlando briefly lost track of the penalty kick count and thought it had won after Schlegel turned away NYCFC and started celebrating. Michel then came on to end it.

VIDEO: Unlikely hero Rodrigo Schlegel secures Orlando’s 1st playoff win:

After Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was awarded a red card during a penalty shootout, reserve centre back Rodrigo Schlegel replaced him and stopped Gudmundur Thorarinsson, leading to Benji Michel’s game-winner. 3:50

Orlando scored in the fifth minute on a penalty kick from Nani, the result of a hand ball in the penalty area against NYCFC’s Anton Tinnerholm.

Three minutes later, Maxime Chanot tied it on a header off a corner kick from Jesus Medina.

Gallese helped keep it even in the first half with four saves. At the 43rd minute, Gallese stretched for saves to deny Valentin Castellanos and Keaton Parks seconds apart.

Crew set up possible clash with TFC

Pedros Santos, Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes scored and the Columbus Crew beat the New York Red Bulls 3-2 on Saturday to advance to the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals.

Third-seeded Columbus will play Nov. 29 against the winner of the Tuesday night match between second-seeded Toronto FC and No. 7 Nashville.

Seventeen-year-old Caden Clark gave the Red Bulls the lead in the 23rd minute. Santos tied it on a penalty kick in the 26th, Nagbe put the Crew ahead in the 46th and Zardes made it 3-1 in the 68th.

Brian White scored for New York in the 90th.


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Alive but not the same: B.C. woman survives overdose but left with brain damage

It was around 10:30 p.m. and Liana Wright was settling into bed in her Pitt Meadows, B.C. home when her two dogs began frantically barking downstairs. She asked her husband to investigate.

Minutes later, he started screaming her name and when she reached him, Liana saw her adult daughter, Amanda Wright, crumpled and unresponsive on the kitchen floor.

Liana, a coroner and former emergency room nurse, sprang into action, starting CPR. She knew exactly what was happening. She’d been to many homes where someone had died of a drug overdose and her daughter’s purple face, pinpoint pupils, and lack of pulse were all telltale signs.

She had also witnessed what drugs had already done to Amanda, who had been using since breaking her vertebrae in a car accident when she was 19. She got addicted to the oxycontin she was prescribed for the pain, eventually turning to street oxys and then fentanyl.

The night of her overdose, Amanda got a flap of fentanyl from a dealer who came to the family house. She snorted it in the bathroom.

Amanda, 29, didn’t die that September night in 2017, but her mother estimates it was about 10 minutes before she took her first breath. She now she lives with permanent brain damage, and suffers from memory loss and struggles with day-to-day tasks.

It is unlikely she will ever be able to live independently or hold down a job.

“She’s Amanda with the dimmer switch turned down a bit,” said Liana.


Liana Wright was alerted that something was wrong the night her daughter overdosed on fentanyl because her two dogs started barking with an urgency she says she had never heard before. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The forgotten victims

Amanda is one of the casualties of the opioid crisis the country has no statistics on; the people who did not die from an overdose but suffer permanent brain damage.

More than 4,500 people have fatally overdosed in B.C. since the opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency in 2016, but there is no comprehensive data on the victims living with chronic brain injuries, ranging from mild damage to requiring around-the-clock care.

And that care can be costly.

Dr. Keith Ahamad, addictions specialist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, estimates it would be more cost effective to prevent overdoses by providing users with a safe drug supply, rather than care for people with overdose-induced brain injury victims long-term. He would like to see politicians put more resources into prevention. 

“It’s quite shocking we are three-and-a-half years into an overdose public health emergency and our elected officials in charge of our health and well-being have not made a move to regulate the drug supply,” Ahamad said.


Dr. Keith Ahamad, back left, an addiction medicine physician at St. Paul’s Hospital and a researcher at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, says preventing overdoses by creating a safe supply will cost less than caring for the people who suffer brain damage from an overdose. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Overdose aftermath

The weeks after Amanda’s overdose were dark times for the Wright family.

Amanda was alive, but she was not the same. She couldn’t remember how to brush her teeth or take a shower, and she stared blankly at her mom when asked basic questions.

