Rio De Janeiro, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Brazil women's national team coach Oswaldo Alvarez, known as Vadão, has been fired after the team was eliminated in the Round of 16 in the Women's World Cup.
The Brazilian soccer confederation announced the move on Monday and said Vadão's replacement would be named soon.
The 62-year-old coach lasted nearly two years in his second stint with the national team. He also coached Brazil at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Vadão was replaced by Emily Lima, and then took over for Lima when she was fired in September 2017.
Vadão was often criticized by fans for his conservative choices. Brazil lost nine matches in its preparation for the World Cup, but fans still hoped for a deeper run in the tournament. Brazil was eliminated by host France.
Las Vegas, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Cristiano Ronaldo won't face criminal charges after a woman accused the soccer star of raping her in his suite at a Las Vegas resort more than 10 years ago, a top prosecutor said Monday.
A new investigation by Las Vegas police failed to show that Kathryn Mayorga's claim could be proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.
"Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming," Wolfson said in a statement.
The decision represented a victory on one of two legal tracks tied to the 2009 allegation against one of the most recognizable and highly paid players in sports.
In a lawsuit still pending in federal court, Mayorga alleges that she was pressured to sign an agreement to keep quiet in exchange for $375,000. Her lawyers want to void the deal and collect at least $200,000 more from Ronaldo.
Ronaldo's attorneys have acknowledged that the soccer star and Mayorga had consensual sex in June 2009, but they denied it was rape. Attorney Peter Christiansen was traveling Monday and wasn't immediately available to comment.
Attorneys for Mayorga, a former model and schoolteacher, did not immediately respond to telephone, text and email messages.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Mayorga gave consent through her lawyers to make her name public.
Her lawsuit says she met Ronaldo at a nightclub and went with him and other people to his suite at the Palms Hotel and Casino, where he assaulted her in a bedroom. Afterward, she signed a non-disclosure agreement under pressure from "fixers" trying to protect Ronaldo's reputation, her lawyer, Leslie Mark Stovall, has said.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas accuses Ronaldo or those working for him of conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract, coercion and fraud for allegedly allowing terms of the settlement to become public in European publications.
Her attorneys say Mayorga never wanted her name released but became worried that she would be identified after a 2017 media report apparently referred to the encounter.
Her lawyers have said in federal court documents that they were having trouble personally serving Ronaldo with legal filings. A judge has given them an Oct. 28 deadline.
Ronaldo plays in Italy for the Turin-based soccer club Juventus. He played previously for Manchester United in England and Real Madrid in Spain, where he earned a then-record sum of 94 million euros, or about $130 million.
Mayorga underwent a medical exam to collect DNA evidence shortly after she alleges Ronaldo assaulted her. Police closed their investigation in 2009 because Mayorga neither identified her attacker by name nor said where the alleged rape took place, said Wolfson, the elected prosecutor in Las Vegas.
Police have said she identified her attacker only as a European soccer player.
"As a result, the police were unable to ... conduct any meaningful investigation," Wolfson said Monday. "Detectives were unable to search for and impound vital forensic evidence. In addition, video evidence, showing interactions between the victim and perpetrator before and after the alleged crime, was lost."
The investigation was reopened in last year at the request of Mayorga's attorneys, shortly before they sued Ronaldo. She spoke again with police, and authorities this year obtained a sample of Ronaldo's DNA through Italian authorities.
Police did not immediately respond Monday to messages about the case.
Hamburg, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Jeremy Chardy needed five match points to beat fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire and reach the second round of the Hamburg European Open on Monday.
Chardy finally converted match point to win 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-3 against Paire, who at 28th in the world is ranked 49 places higher. The fifth-seeded Paire struggled on serve in the deciding set, racking up six double faults and only one ace.
Chardy next plays either fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal.
Eighth-seeded Christian Garin had reached the final in three of his last seven clay-court tournaments but was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (5) by Andrey Rublev.
Marton Fucsovics defeated German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0, and Martin Klizan dismissed wild card Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 6-2.
Seattle, July 22 (AP/UNB) — Brian Fernandez only arrived in Portland a couple of months ago. He's quickly become a despised figure in Seattle.
Fernandez scored his second goal of the match in the 51st minute, moments after Seattle had pulled even, and the Portland Timbers beat the Sounders 2-1 on Sunday night in the first MLS clash of the season between the Cascadia rivals.
For Fernandez, it was his third and fourth goals against Seattle this season. He scored twice against the Sounders when the sides met in a U.S. Open Cup match last month.
But what he did on Sunday — before a crowd of more than 50,000 — had a bigger impact.
"To come to a stadium, especially in a big rivalry derby like this, and be able to score and be able to quiet people and not have people talk to you during the match it's beautiful," Fernandez said through an interpreter. "It's part of the game. I don't mean to be condescending. I don't mean to be arrogant about it. It's just one of those beautiful things about football."
It was the first league matchup between the rivals since last year's Western Conference semifinals, when Portland advanced from the two-leg series after an exhausting, exhilarating second-leg that eventually went to penalties before the Timbers moved on. Portland reached the MLS Cup final before losing to Atlanta.
While the stakes weren't the same, the intensity between the two long rivals was evident and erupted after the final whistle with several scrums, plenty of pushing and shoving and players needing to be separated. Seattle's Roman Torres and Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark were at the center of the activity, but plenty of others were involved.
