Photo by Celso Junior/Getty Images

Hojbjerg saves Denmark from Olympic opening loss to Iraq

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Jeppe Højbjerg’s hands helped Denmark keep Iraq off the scoreboard in an Olympic opener that will give more confidence to the Asian side.

The Esbjerg keeper was called upon several times against a busy Iraqi side who could’ve very well taken all three points in a 0-0 draw at the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília on Thursday.

Brazil and South Africa contend Group A’s other opening match at 3 p.m. EDT.

Iraq outshot Denmark 17-9, but Hojbjerg was the difference.

MORE: Highlights/match replay here

Denmark came close to opening incredibly well when Brentford man Lasse Vibe made a smart run from the right side to pop a shot off the far post.

Højbjerg was called into duty for a counter attack save moments later, as both sides kept the pace high early.

Denmark’s size advantage was on display early as the Danes worked the ball around the 18 via headed 50-50 wins.

Unfortunately, the match settled down in both sides’ thirds.

That changed in the 26th, as Denmark countered from a good spell of Iraqi possession. Vibe was parried by Mohammed Hameed, and a Danish foul stopped the rebound from mattering.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - AUGUST 04: Nielsen Casper #14 of Denmark and Hammadi Ahmed #7 of Iraq vie for the ball at Mane Garrincha Stadium on August 4, 2016 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo by Celso Junior/Getty Images)
(Photo by Celso Junior/Getty Images)

Udinese’s Ali Adnan forced Hojbjerg into a terrific punch save of a free kick just as the first half reached stoppage time, and a chippy half ended without a goal.

Hameed made a flying punch on Casper Nielsen to keep it scoreless off a 48th minute free kick.

Hammadi Ahmad forced Hojbjerg into an extending catch of a 22-yard shot with under 20 to play, as the match simultaneously felt open yet destined for 0-0.

That happened thanks to Hojbjerg, who made save after save in the final minutes thanks mostly to smart positioning.

Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

Danielle Perkins
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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA

Brigid Kosgei shatters marathon world record in Chicago

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Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered a 16-year-old world record in the women’s marathon by 81 seconds, winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04 on Sunday.

Brit Paula Radcliffe had held the record of 2:15:25 set at the 2003 London Marathon. Kenyan Mary Keitany holds the female-only record of 2:17:01 from the 2017 London Marathon. Both Kosgei and Radcliffe, the only women to break 2:17, ran with men in their record races.

Radcliffe’s record was the longest-standing for the men’s or women’s marathon of the last 50 years.

Kosgei did it one day after Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon in a non-record-eligible event in Vienna. She won by a gaping 6 minutes, 47 seconds over Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh.

Kosgei, who won Chicago in 2018 and the London Marathon in April, came in highly favored. The 25-year-old tuned up with the fastest half-marathon ever by a woman (by 23 seconds) on Sept. 8 on a non-record-eligible course.

“2:10 is possible for a lady,” Kosgei said after Sunday’s record.

Jordan Hasay, the top U.S. woman in the field, stopped after feeling a sharp hamstring strain after two miles. Hasay, who was coached by Alberto Salazar before his ban in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case, is one of several women in contention for the three Olympic spots at the Feb. 29 trials in Atlanta.

Kenyan Lawrence Cherono won the men’s race by one second over Ethiopian Dejene Debela in 2:05:45.

The U.S.’ top marathoner, Galen Rupp, dropped out around mile 23 after straining a calf around the sixth mile. Rupp, who was also coached by Salazar, was racing for the first time since the 2018 Chicago Marathon and Achilles surgery.

Mo Farah, the defending champion and four-time Olympic track gold medalist, finished eighth in 2:09:58. He also dropped from the leaders before the halfway point.

American Daniel Romanchuk and Swiss Manuela Schar won the wheelchair races.

Romanchuk, 21, repeated as champion. He has also won Boston London and New York City in the last year. Schar distanced decorated American Tatyana McFadden by 4:14, though McFadden did qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics with her runner-up finish (as did Romanchuk).

The fall major marathon season concludes with the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, featuring defending champions Mary Keitany and Lelisa Desisa and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden.

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MORE: Chicago Marathon results