“Are you having trouble coming up with an answer?” Liana Wright would ask after prolonged pauses. All her daughter could do was nod her head back at her.

Liana paid for private out-patient care at The Watson Centre for Brain Health in Burnaby, B.C. because of long wait lists for brain recovery programs at public hospitals and clinics. It cost $ 1,600 per month to keep Amanda in the program, which focuses on cognitive, physical and emotional healing. 


Amanda Wright has finger tattoos that read ‘LIVE FAST’. Her mother says her personality has been altered since her overdose two years ago. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Amanda spent six months participating in exercise, meditation, and counselling and re-learning basic writing and computer skills at the Watson Centre. After six weeks, she was able to converse with her mom again.

Two years later, Amanda has not regained the gregarious personality that her mother remembers. Liana has renovated a room in her home with the expectation her daughter will live with her forever.

The never-recovered

Psychiatric nurse Malcolm Jenkins manages the neuropsychiatry unit at St. Vincent’s Langara, a complex care facility in Vancouver where he works with people suffering severe brain damage due to an overdose. 

“Some of our folks require up to five people to assist with care because they’re so compromised,” said Jenkins.

Providence Health estimates it costs at least $ 2,000 a day per person to deliver that level of care. Many of the patients are under 50 and will need permanent care for the rest of their lives.


Psychiatric nurse Malcolm Jenkins says there are limited options for many clients in the neuropsychiatry unit at St. Vincent’s Langara who will require extensive care for the rest of their lives. (Jodie Martinson/CBC News)

Ahamad, who is also a clinical researcher at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, said people who have drug-induced brain damage can struggle with increased impulsivity and judgment, which also makes it harder for them to recover from their addiction.

He said the cost of care in the unit Jenkins works in will pale in comparison to future expenses governments are facing associated with drug-induced brain damage due to the current opioid crisis.

“Those costs are a fraction of the criminal justice and health costs we’re going to see in this tsunami coming at us with these more mildly brain injured people that can’t fit into society,” said Ahamad.

To hear the short radio documentary with Amanda and Liana Wright produced by Jodie Martinson for CBC’s The Early Edition, click on the audio link below:

Story producer Jodie Martinson speaks with Liana Wright about what her daughter, Amanda, went through and how its impacted her family in the aftermath. 8:28

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Manchester City survives scare to clinch 2nd straight Premier League title

Manchester City retained the Premier League trophy after coming from behind to beat Brighton 4-1 and see off Liverpool’s relentless challenge on the final day of the season on Sunday.

The quality and intensity of the title race was emphasized by City requiring a 14th successive league victory to finish a point above a Liverpool side chasing a first championship crown in 29 years as the top two finished with a record 195 points combined.

“Liverpool was exceptional, I don’t mean to rub it in, it is what it is, they didn’t deserve to lose,” City captain Vincent Kompany said. “It makes me so much more happy that we played such a great team all season.”

But during a 21-minute wobble in the first half City looked like throwing away a fourth title in eight seasons.

Sadio Mane put Liverpool in front against Wolverhampton in the 17th minute and a jittery City fell behind 10 minutes later at Brighton.

“We heard the Brighton fans singing `1-0 to Liverpool’ just at the moment we conceded,” Kompany said.

Even when Sergio Aguero leveled 83 seconds after Glenn Murray’s header, City only moved back into top spot when Aymeric Laporte nodded in from Riyad Mahrez’s corner in the 38th minute.

It turned out to be the goal that clinched the title.

Stylish conclusion

But there were still nerves to be eased in the second half. Mahrez netted in the 63rd minute, a rare high point in his first season after joining City in a record 60 million pound (then $ 80 million) signing in July.

There was a stylish conclusion to City’s title defense when Ilkay Gundogan scored directly from a free kick in the 72nd minute for the team’s 95th goal in 38 league matches.

“We were creating chances, finding the gaps, imposing ourselves,” Kompany said. “Though the pitch was slow I felt we were magnificent. We did everything we needed to do in a game such as today.”

City became the first team since Manchester United in the 2007-08 season to retain the trophy, part of a hat trick of successes for Alex Ferguson’s team.

