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Argentina, Poland advance, Mexico eliminated by goal differential in Group C

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Rest easy, soccer fans. Lionel Messi will grace the World Cup stage at least one more time.

The Argentina great had a penalty saved but his team still beat Poland 2-0 Wednesday after second-half goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez and advanced to the last 16.

Argentina finished in first place in Group C to set up a match against Australia, a surprise qualifier for the knockout stage. It was ultimately a happy night for Poland, too, which went through as the group’s second-place team on goal difference ahead of Mexico and will next play defending champion France.

Henry Martin and Luis Chaves each scored in Mexico’s furious attempt to stay alive at the World Cup, but the 2-1 victory Wednesday night over Saudi Arabia was not enough.

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Because of Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Poland in a simultaneous match, Mexico failed to advance out of its group for the first time since 1978.

Mexico had reached the round of 16 at the last seven World Cups, which was tied with Brazil for the longest current streak.

It’s a strong position for Argentina to be in, especially considering the team opened the World Cup with a shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in one of biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.

Messi’s likely final World Cup rolls onto Saturday and he will be relieved after failing to score a penalty for the second straight World Cup. It was awarded after he was hit in the face by the flailing hand of Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who made amends by diving to his left to block Messi’s kick.

A largely pro-Argentina crowd, waving flags and scarfs and beating drums behind both goals, had been sweeping Messi and his team along at the 44,000-seat Stadium 974 and they didn’t stop after the penalty. Within seconds, a chant of “MESSI! MESSI!” immediately reverberated around the venue in a bid to keep their idol’s head high.

And the roars were even louder at the start of the second half, first after Mac Allister’s goal _ a scruffy finish from Nahuel Molina’s cut-back from the right _ in the first minute and again after it became clear Mexico had taken the lead against Saudi Arabia.

Messi never stopped surging forward and he was a menace all game to Poland with his dribbling ability and vision.

He wasn’t involved in either goal, though. For the second, Enzo Fernandez scooped a pass to Alvarez _ selected ahead of Lautaro Martinez _ and he took one touch before curling his shot into the top corner in the 67th minute.

The final whistle blew with Poland players still unsure if they were advancing, given the Mexico-Saudi Arabia game was ongoing. A stoppage-time goal by the Saudis made it even harder for Mexico, sparking loud cheers by Poland’s team and the squirting of water from their bottles in the middle of the field.

Martin scored in the 48th minute to give El Tri hope, and the team’s chances got even better with Luis Chavez’s goal on a free kick four minutes later.

Mexico tried desperately in the final 20 minutes to get another goal _ including an effort by Uriel Antuna in the 87th minute that was ruled offside _ but came up short.

Salem Aldawsari scored in second-half stoppage time.

Martin’s goal ended Mexico’s 431-minute scoring drought at the World Cup, dating back to their second group match at the 2018 tournament in Russia. It was the team’s longest ever stretch without a goal.

Mexico opened the tournament in Qatar with a 0-0 draw against Poland and but fell 2-0 to Lionel Messi and Argentina.

Mexico hadn’t been eliminated from the group stage since the World Cup in Argentina 44 years ago. El Tri didn’t qualify for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, and was banned from the 1990 event in Italy for using overage players at an under-20 tournament.

Mexico advanced to the round of 16 in its last seven appearances _ but no further. El Tri came to Qatar looking to play in an elusive “quinto partido” _ a fifth game _ for the first time since Mexico hosted the tournament in 1986.

Saudi Arabia had one of the tournament’s biggest ever upsets ever when it beat Argentina 2-1 in its opener. But the Green Falcons couldn’t pull off another surprise in its second match, a 2-0 loss to Poland.

The Saudis reached the round of 16 back in 1994, the team’s World Cup debut, but haven’t made it past the group stage since.

Many of the Saudi team were also part of the squad that went to the 2018 World Cup. But none play outside of their home country. Twelve players on the roster are with Al Hilal, which has won a record 18 Saudi league championships.

Mexico dominated the first half. Orbelin Pineda had one of the best of three good chances for El Tri, but it was easily grabbed by Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais in the 25th minute.

The game turned quickly in Mexico’s favor with Martin’s goal, but the celebration was muted. Chavez’s free kick in the 52nd that went into the upper corner just out of Alowais’ reach brought Mexico’s reserves rushing onto the field.

Hirving Lozano nearly had a third goal but he was offside. Chavez had another free kick that missed as Mexico tried in vain to score more goals.

Mexico coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino was roundly criticized for the lack of scoring. He had already been questioned over some of his choices, including his decision to leave all-time leading scorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez off the team.

Hernandez, who now plays for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, scored the team’s last goal in a 2-1 group-stage victory over South Korea in Russia.

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Marner shows off custom All-Star Game skates at Maple Leafs practice – NHL.com

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Mitchell Marner is going to be skating on sunshine.

The Toronto Maple Leafs forward has some custom skates with a distinct Florida feel for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game at FLA Live Arena on Saturday.

Marner, who will play for the Atlantic Divison team on Saturday, helped dream up the design, which is a beach theme over a pastel pink boot. On each tongue is the All-Star Game logo and inside each boot is the Eastern Conference logo.

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Marner’s big customization? Adding his dog, Zeus, to the mix.

