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Archive for Saturday, December 5, 2009

U.S. soccer to open with England

December 5, 2009

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— The United States will face England at the World Cup for the first time since a famous upset 60 years ago, then play Slovenia and Algeria in the first round of next year’s tournament.

The U.S. opens against England in Rustenburg on June 12, the teams’ first World Cup matchup since the Americans’ 1-0 victory at the 1950 tournament in Brazil.

The United States then meets Slovenia at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park on June 18 and completes the first round on June 23 against Algeria in Pretoria. The U.S. has never played either nation.

Several U.S. players are well known to England because they play in the Premier League, including goalkeeper Tim Howard (Everton), midfielder Clint Dempsey (Fulham), defenders Jonathan Spector (West Ham) and Jay DeMerit (Watford) and forward Jozy Altidore (Hull). U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra played for Fulham.

Mexico was drawn Friday to meet South Africa in the tournament opener on June 11 in Johannesburg at Soccer City, which also is where the final will be played July 11. El Tri then plays France, which qualified with the help of Thierry Henry’s hand ball against Ireland, and Uruguay in Group A.

In the other groups it was:

Group B: Argentina, Greece, Nigeria, South Korea;

Group C: Algeria, England, Slovenia, United States;

Group D: Australia, Germany, Ghana, Serbia;

Group E: Cameroon, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands;

Group F: Italy, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia;

Group G: Brazil, Ivory Coast, North Korea, Portugal;

Group H: Chile, Honduras, Spain, Switzerland.

GOLF

Goosen leads at Nedbank

Sun City, South Africa — Retief Goosen took a one-stroke lead over Masters champion Angel Cabrera at the Nedbank Challenge, shooting 4-under 68 Friday in the second round. Goosen had a 7-under 137 total.

Cabrera had the low round for the day with a 67. Defending champion Henrik Stenson (68) and Robert Allenby (70) are tied with the Argentine in second place.

Rory McIlroy, who complained of stomach pain, shot a 76 and is last in the 12-man field at 149.

Yang leads at Challenge

Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Despite battling a fever and a pounding headache, Y.E. Yang has shot a 7-under 65 to build a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Chevron World Challenge.

Perhaps it was only fitting that Yang is leading the tournament hosted by Tiger Woods. The South Korean made a name for himself as the first player to win a major when Woods was leading going into the final round. Yang rallied from a two-shot deficit at the PGA Championship.

Woods is not at Sherwood Country Club because of his car accident last week.

Yang led by two shots over Kenny Perry, Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter.

NFL

Holmgren eyes return

Seattle — Mike Holmgren wants to talk to the Seahawks about coming back. Seattle’s former coach and one-time general manager said Friday during his semi-weekly radio show in Seattle that he’d like to talk to Seahawks owner Paul Allen and chief executive officer Tod Leiweke about becoming the team’s GM and perhaps president.

Those titles became vacant on Thursday when the Seahawks forced Tim Ruskell to resign weeks before his five-year contract was to end.

Jets’ Rhodes fined

Florham Park, N.J. — New York Jets safety Kerry Rhodes has been fined $5,000 by the NFL for throwing a ball into the stands following an interception against Carolina.

TENNIS

Spain leads Davis Cup

Barcelona, Spain — David Ferrer rallied for a 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6 victory over Radek Stepanek to give defending champion Spain a 2-0 lead in the Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic. Rafael Nadal beat Tomas Berdych, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2, in the first singles match Friday.

Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco can clinch Spain’s fourth title today with a doubles win over Lukas Dlouhy and Jan Hajek.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Irish won’t go to bowl

South Bend, Ind. — The Notre Dame football season is officially over. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced Friday that the school has decided against going to a bowl game with a 6-6 record, citing “unique circumstances” surrounding the program.

One of those circumstances is that it has no head coach. Swarbrick earlier this week fired Charlie Weis as coach after five seasons. The search for a replacement is under way.

The Irish finished the season with four straight losses to finish at .500 for just the sixth time in 121 seasons. The last time was in 2004 when Tyrone Willingham was fired as coach.

The Irish went to the Hawaii Bowl last season with a 6-6 record, beating Hawaii, 49-21.

BASEBALL

Mariners, Figgins agree

Seattle — The Seattle Mariners and the third baseman Chone Figgins have a preliminary agreement on a $36 million, four-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Friday night. The contract, which is subject to a physical, includes a vesting option for 2014 that could make the deal worth $45 million over five years. Figgins has been a catalyst atop the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup.

Zaun, Brewers reach deal

Milwaukee — Catcher Gregg Zaun and the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a $2.15 million, one-year contract. Zaun gets a $500,000 signing bonus and a $1.4 million salary next season. His deal includes a $2.25 million club option for 2011 with a $250,000 buyout.

The 38-year-old split last season with Baltimore and Tampa Bay, hitting a combined .260 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 90 games. He made a total of 74 starts behind the plate, including 49 games with the Orioles and 25 games with the Rays.

Rangers add infielder

Arlington, Texas — The Texas Rangers have acquired infielder Joe Inglett on a waiver claim from Toronto, bringing in a utility player after Omar Vizquel’s departure.

Inglett has a .293 career average in 211 games for Cleveland (2006) and Toronto (2007-09).

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