"When you get taunted by some of their players toward the end of the game, that's a rivalry," said Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who was trying to separate others after the game. "Maybe getting feisty after the referee blows the whistle and people go after each other, we just need to remember those moments when we play them next time."
Fernandez scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season in just his second full month with the Timbers after being signed as a designated player form Necaxa in Mexico.
Fernandez gave Portland the early lead when he collected the ricochet from Jorge Moreira's shot off the crossbar and scored in the 20th minute, finishing into an open net. After Seattle's Raul Ruidiaz scored in the 50th minute to pull the Sounders even, Fernandez answered seconds later when his one-time shot deflected off Frei and trickled into the goal.
The victory kept alive Portland's chances of winning the Cascadia Cup competition between the Timbers, Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps. It was also a crucial three road points for the Timbers, who have just two MLS matches away from Providence Park the rest of the regular season.
It's also the second straight year Portland won the only regular-season matchup in Seattle.
"There is a belief we can do it together as a group and there is that trust in each other to go out there and play with our hearts and stick to what we ask them to do," Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said.
While Ruidiaz did collect Seattle's only goal and his eighth of the season, he'll also lament a pair of missed chances in the first 45 minutes and another opportunity in the 79th minute.
Seattle will have its chance to get even on Aug. 23 when the teams meet in Portland.
"Still some fire in this rivalry, and that got stoked to a higher level tonight," Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. "We'll remember some of the things that happened tonight, and hopefully we can use that in the next game."
Nimes, July 22 (AP/UNB) — A Tour de France jam-packed with unexpected plot twists is saving its biggest surprise for last.
With six riders within reach of the podium heading into the toughest final stages in the Alps, the race that resumes Tuesday after the final off-day is tantalizingly poised. Furious racing over the first 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) through Belgium and France and the uncertain outcome ahead of the grand finale in Paris are conspiring to deliver the most engrossing Tour in recent memory.
Like a summer rain, the suspense of still not knowing who will win with just six of the 21 stages remaining is exquisitely refreshing for cycling's greatest race after years of implacable domination by the uber-rich, super-calculating British Ineos team, formerly Sky.
"Nobody is really controlling the race as such. It's way more exciting but it's more like chess in another sense. It's brilliant fun," Ineos team boss Dave Brailsford said on Monday's rest day. "We've sat here on the second day of a Grand Tour so many times and people say we've closed the race down and it's not been exciting. That's not been the case this time. It's fun to be involved in one of most exciting editions in a long time."
Either one of Geraint Thomas, Ineos' struggling defending champion, or Thibaut Pinot, the French climber who rebounded in the Pyrenees from what had seemed a decisive loss of time on the flat before the mountains, could still ride up the Champs-Elysees in the iconic yellow jersey on Sunday.
A Pinot victory would trigger delirium across France, which has had no homegrown champion to celebrate since Bernard Hinault in 1985 and suffered the indignity of many years when Lance Armstrong and other dopers hijacked the race that is as much part of the French national identity as romance and the baguette.
But Thomas' Colombian teammate Egan Bernal or dark horses Steven Kruijswijk from the Netherlands and German rider Emanuel Buchmann could put French champagne back on ice. Making few waves and avoiding the misfortunes, mistakes and big off-color days that sank other riders' title hopes, they're very much in the podium picture. But their stealthy consistency could hit its limits in the Alps, where conservative riding might not be enough to win if Pinot and others attack, as expected.
Just 39 seconds — practically nothing in cycling, where riders often lose minutes when they wilt on big climbs — separate Thomas, in second place overall, from Buchmann, in sixth. Kruijswijk is third, Pinot fourth and Bernal fifth.
Missing from this script, of course, is the yellow jersey himself, France's sweetheart Julian Alaphilippe. His punchy, unpredictable style has endeared him to fans bored with the by-the-numbers wins that Sky, now Ineos, secured with Bradley Wiggins in 2012, four-time winner Chris Froome and, last year, with Thomas. But in the Pyrenees, Alaphilippe started to pay for the energies he expended in taking, losing, getting back, and then extending his race lead in weeks one and two.
Having built up a lead of 2 minutes, 2 seconds over Thomas at the top of the Tourmalet, the first of seven climbs to above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) at this Tour, Alaphilippe then cracked Sunday on the last ascent in the Pyrenees. His lead shrank to 1:35 and, most importantly, his ride appeared to signal that the even harder climbs to come in the Alps, where what remains of his lead could quickly melt away if he can't stay with the pace, might be beyond his limit.
Another big unknown is whether uncharacteristic signs of weakness at Ineos, with Thomas off-color on the Tourmalet and his usually solid teammates not setting a punishing pace up climbs, were just blips or perhaps some sort of devilish rope-a-dope strategy cooked up by Brailsford that, in the Alps, will see the team return to its can't-catch-us best. Thomas talked a big game on the rest day, saying he hopes for an Alpine scrap with Pinot.
"I'd love it, I'd relish it. Bring it on," he said. "The main thing is going into the Alps I feel motivated to try and finish this Tour off well. It's been a slightly up and down race compared to last year but the main thing is I finish strong and I'm itching to go a lot better."
But the talking that counts will be done on the road.
The Alpine stages from Thursday to Saturday will see the Tour ascend six times to above 2,000 meters in the three days, with two uphill finishes. The trilogy of pain for some, joy for others, will seal the podium placings before the ceremonial run-in to Paris, where there'll be tears of red, white and blue — either of delight or sorrow.
Either way, the Tour can say something that has not always been true in recent years: there is still much more to come.