With Ferguson long retired and United in freefall, City is the force not only in Manchester but English football. City has won the Premier League four times since the influx of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth following a 2008 takeover, having only won the title twice before that.

Guardiola has now won eight league titles in his 10 seasons as a coach, stretching back to his debut campaign at Barcelona when he won a treble in 2009 and featuring successes at Bayern Munich.

City remains on course for an English treble, having already collected a League Cup and preparing for the FA Cup final against Watford on Saturday.

“We’ll go and celebrate but we’re also thinking of that next game on Saturday,” Kompany said.

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U.K.'s Theresa May survives confidence vote sparked by Brexit deal defeat

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's government won a confidence vote in Parliament on Wednesday, clearing the way for her to attempt to forge a consensus among lawmakers on a Brexit divorce agreement.

Lawmakers voted 325 to 306 that they have confidence in May's government, just 24 hours after they handed her Brexit deal a crushing defeat that left Britain's exit from the European Union in disarray 10 weeks before it is due to leave.

With the clock ticking down to March 29, the date set in law for Brexit, the U.K. is now in the deepest political crisis in half a century as it grapples with how, or even whether, to exit the European project it joined in 1973.

But with MPs deadlocked on the way forward, the U.K. could face a disorderly "no-deal" Brexit, a delay to Brexit, or even another referendum on membership.

"Now MPs have made clear what they don't want, we must all work constructively together to set out what parliament does want," May said in a statement outside her Downing Street office.

"That's why I am inviting MPs from all parties to come together to find a way forward."

After the confidence vote, May met several party leaders, but the main opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, refused to hold talks unless a no-deal Brexit was ruled out.

Watch: U.K. future uncertain as Brexit deadline looms

Emotions are running high across the U.K. following a historic vote in Parliament to reject Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal. But with or without a plan, Brexit is still on track to commence on March 29. So the question that comes to mind, what now? 2:34

The votes on Tuesday and Wednesday brought into sharp relief the problem May faces. She is trying to win over pro-EU supporters in her own party and others without alienating those who keep her in power — for instance, by giving up the "no-deal Brexit" that they see as a crucial bargaining chip.

Hardline Conservative Brexit supporters, who last month made an unsuccessful attempt to oust her as leader, and the Northern Irish party that props up her minority government will not countenance a deal that keeps close ties with the EU.

"The confidence and supply arrangement [to support May] of course is built upon delivering Brexit on the basis of our shared priorities," said Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

New deal?

However, Corbyn said no positive talks were possible unless a no-deal Brexit was taken off the table. His party wants a permanent customs union with the EU, a close relationship with its single market and greater protections for workers and consumers.

May's spokesperson said she was not ruling out a no-deal option and that it was government policy to be outside an EU customs union. Critics said this meant May was not budging from the deal that had alienated all sides in parliament.

Other opposition parties wrote to Corbyn after the confidence vote to demand he now back a second referendum, which Labour has agreed should be considered if it cannot force an election.

A protester holds a banner in London on Wednesday. (Frank Augstein/Associated Press)

However, he and other senior political figures fear that stopping Brexit could alienate the 17.4 million people who voted to leave.

Sterling jumped by more than a cent against the U.S. dollar on news of May's Brexit deal defeat on Tuesday and was holding close to that level on Wednesday. Many investors see the prospect of a no-deal exit receding as Parliament hardens its stance against it.

Companies warned of catastrophic job losses and chaos at ports without a deal. Trade with the EU would then default to basic World Trade Organization rules, which many argue would disrupt innumerable manufacturing supply chains relying on rapid, friction-free trade.

Ever since Britain voted by 52-48 per cent to leave the EU in June 2016, the political class has been debating how to leave the European project forged by France and Germany after the devastation of World War Two.

'The time for playing games is now over'

Tuesday's crushing defeat appears to have killed off May's two-year strategy of forging an amicable divorce in which a status-quo transition period would be followed by Britain operating an independent trade policy alongside close ties to the EU, the world's biggest single market.

Other members of the EU, which combined has about six times Britain's economic might, called for discussion but indicated there was little chance of fundamental change to the deal May had negotiated.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that "the time for playing games is now over."

For the EU, already reeling from successive crises over debt and refugees, Brexit is possibly the biggest blow in its 60-year history, though its 27 other members have shown remarkable unity over Britain's exit.

