A new World Cup champion, more Lionel Messi magic and a Coco Gauff breakthrough

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Good morning! The soccer was good this weekend.

While You Were Sleeping

Spain wins the World Cup

If you’re just waking up …

Captain Olga Carmona’s one-timer from a tight angle delivered Spain its first Women’s World Cup title. The 1-0 victory over England was full of drama. Here’s what to know:

  • Spain deserved the victory, controlling the first half and creating more chances, even into stoppage time. By expected goals, the result wasn’t close: Spain 2.23, England 0.51.
  • England made two subs and changed its formation at halftime, but ended the match with only three shots on target — shut out for only the second time in the tournament.
  • England goalkeeper Mary Earps kept the Lionesses in the match, saving a Jenni Hermoso penalty in the 70th minute that could have sealed the match.

You can relive the entire match on our live blog, which is still capturing the post-match reaction.

It’s a remarkable run for Spain, which didn’t qualify for its first World Cup until 2015 and carried an all-time World Cup record of one win, four losses and two draws into this tournament. Spain entered the World Cup ranked sixth in the world, but defeated Nos. 3 and 4 (Sweden and England) in the semifinals and final, respectively.



Bonmati named WWC player of tournament; Earps wins Golden Glove

The trophy also comes amid a tumultuous year that divided the team. It’s been less than a year since 15 players — nicknamed “Las 15” — sent letters to the country’s soccer association requesting not to be called up until conditions improved.

The Athletic’s Laia Cervelló Herrero has a must-read on how Spain went from rebellion to World Cup glory.

While the tournament may be over, the conversation around growing women’s soccer is very much ongoing.

That, unfortunately, includes FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who made yet another ludicrous comment this week. He said that women who “pick the right fights” can “convince us men what we have to do” to bring about progress in the development of the women’s game. “With men, with FIFA, you will find open doors,” Infantino added, speaking directly to women. “Just push the doors. They are open.” Food for thought!

Leagues Cupdate

The Callender Game

Whew, the Leagues Cup final had it all. Best final in tournament history, you might even say. (Sorry.)

Messi had his moment with another jaw-dropping goal to give Inter Miami the early lead, but Nashville tied it up. The game went straight to penalties after regulation — because the Leagues Cup is fun — and the PKs went on until the goalies had to step up.

Inter Miami keeper Drake Callender (shoutout Cal) stepped up to take the 11th pen and absolutely nailed it. He turned right around and saved Nashville goalie Elliot Panicco’s shot to end the match.

The win gave Messi his 44th career trophy. Remember, this team is sitting last in the MLS Eastern Conference standings. Play resumes this week.


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(Photo: Kirk Irwin / Getty Images)

A breakthrough victory?

In the duo’s eighth meeting, American teenager Coco Gauff finally got her first win against world No. 1 Iga Świątek.

  • Gauff had never even won a set in 14 tries against Świątek before beating her in three in the Cincinnati Open semifinals yesterday.
  • Gauff, 19, plays in her first WTA 1000 final today against Karolína Muchová (1:30 p.m. ET)
  • She’s been on a roll since losing in the first round at Wimbledon — Gauff won the Citi Open, her first WTA 500 title, then at the National Bank Open, lost a hard-fought quarterfinal against fellow American Jessica Pegula.

A win today, needless to say, would be a strong jumping-off point for Gauff’s U.S. Open run that starts next week. She made it to the quarterfinals last year.

News to Know

NBA looking into Harden sitch

The NBA has launched an inquiry surrounding James Harden’s recent comments about 76ers president Daryl Morey. Harden made a splash earlier this week, reiterating his desire is to not play for Philadelphia while at an Adidas event in China. “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of,” Harden told the crowd in attendance. On Friday, Harden told a Houston TV station he believes his relationship with Morey and the 76ers “is beyond repair.”

USWNT shakeup continues

General manager Kate Markgraf is leaving the USWNT when her contract expires at the end of the month. The decision was reportedly made before the Women’s World Cup started. Markgraf, a decorated former U.S. national team defender, oversaw the coaching search that ended with Vlatko Andonovski’s hire. For those keeping score, U.S. Soccer has now seen turnover at sporting director, men’s national team coach and GM and women’s national team coach and GM this year.

Conference USA to the big leagues

The Angels called up a player drafted not six weeks ago. First baseman Nolan Schanuel — the No. 11 pick this year — joined Los Angeles, becoming the first position player since 2008 to debut during his draft year. Los Angeles drafted the former Florida Atlantic player out of need at first base, and with playoff hopes as good as dashed after a 5-13 start to August, the time is right to give the 21-year-old a try.

Another Butler women’s soccer lawsuit

A fourth woman has filed suit against Butler University for alleged sexual misconduct by an athletic trainer while she played on the school’s women’s soccer team, joining three other women’s soccer players who said they were sexually assaulted by the trainer and filed suit against the school last month. The woman, identified in the complaint as Jane Doe 4, said that Michael Howell, an athletic trainer with the university from 2012 to 2022, sexually assaulted her during treatments beginning in 2019. Katie Strang has the disturbing alleged details.

More news

You Need to See This

Baseball is weird, Part 74,065

Prior to Thursday, Red Sox infielder Luis Urías had one home run in 99 plate appearances this year. He had zero career grand slams — in his entire life, as we learned Saturday.

What happened next is one of those only-in-baseball quirks:

  • Urías ended his final at-bat of Thursday’s loss against the Nationals with a grand slam off Nationals left-hander Robert Garcia.
  • After getting Friday off, Urías showed up Saturday and drove the first pitch he saw from Gerrit Cole over the left-field wall at Yankee Stadium for … another grand slam.
  • Urías, acquired from the Brewers at the trade deadline, is the first Red Sox player to hit grand slams in back-to-back games played since Jimmie Foxx in 1940, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Boston went on to win 8-1. The Yankees (60-63) have lost seven in a row and are a distant eight games out of the wild card. Oof.

Pulse Picks

We’re now six days from the start of the college football season — including Notre Dame and USC’s season openers. David Ubben and Ari Wasserman recently took a look back at last season to identify 12 lessons we should apply to 2023.

What awaits Neymar and the other international stars who signed to play in the Saudi Pro League? Andrew Hankinson went to find out.

Bijan Robinson’s first NFL impression? Good! The Falcons running back broke off a 12-yard run on his first carry and looked the part in Atlanta’s second preseason game.

The Giants snagged Dodgers pitcher Darien Núñez straight out of the Tommy John recovery room. Los Angeles was not happy.

A number of questions remain about the Michael Oher-Tuohy family dispute. What we do know is that he’s now looking out for himself, and that should be viewed as a positive, Jim Trotter writes.

(Top photo: Justin Satterfield / Getty Images)

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