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Brazil blanks Colombia, advances to men’s soccer semifinal

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After failing to score in group play Brazilian captain Neymar Jr. changed that Saturday night against Colombia, scoring on a free kick in the 12th minute to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Brazil would control the action for much of the night at Corinthians Arena, with Luan’s goal in the 83rd minute sealing the 2-0 victory. After struggling in their first two matches 0-0 draws against South Africa and Iraq, Brazil has won their last two matches by a combined score of 6-0.

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With that, they’re off to the Maracanã where they’ll take on Honduras in the semifinals Wednesday. The two nations met in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympic tournament, with Brazil winning 3-2 on their way to the silver medal in London.

Honduras earned their spot in the semifinals with a 1-0 win over South Korea, with Alberth Elis’ goal in the 59th minute being the difference. For head coach Jorge Luis Pinto, this trip to the Olympic semis comes two years after he led Costa Rica to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. South Korea had more possession of the ball and scoring opportunities, but they were unable to capitalize on any of those chances. And as a result, they won’t medal after taking bronze in London four years ago.

The other semifinal match pits Germany against Nigeria, with both posting impressive victories Saturday. A Serge Gnabry goal in first half stoppage time gave Germany a 1-0 lead on Portugal, and they would tack on three more goals in the second half to win 4-0. That result comes a year after Portugal whipped Germany 5-1 in the semifinals of the 2015 U-21 European Championships. As for Nigeria, they beat Denmark (which won the aforementioned U-21 Euros) 2-0 thanks to goals from Mikel John Obi and Aminu Umar.

Nigeria last won the Olympic gold medal in 1996, and Germany has yet to win gold as a unified nation (East Germany won in 1976).

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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