Brexit supporters anticipate some short-term economic pain but say Britain will then thrive if cut loose from what they cast as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity.

Opponents of Brexit say it is folly that will weaken the West, make Britain poorer and torpedo what remains of its post-imperial clout.

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Girl, 2, survives 'drastic' surgery to reconstruct her skull

When a two-year-old girl arrived in Quebec with a skull nearly the size of a basketball, doctors knew they had a rare case on their hands.

Doctors don't often see such extreme cases of hydrocephalus in North America, where health practitioners typically intervene earlier. 

In the case of this little girl, so much fluid had accumulated in her brain that it had forced her cranium to become deformed and grow abnormally large. Her head was so heavy that she was unable to lift it on her own. There was a risk of her neck snapping under the weight. And there was pressure building up in her cranium.

Using a 3D-printed model, some 210 screws and a black pen, surgeons undertook a risky 12-hour operation to reduce the size of the toddler's skull and allow her brain to grow.

The child, whom CBC News has agreed not to name to protect the family's privacy, was born in a country in North Africa and arrived in Quebec last year.

The damage to her brain is certainly major.– Dr. Alexander  Weil , pediatric neurosurgeon

Montreal surgeons examined her and discovered her cranium was filled with about three litres of fluid (roughly 20 times the amount in a healthy adult) and had grown to 71 centimetres in circumference.

Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Alexander Weil placed an internal shunt in her brain to help drain the excess fluid. 

But the effect was minimal.

"It was like sticking a straw in a pool," said Weil, of Montreal's Sainte-Justine Hospital. 

The surgery at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal lasted 12 hours. (Radio-Canada)

In addition to her physical limitations, the two-year-old had developmental delays because her brain had atrophied under the pressure of the excess liquid, to the point its volume was 80 per cent less than a normal one for her age.

"The damage to her brain is certainly major," Weil said.

While no surgery would be able to fully restore the child's neurological functions, Weil was sure he could give her a better life.

But it would take what he called a "drastic procedure" to reduce the size of her skull.

The plan was to take apart her skull and then piece it back together — like a puzzle — to make it smaller.

CBC/Radio-Canada's French-language TV program Découverte had exclusive access to the operating room during the procedure.

No guarantees 

Weil teamed up with plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Borsuk, as well as engineers in a lab in Michigan, to prepare for the challenging procedure.

Before entering the operating room, the team created a 3D virtual mock-up of how the skull could be reconstructed.

"We took the skull of the patient, we put it in [virtual ] pieces, and we found the best way to reduce the volume and the shape of the skull using those pieces," Borsuk explained.

The Quebec surgeons teamed up with engineers in Michigan, who helped them prepare a virtual mock-up of the skull reconstruction. (Radio-Canada)

The surgeons' plan was to reduce the size of the girl's cranium by 60 per cent.

"It would be impossible to make the shape of the skull normal. That's not our goal. Our goal is to give this child the best chance at having as normal a life as possible," Weil said.

"Will the operation guarantee that? Definitely not. But it will definitely increase her chances."

No room for error 

On November 5 at 11:05 a.m. Borsuk prepared for the first incision. Despite all the preparations, there were still plenty of risks.

The first step was to make an incision from one ear to the other, to expose the skull.

This cutting guide — which looks like a plastic helmet — was created on a computer and printed in 3D to help the surgeons in the risky procedure. (Radio-Canada)

When they cut through the child's skull, the surgeons had to be careful to not hit blood vessels directly beneath. Any obstruction or damage to the brain's superior sagittal sinus — which allows the brain's hemispheres to drain — could cause cerebral hemorrhaging.

Once the skin was removed and the skull exposed, something that looked like a plastic helmet was brought over to the operating table.

It was the key to the entire procedure — a cutting guide, created on a computer several weeks earlier by the American engineers, and printed in 3D.

The surgeons used the guide and a black pen to trace the path they would cut, dividing the top half of child's skull into 12 pieces. As each piece was cut, it was placed on an adjacent table, where all 12 pieces would later be reassembled into a new, smaller skull.

After several hours, the girl's brain was fully exposed.

