The Qatar World Cup is not a tournament "for fans", says Germany coach Hansi Flick, who believes "football should be there for everyone".

The latest staging of the flagship tournament has been the source of much controversy since it was awarded to Qatar in 2010.

The nation's stance towards women and the LGBTQ+ community was widely pointed to as a problem from the outset, while the deaths of thousands of migrant workers have been reported during preparation for the finals.

Given Qatar's limited accommodation facilities and the move to the middle of the European club season, the competition has presented issues for both fans and players, even beyond those moral debates.

And Flick had supporters in mind as he added his voice to those criticising the 2022 World Cup.

"Basically, I think it is a shame that this tournament will not be a World Cup for fans," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau.

"[I have friends] who would like to fly to Qatar, but choose not to for a variety of reasons. Football should be there for everyone. That is why I say it is not a World Cup for fans."

But Flick recognised making a direct political statement of protest was "a challenge for everyone involved", adding: "We have already had many discussions.

"We will sit down again in September and consider what we can do together with other nations – or want to do."

Flick will lead Germany into a major tournament for the first time after succeeding Joachim Low after a last-16 exit to England at Euro 2020.

They will face Japan, Spain and Costa Rica in Group E, with their first game to be played against the Samurai Blue on November 23.

 

Carlo Ancelotti hopes Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos stay at Real Madrid but says Los Blancos will "adapt" if they decide to move on.

Winger Asensio and midfielder Ceballos are in the final year of their contracts with the European and LaLiga champions.

Asensio has been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, while Ceballos is reportedly a target for his former club Real Betis.

Madrid boss Ancelotti knows there are no guarantees the duo will still be at the Santiago Bernabeu when the transfer window closes on September 1.

The Italian told reporters on Saturday: "They are here and working fine. Each one can comment on their future, but I focus on the squad I have with both.

"Until the 31st, it is like that. If something changes in their heads, we will adapt."

The champions start the defence of their LaLiga title at Almeria on Sunday, and Ancelotti is as hungry as ever for more trophies after a magnificent 2021-22 season.

"I have always said that I am passionate about this game," he said. "I'm working for the best club in the world, and that's where the motivation comes from.

"I wake up in the morning, I enjoy my day, and I'm enjoying my life here at Real Madrid. I know it won't be forever, but there's still a hunger, and I'm delighted to be the manager of Real Madrid."

Madrid face a hectic schedule ahead of the World Cup, but Ancelotti expects the bigger challenges to come after the tournament in Qatar.

He said: "Until the World Cup, we won't have many problems. The players will want to go in good condition, and they will prepare well, enjoying the games beforehand. 

"The big question we have is after the World Cup: how the players will return? After the World Cup, they usually go on vacation, and this year, they will return to enter the important moment of the season. 

"You have to assess fatigue, think about giving rest... These are things that we doubt today."

Kylian Mbappe suggests Karim Benzema would have to "stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever" if he did not win the top individual award this year.

Benzema is the favourite among the 30 Ballon d'Or nominees announced by France Football on Friday.

The announcement marked the end of an era, with last year's winner Lionel Messi absent from the shortlist for the first time since 2005.

Mbappe is at the forefront of the next generation of contenders, and he told France Football he would put himself on the 2022 podium alongside Benzema and Sadio Mane.

But the forward's France team-mate Benzema is clearly a deserving winner, having inspired Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory.

Indeed, Mbappe feels Benzema will never take home the Ballon d'Or if this is not his year.

"Of course. He is 34 years old, has just made the season of his life, wins another Champions League by often being decisive," the Paris Saint-Germain striker told France Football.

"Instead of Karim, if I don't win there [in that position], I stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever."

It has been a fine week for Benzema, who surpassed Raul as Madrid's outright second-highest goalscorer in a midweek Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, while he was shortlisted for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award ahead of his Ballon d'Or nomination.

But prior to the match in Helsinki, Benzema said: "I'm not like that in terms of whether I'm the best or not. I always give my all for this club, the best club in the world.

"I have to give more and more every year. It's true I had a very good season, but other people can comment on if I'm the best in the world. I'm focused on helping my team in matches, that's all I can say.

