Brazil rolls into men’s soccer knockout stage

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After two matches in which they failed to score a single goal, Brazil’s men’s soccer team was on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism heading into their group stage finale against Denmark Wednesday night. With Neymar Jr. and Gabriel Barbosa, nicknamed “Gabigol” for his ability to put the ball into the back of the net, the Brazilians weren’t expecting to see their team struggle as they did in scoreless draws against South Africa and Iraq.

That all changed against the Danes, as Gabriel Barbosa got the hosts onto the scoreboard in the 26th minute. From there Brazil would go on to score three more times, beating Denmark 4-0 to win Group A and clinch a spot in the knockout stage. Denmark also managed to go through, with Iraq and South Africa playing to a 1-1 draw keeping the Danes in second place on four points.

WATCH: Brazil rolls past Denmark, wins Group A

In the quarterfinal round Brazil will take on South American rival Colombia, while Denmark draws Group B winner Nigeria.

While Brazil managed to shake out of its funk Wednesday, the two teams whose nations combined to win the last three men’s soccer gold medals are headed home. Argentina, Brazil’s bitter rivals, finished tied for second in Group D with Honduras but inferior goal differential means that the gold medalists in 2004 and 2008 failed to advance. The 2012 gold medalists are also out, with Mexico finishing third in Group C behind South Korea and Germany.

Germany posted the high score of the day, as they routed Fiji 10-0 with Nils Petersen responsible for five of the goals. Next up for Germany is Group D winner Portugal, with South Korea facing Honduras in the quarterfinals.

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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