That's when the riskiest part of the procedure began: draining the fluid.

Weil removed the liquid slowly, at a speed of about 10 millilitres per minute, or about half a litre per hour. Moving any faster would have posed unnecessary risk.

The two-year-old recovers in intensive care after doctors took apart and reconstructed her skull. With her are surgeons Dr. Daniel Borsuk, left, and Dr. Alexander Weil, right. (Radio-Canada)

Weil said he was able to remove about half of the liquid that had accumulated, about one and a half litres.

"For us, the worry is that if we take away too much liquid all at once, it will greatly increase the complications and risk of complications," he said.

The final step was to place the reconstructed skull back on the girl's brain. To fix it in place, the team used 210 screws, which will degrade in the span of a year and be absorbed by the body.

The operation lasted 12 hours, and the child was taken to intensive care to recover.

Two weeks later, an MRI confirmed the surgery was a success: her brain had nearly doubled in volume.

Now that the girl's brain was unburdened from the excess fluid, her surgeons have hope the child's neural networks will reorganize themselves, and that she'll some day be able to play like other kids her age.

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U.K. PM Theresa May survives non-confidence vote on her leadership amid Brexit turmoil

British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a vote of non-confidence triggered by strong Brexiteers within her own Conservative Party. Members of Parliament voted 200 to 117 by secret ballot to support May, who told them ahead of the vote that she will not lead the party into the next election, expected in 2022.  

She did not say what she will do if, as many expect, there is an early U.K. election triggered by Britain's Brexit crisis. 

Following the result, May said she was pleased to have received the backing of her colleagues, but she acknowledged that a significant number of them voted against her. She said she has listened to them and that it is now time to get on with delivering Brexit. 

"We now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country," she said. "A Brexit that delivers on the votes that people gave. That brings back control of our money, our borders, and our laws. That protects jobs, security and the union. That brings the country back together rather than entrenching division."

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May used the hour before the vote to try to win over members of her own party. (Mark Duffy/UK Parliament via Associated Press)

May, who spent Tuesday touring European Union capitals to appeal for changes to sweeten her divorce deal for reluctant U.K. lawmakers, has until Jan. 21 to hold a vote on the agreement in Parliament. 

She could still face a challenge in Parliament if the opposition Labour Party seeks a broader non-confidence vote in the House of Commons.

Following the vote result, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn said Britain's Parliament now needs to regain control of the Brexit process.

"Tonight's vote makes no difference to the lives of our people," Corbyn said in a statement. "She must now bring her dismal deal back to the House of Commons next week so Parliament can take back control."

One of the major sources of contention with the divorce agreement has been the so-called backstop, which aims to ensure there is no hard land border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, an EU member. Many U.K. legislators fear the backstop will leave Britain subject indefinitely to EU rules, long after the country has given up a say in drafting them.

May said before the vote that it was "now clear" the backstop needs to be temporary, and that she was confident she could still win approval in Parliament for her withdrawal plan with further assurances from the EU.

Pro-Brexit demonstrators wear tape accross their mouths and hold placards outside the Houses of Parliament in London. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

However, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, has already indicated the withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation for European Union leaders.

"We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop," he tweeted Monday. "But we are ready to discuss how to facilitate U.K. ratification. As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario."

Tusk said Brexit would be discussed at a summit of EU leaders Dec. 13 and 14.

Anti-Brexit protesters wave flags outside the Houses of Parliament. (Tim Ireland/Associated Press)

The leadership challenge marked an eruption of the Conservative Party's decades-long divide over Europe and threw Britain's already rocky path out of the EU, which it is due to leave on March 29, into further chaos. It came just  days after May postponed a vote to approve the divorce deal to avoid all-but-certain defeat.

Many supporters of Brexit say May's deal, a compromise that retains close economic ties with the EU, fails to deliver on the clean break with the bloc that they want.

Former U.K.Environment Secretary Owen Paterson accused May of acting like a "supplicant" in dealings with the EU.

"She's not the person to see Brexit through," he said.

Opposition lawmakers expressed astonishment and outrage at the Conservative civil war erupting in the middle of the fraught Brexit process.