“(Zeus) riding a croc, one riding a shark and then just the city outlines,” Marner said. “The white look I think looks sick though. That’s just kind of the idea of them. I wanted to do something cool for the All Star game, don’t really get to customize a lot of stuff as hockey players.”

The True brand skates were on display at Maple Leafs practice on Tuesday. Were they a hit? Well, it depends on who you ask.

“A couple guys said it was pretty juicy looking, a couple guys were chirping me but that’s what usually happens with our team,” Marner said. “I think everyone probably likes them but they’re never going to say it to your face because it’s better just to make fun of you and chirp you. That’s how this team rolls.”

While he won’t be wearing them for a regular season game, trying them out at practice was a must, but did come with it’s challenges.

“(Alexander Kerfoot) and (Justin Holl) were trying to get some scuff marks on them early,” Marner said. “It’s going to happen eventually but I’ll try to keep them as white as possible until Saturday or Friday.”

– NHL.com Independent Correspondent Dave McCarthy contributed to this report.

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Former captain Horvat, family pen letter to ‘Our Canucks family’ after trade to New York – Global News

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Former Canucks Captain Bo Horvat has written a letter thanking fans after nine seasons spent in Vancouver.

Horvat was dealt to the New York Islanders Monday afternoon for two players and a protected first-round draft pick, after months of contract negotiations proved unfruitful.

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“To our Canucks family. The past 24 hours have been filled with an overwhelming number of memories from inside and outside of the rink,” reads the statement in part, posted to Instagram on Tuesday.

“Nine years ago you welcomed us to your beautiful city and province, and before long, you would make sure it felt like home.”

Read more:

Vancouver Canucks deal Horvat to New York Islanders for two players, first round pick

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Coming to Vancouver as a 19-year-old and leaving as a 27-year-old father of two, one of the many highlights for Horvat was getting a chance to play alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

“I remember meeting Daniel and Henrik that first year. Through them you could immediately feel the history, and the connection the team had with fans and the community… the respect everyone had for what it meant ‘to be a Canuck,’” he said.

“I was only 19, but I knew I was a part of a special place in the hockey world. I remember being determined to work hard, keep getting better and always bring my best effort.”

He also took time to thank his teammates, coaches, trainers and members of the organization along with the many people behind the scenes.

“To have been your captain, was a tremendous honour for us…It was beyond the wildest dreams of that 19-year-old who just wanted to fit in and earn your respect one day at a time.”

“The city of Vancouver and Canucks fans will always have a place in our hearts. Thank you.”


Click to play video: 'Vancouver Canucks trade Bo Horvat'

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Vancouver Canucks trade Bo Horvat


&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Tom Brady retires from NFL, insisting this time it's for good – CBC Sports

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Tom Brady, who won a record seven Super Bowls for New England and Tampa, has announced his retirement.

Brady — the most successful quarterback in NFL history, and one of the greatest athletes in team sports — posted the announcement on social media Wednesday morning, a brief video lasting just under one minute.

“Good morning guys. I’ll get to the point right away,” Brady says as the message begins. “I’m retiring. For good.”

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He briefly retired after the 2021 season, but wound up coming back for one more year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He retires at age 45, the owner of numerous passing records in an unprecedented 23-year career.

A year ago when he retired, it was in the form of a long Instagram post. But about six weeks later, he decided to come back for one more run. The Buccaneers — with whom he won a Super Bowl two seasons ago — made the playoffs again this season, losing in their playoff opener. And at the time, it begged the question about whether Brady would play again.

Only a couple weeks later, he has given the answer.

“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first,” Brady says in the video. “I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.

“I really thank you guys so much, to every single one of you for supporting me. My family, my friends, teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”

Brady is the NFL’s career leader in yards passing (89,214) and touchdowns (649). He’s the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and has been MVP of the game five times.

Famously underrated coming into the NFL — he was picked 199th in the 2000 draft by the Patriots, behind six other quarterbacks, three kickers and a punter — Brady certainly wasn’t expected to become synonymous with greatness. He played in one game as a rookie, completing one of three passes for six yards.

The next year, it all changed.

Brady took over as the Patriots’ starter, the team beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl that capped the 2001 season, and he and New England coach Bill Belichick were well on their way to becoming the most successful coach-QB duo in football history.

More Super Bowl wins came after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Patriots returned to football’s mountaintop for a fourth time in Brady’s era a decade later to cap the 2014 season, the start of three more titles in a span of five years.

In 2020, he joined the Buccaneers and won his seventh Super Bowl. He spent his last three years with Tampa Bay, getting them to the playoffs in each of those seasons.

3-time NFL MVP

“I think I’ve been on the record dozens of times saying there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady, and I still feel that way,” Belichick said in 2021 — shortly before Tampa Bay, with Brady, came to New England and beat the Patriots in a game dubbed “The Return.” “I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback, to coach him, and he was as good as any coach could ever ask for.”

Brady has won three NFL MVP awards, been a first-team All-Pro three times and selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times.

Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen finalized their divorce this past fall, during the Bucs’ season. It ended a 13-year marriage between two superstars who respectively reached the pinnacles of football and fashion.

It was announced last year that when Brady retires from playing, he would join Fox Sports as a television analyst in a 10-year, $375 million US deal.

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