Lyon, Jul 4 (AP/UNB) — Carli Lloyd says the success the United States is having at the Women's World Cup in France isn't an extension of the 2015 title run.
The so-called 2019ers are their own team.
"We don't really bring up the 2015 World Cup that much because it's done, it's in the past. The focus is just on Sunday," said Lloyd, who was the breakout star in Canada four years ago.
The Americans will be vying for their second straight title and fourth overall when they face the Netherlands in the final at Stade de Lyon. More than just having its own identity, this U.S. team is different than those of the past because it has more versatility and depth, Lloyd said.
"Any player that's called upon can step into these roles and play it," she said. "Whereas I think in previous years you had kind of a core squad and some game changers that may come in and make a difference. But we've got a ton of depth on this team, which is fantastic."
The top-ranked U.S. team has already faced — and overcome — two big challenges on the way to the final. First, the Americans downed No. 4 France 2-1 in the quarterfinals in Paris and they beat No. 3 England 2-1 in the semifinals.
The Netherlands, ranked No. 8, had a far easier run on the other side of the bracket, with a 2-0 victory over No. 15 Italy in the quarterfinals and Wednesday night's 1-0 extra-time win over No. 9 Sweden.
The Dutch, who made the World Cup field for the first time in Canada, understand what they're up against.
"They have a really good team. Amazing team. So we have to be ready for the game," defender Stefanie van der Gragt said following the semifinal win. "Now we have a party. Tomorrow we talk about the USA."
Lloyd was the star four years ago in Canada with three goals in the first 16 minutes of a 5-2 final victory over Japan. She has a far different role in France, mostly coming off the bench.
She started in one match, scoring twice in a 3-0 victory over Chile in the group stage. Lloyd celebrated with a golf clap, answering the critics who blasted the U.S. team for enthusiastically celebrating every goal in the 13-0 rout of Thailand in the tournament opener.
The Americans have drawn attention for their celebrations throughout France, including Megan Rapinoe's "Are You Not Entertained?" pose against France and Alex Morgan's tea sipping versus England. As a result, the players have been branded as brash and even arrogant.
Lloyd brushes the criticism aside.
"I think everybody's just kind of having fun with the celebrations and embracing the moment," she said.
Lloyd, who turns 37 next month, is the oldest player on the team and has 280 national team appearances with 113 goals. This is her fourth World Cup.
In addition to her hat trick in Canada, Lloyd scored both goals in the gold-medal match against Japan in the 2012 Olympics. She became the only player to score winning goals in consecutive Olympic finals: At the Beijing Games in 2008, she scored in overtime for a 1-0 victory against Brazil.
In France she's playing off the bench as more of a "super sub" to intimidate opponents and provide fresh legs. Lloyd has been blunt from the beginning that she's not pleased with the new role. She still feels like she could start and be a difference-maker.
"There's a lot of things that are out of your control in life and you can either look at it as a negative or you can look at it as a positive," she said. "I know that my ability, my work ethic, and many things that I bring to the team, the intangibles — I can be playing out there, no doubt. But for whatever reason, coaches have made that decision and I come in and it's my job to make something happen."
She understands that changes were inevitable as the 2019ers forge their own legacy
"New journey, different journey," she said. "We've just got to go after it."
Lausanne, Jul 4 (AP/UNB) — Former FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi has been challenging his life ban for bribery and corruption at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The court says a verdict from Thursday's hearing will likely take at least several weeks to announce.
A Ghanaian television program broadcast footage of Nyantakyi accepting $65,000 in cash from reporters posing as businessmen seeking favors. That prompted him to resign days before the 2018 World Cup from his $250,000-a-year FIFA position. Nyantakyi also left as senior vice president of African soccer's governing body and president of Ghana's soccer federation.
Nyantakyi had been one of Africa's elected delegates to FIFA's ruling committee since 2016.
FIFA's ethics committee found him guilty last year and fined him 500,000 Swiss francs ($507,000).
London, July 4 (AP/UNB) — Certain to finish in last place in the Cricket World Cup standings, Afghanistan can still sign off on a high note by beating West Indies for its first win of the 2019 tournament.
It is a match between the worst two teams of the group stage, with West Indies only on three points — courtesy of a win over Pakistan and a washout — and Afghanistan on 0. Neither team can progress to the semifinals.
Afghanistan won one of its six group matches in the 2015 World Cup, when the country was making its debut.
West Indies has underperformed over the past five weeks but will be looking to give 39-year-old star opener Chris Gayle a successful send-off in his last World Cup match.
Dhaka, July 4 (UNB) – Viqarunnisa Noon Sports Club crushed Jamalpur Sports Academy by 39-19 goals in the Cute Women’s Handball League at the Shaheed (Capt) M Mansur Ali National Handball Stadium here on Thursday.
They led the first half by 21-8 goals.
Earlier in the day’s first match, RN Sports Home beat Quantum Foundation by 28-13 goals after dominating the first half by 11-5 goals at the same venue.
London, July 4 (AP/UNB) — Efforts to make artificial intelligence fairer now extend to Wimbledon's courts.
The All England Club, which hosts the famed British tennis event, is adding technology enhancements at this year's tournament aimed at eliminating bias from computer generated video highlights.
The club has already been using AI to go through hours of footage and automatically pick out the best shots from matches played on its 18 courts. The AI chooses the moments based on criteria including whether a player does a fist pump and how much the audience cheers after a point. Fans can then watch the assembled videos online and players can use them to review their performance.
For this year's tournament, which runs until July 19, the AI has been tweaked to balance out any favoritism shown to a player who gestures more or has a louder fan base. The goal is to make sure an equally skilled yet more reserved opponent gets similar exposure.
"Just because you don't pump your fist doesn't mean it's not a good shot," said Sam Seddon, a client executive at IBM, the club's technology provider.
Tech bias has come into focus lately amid growing awareness that artificial intelligence systems aren't neutral tools but reflect society because they're programmed by humans. Other, more serious examples include facial recognition that misidentifies darker-skinned people and financial algorithms that charge higher interest rates to Latino and black borrowers. Some U.S. lawmakers are calling for tighter scrutiny that includes subjecting big companies to an "algorithmic accountability" test of their high-risk AI systems.
Seddon said IBM's Watson artificial intelligence system scans video footage and scores it on crowd cheering, player gestures and how important each point is, to give matches an "excitement ranking" to find the best clips.
Those scores are now adjusted to smooth out any bias because otherwise "you could potentially have a situation whereby not all of the best moments of a match are identified," Seddon said.