"This government is a farce, the Tory party is in chaos, the prime minister is a disgrace," Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford said in the House of Commons hours before the secret ballot.

British business figures expressed alarm at the prospect of even more political uncertainty.

"At one of the most pivotal moments for the U.K. economy in decades, it is unacceptable that Westminster politicians have chosen to focus on themselves, rather than on the needs of the country," said Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.

Graham Brady, Chairman of the Conservative Party 1922 Committee, speaks to the media after announcing that the Conservative Party will hold a vote of non-confidence in the prime minister. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

The non-confidence vote was triggered after Graham Brady, who heads a committee overseeing Conservative leadership contests, announced early Wednesday that he had received letters from at least 48 lawmakers asking for a vote. That's the 15 per cent of Conservative legislators needed to spark a leadership challenge under party rules.

With this victory, May's leadership cannot be challenged again for a year.

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier attends a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels Nov. 12. (Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via Reuters)

EU leaders tried to stay out of the fray. There was no change in plans for May to address them about Brexit at a summit on Brussels on Thursday.

The European Parliament's Brexit point man, Guy Verhofstadt, could not contain a note of annoyance, tweeting: "Once again, the fate of EU-U.K. relations, the prosperity of businesses & citizens' rights are consumed by an internal Conservative party catfight over Europe."

Brexit is Britain's most significant political and economic decision since the Second World War, though pro-Europeans fear the departure will weaken the West as it grapples with the presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.

The outcome will shape Britain's $ 2.8 trillion US economy, have far reaching consequences for the unity of the United Kingdom, and determine whether London can keep its place as one of the top two global financial centres.

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Belgium survives late scare to knock Brazil out of World Cup

Belgium reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 32 years by holding off five-time champion Brazil 2-1 Friday, sending Neymar home without living up to the expectations of being soccer's most expensive player.

Belgium scored the decisive goal on a counterattack just after a corner had been taken by Neymar. Romelu Lukaku surged forward with the ball and Kevin De Bruyne put it in the net to give Belgium a 2-0 lead in the 31st minute.

"This was the biggest test for us," De Bruyne said. "Brazil was so strong in attack."

Kevin De Bruyne scored the eventual game-winner, as Belgium advances to the semifinals 2-1 over Brazil. 1:13

The opener came after a bit of good fortune. Fernandinho's trailing arm inadvertently helped Belgium captain Vincent Kompany's header land in his own net in the 13th minute.

As Belgium lost cohesiveness in the second half and Brazil's changes stirred the team, substitute Renato Augusto reduced the deficit in the 76th with a header.

But it was too late for Brazil to muster an equalizer as efforts to force the game into extra time were thwarted by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Europe only

For the third time in a World Cup — after 1982 and 2006 — the semifinals will feature only European teams. Belgium and France will meet in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The next day in Moscow, it will be either England or Sweden against either Russia or Croatia. The other two quarterfinal matches will be played Sunday.

Humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals fours year ago on home soil, Brazil didn't even get that far this time. Just like defending champion Germany and Argentina before them, the Kazan Arena is where Brazil's World Cup challenge ended.

"This is beating Brazil in the World Cup, in the knockout," Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said. "Just treasure it and pass it down in the generations."

Belgium is now on a 24-match unbeaten streak.

There is guaranteed to be a fourth straight European team winning the World Cup on July 15 in Moscow. Belgium, which finished fourth at the 1986 tournament and has never won the European Championship, will hope its golden generation can deliver its first trophy.

"Now we need more energy for the next game," Martinez said, "so let's make sure that we're all together and we're all driving each other to be as good as we can … in the semifinal."

Uncharacteristic defence

With eight shutouts in the last nine games, including three in the four games in Russia, Brazil had the tightest defence of the remaining teams at the World Cup. But it was breached after 13 minutes in Tatarstan. Fernandinho's own-goal ensured for the first time since March 2017 that Brazil was trailing in a competitive match. Unlike then — an eventual 4-1 victory over Uruguay — there was no comeback.

Not when Courtois was proving to be an impenetrable barrier in the Belgium goal, denying Marcelo's strike before the lead was extended.

Criticized for his playacting, Neymar then went down lightly under minimal contact from Marouane Fellaini at the start of the second half. But as the referee started to seek a video review, Neymar appeared to urge him against it. A booking — if he got one for diving — would have ruled him out the semifinals.

But reaching the last four looked an increasingly unlikely proposition. Even after Philippe Coutinho's cross was headed in by Augusto, who managed to evade centre backs Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen three minutes after replacing Paulinho.

"Sometimes you have to accept that Brazil has got this finesse, that quality, and that they're going to break you down, and (Belgium) just refused to accept that. This is something special."

Belgium will be without defender Thomas Meunier for the semifinals after tripping Neymar and earning a second yellow card of the tournament.

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Tiger Woods survives return, but Jordan Spieth leads Masters after 1st round

No other course makes him more comfortable. Even more familiar than a sharp short game was his name atop the leaderboard at the Masters.

Jordan Spieth appears to be back on his game.

Tiger Woods?

He has some catching up to do.

Spieth took only 10 putts on the back nine Thursday at Augusta National, including five straight birdies. The last one was from tap-in range after another superb pitch, from the left gallery to escape with bogey for a 6-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau.

It was the eighth time in his last 13 rounds at the Masters that Spieth ended a round with the lead.

“I know as well as anybody that anything can happen at Augusta National,” Spieth said, a vague reference to the lead he lost on the back nine in 2016 that kept him from winning consecutive green jackets. “It’s about riding momentum from last week and this round.”

The last time Tiger Woods won the Masters was in 2005, and the world was a very different place then. From social media, to sports heroes, things have changed! Since Tiger is once again a favourite at Augusta, Rob Pizzo looks back at the last time Tiger put on the Green Jacket.1:51

Adam Hadwin, from Abbotsford, B.C., bogeyed the 14th hole but followed with back-to-back birdies. He closed with a bogey for a 69. Hadwin finished at minus-three, tied for fourth place.

Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., who won the tournament in 2003, opened with a 4-over-par 76.

Woods, the main attraction in his first time back to the Masters since 2015, had a few bright moments and endless ovations in his round of 73. He felt he played better than he scored. He also knows it could have been worse, especially after dumping a 9-iron into Rae’s Creek on the par-3 12th hole and having to make a 15-foot putt for bogey and avoid falling to 4-over par.

Most aggravating was playing the par 5s without a birdie.

“Seventy-three is fine,” Woods said. “By the end of the week, this will be a pretty packed leaderboard the way the golf course is set up. They have it right where they want it. It’s really hard to run away from it, but it’s also really easy to lose it out there.”

Spieth nearly managed to pull away when he began the back nine with three tough par saves, ran off five straight birdies and overcame a wild drive left into the trees that left him some 250 yards for his third shot.

Finau in contention on dislocated ankle

The best comeback? That might now belong to Finau.

On the eve of his first Masters, he made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole of the Par 3 Tournament, raced toward the green to celebrate and as he turned back toward the tee, his left ankle rolled. Finau went down, the ankle contorted, and he popped it into place. He wasn’t sure he could play until tests showed he was cleared to play.

And he played great, opening with a 68 despite a short par putt that he missed on the 14th hole.

“This is a moment I’ve dreamed of my whole life,” Finau said.

Woods might be right about one thing. Even as well as Spieth looked, it might be hard for anyone to pull away. Spieth was among 10 players who broke 70 — a list that included Rory McIlroy — on a warm, sunny day with a moderate breeze that looked ideal for scoring.

Defending champ Garcia makes dubious history

It was just tough to score, with the greens slick and firm and several tough pin positions, mainly toward the front of the greens. That included the par-5 15th, and no one suffered quite like defending champion Sergio Garcia.

He hit his second shot into the water, and then had his next four shots with a wedge roll back into the water. He made a 10-foot putt — close to the same length of his eagle putt when he won last year — to make a 13, the highest score ever recorded on No. 15. He wound up with an 81, the highest score in the opening round by a defending Masters champion.

“It’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot,” Garcia said. “Simple as that.”

McIlroy, needing a green jacket to complete the career Grand Slam, did his part to stay in the game, especially with some tough par-saving putts down the stretch as Spieth was on his run of birdies.

McIlroy shot a 69, the first time he broke 70 in the opening round of the Masters since 2011, and joined a half-dozen other players at 69 that included Henrik Stenson, Charley Hoffman, Patrick Reed and 22-year-old Li Haotong of China.

Lefty sits at 70

Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler were among those at 70. So was Marc Leishman, who played in the group with Woods and Tommy Fleetwood and led most of the day until a chip from behind the 15th green came out too strong and didn’t stop rolling until it was headed down the bank and into the water, leading to double bogey.

Woods, dressed all in black, was under par for all of one hole. His drive on No. 3 nearly reached the green until it rolled back down the slope, and he hit a safe pitch to about 10 feet for birdie. He made bogey from the bunker on No. .4. He three-putted from long range on No. 5. And he never got back to par, losing even more ground around Amen Corner.

In one sense, he was happy to be playing. Just under a year ago, he was going through a fourth back surgery.

“I played in a major championship again,” he said. “But also the fact that I got myself back in this tournament, and I could have easily let it slip away. And I fought hard to get it back in there, and I’m back in this championship. There’s a lot of holes to be played.”

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Boisvert-Lacroix survives waiting game to win World Cup gold

Alex Boisvert-Lacroix needed to play the waiting game en route to a gold medal in the 500 metres at the World Cup speed skating event Sunday.

Boisvert-Lacroix posted a time of 34.31 seconds in the early stages of the race at the Olympic Oval, but had to watch as 14 more skaters — and then two re-skates — tried to better that time.

None did, handing the Sherbrooke, Que., native his first gold medal at a World Cup event.

Alex Boisvert-Lacroix wins 1st World Cup race in Calgary1:36

“I was nervous till they crossed the line and I saw their times, and I was like, ‘Yes, I have it for real,”‘ Boisvert-Lacroix said of the two re-skates, awarded to Russia’s Ruslan Murashov and Germany’s Nico Ihlo due to lane interference.

“Everything is possible. If I can win here, why not at the Olympics?”

‘Nerve-breaking’

South Korea’s Cha Min Kyu won silver and Finland’s Mika Poutala took bronze. Boisvert-Lacroix’s gold-medal winning time was .01 of a second shy of his personal best.

“When I saw the time, my coach gave me a good high-five,” the 30-year-old said. “But we had no clue what would happen after that.”

Boisvert-Lacroix said the wait was “nerve-breaking.”

“After that, I was so happy; it was crazy. Then someone told me, ‘Oh, you have to wait. There’s a re-skate for two skaters.’ It’s never over till it’s over.”

Boisvert-Lacroix said he didn’t think his performance was podium-worthy.

“I thought it would be a fifth place, to be honest,” he said. “But it was good enough. It was just a good race. I’ll take that, for sure.”

De Haitre posts personal best

Ottawa’s Vincent De Haitre finished sixth in the men’s 1,500m with a personal-best time of 1:43.13.

“I’m pretty happy—those don’t happen all the time,” said De Haitre. “Obviously, it’s not a podium finish. But, at the same time, these are all training races [for the Olympics] and I executed what I wanted to do during this race.

“We identified a few things that I could change for next time around. We’re going to do that in Salt Lake City[(next weekend] and see what happens with that.”

Russia’s Denis Yuskov won gold followed by Netherlands skaters Koen Verweij and Kjeld Nuis.

DeHaitre-Vincent-02122017

Vincent De Haitre posted a personal best (1:43.13) in the 1,500 metre to finish sixth. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., placed eighth.

De Haitre, who finished fourth in the 1,000m on Saturday, said he was pleased with his weekend overall.

“I would rate [the weekend] eight out of 10, maybe nine,” he said. “It’s nice to get a medal but at the same time, that’s not the goal. The goal is to get better and I did that this weekend.”

In the women’s 500m, Japan’s Nao Kodaira picked up gold, while South Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee earned silver. Japan’s Ariso Go took bronze.

Japan’s Miho Takagi was on top in the women’s 1,500m. Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands took silver while Russia’s Yekaterina Shikhova got bronze.

Italy’s Andrea Giovannini captured the men’s mass start, while Germany’s Claudia Pechstein won the women’s race.

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