"I'm not thinking about [the Ballon d'Or]; there's trophies to win every year, that's very important. I always stress the importance of success for the team that leads to individual success."

After Madrid's victory, Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said there was "no doubt" that Benzema was the world's best player.

Matthijs de Ligt insists he did not "attack" Juventus when pointing out the club had underperformed, although he feels he will be better suited to playing for Bayern Munich.

De Ligt left Juve for Bayern ahead of the 2022-23 season, having widely been seen as failing to fulfil his potential in three years in Turin.

The Netherlands centre-back was outstanding in Ajax's run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, earning a move to Juve, where he faced a battle for his place.

De Ligt started fewer than 30 Serie A matches in each of his three seasons with the Bianconeri.

There was some backlash then when De Ligt, discussing the possibility of a transfer in June, criticised Juve's back-to-back fourth-placed finishes.

Speaking to De Telegraaf on Saturday, De Ligt explained: "In an interview with NOS in June, I said that – as the club itself thinks – to be fourth tw‪ice in a row with Juventus is not good enough.

"That was not an attack on Juventus. Not at all, because I will always have the utmost respect for this club.

"For me, it was just a fact that no one could be satisfied, that the bar had to be raised, including for me. Maybe it came across incorrectly."

De Ligt added he would "never forget" the help he received from his Juve team-mates in his "development as a footballer and as a person".

However, he likened the style of play in Serie A to chess, saying it is "much more tactical".

Now, De Ligt believes both he and Louis van Gaal's Netherlands team can benefit from his move to Bayern, where the approach is more in line with that he learned at Ajax.

"I am very happy that I was able to experience that [at Juve], that I was able to play that way, because I have learned a lot," he said.

"The reason for going to Juventus was also to become a better defender, even though there were differences with the Dutch national team.

"At Juventus, I often had to stay in the position, while at certain times I was required to go [forward] with the Oranje.

"At Bayern, I want to get my Ajax game back again.

"[Bayern coach Julian] Nagelsmann's playing style is much closer to what Louis van Gaal asks of his defenders: defending high, putting high pressure, connecting well and playing forward a lot.

"I think it's a move that can be good for the Dutch national team and my chances, but I did discuss the transfer with [Van Gaal]. He said he had a great time here."

Deshaun Watson "understands there's work to do" following his Cleveland Browns preseason debut, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski.

Watson has not played a competitive game since January 2021 and is set to see that wait extended at least into October.

The Browns quarterback is facing a six-game suspension following a disciplinary hearing, although the NFL has appealed for a longer ban after sexual assault and misconduct allegations.

Watson, who faced 24 civil lawsuits, was not charged by two grand juries and has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, but he apologised "to all of the women that I have impacted" ahead of Friday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When the game got underway, Watson was clearly rusty, with his first pass in a Browns uniform an awful overthrow.

Although the Browns won 24-13 – having trailed 13-0 – Stefanski acknowledged Watson's debut might not have gone exactly as he planned, but the coach was asked if the uncertainty around his suspension had contributed to the shaky performance and replied: "I don't think so, I don't."

Stefanski said: "I think he probably wants some throws back.

"Obviously playing football for the first time in a while, it was important for him to get out there, with his team-mates, in this scheme, hearing a different voice in the helmet, those kind of things.

"I'm sure he had the butterflies and the jitters early, but I think he understands there's work to do."

While Watson's status has been unclear for some time, Stefanski explained the team had been working towards giving him his bow in preseason.

"It's been something we've been talking about throughout the last months and weeks, trying to figure out what the best path forward was not just for our quarterbacks but for our entire team," he said.

"We just thought getting him some time out there in a game setting made sense in this preseason."

Fernando Tatis Jr.'s suspension for a drug violation represents "a blow" to the San Diego Padres, but the team are still confident they can make the World Series.

Tatis was banned for 80 games on Friday after testing positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance.

The star shortstop said he had taken a medicine containing Clostebol to treat ringworm.

It means the Padres will not see Tatis for the rest of this year or for the first 32 games of the 2023 season.

San Diego had been eagerly awaiting the return of the two-time Silver Slugger Award winner following a broken wrist sustained during the MLB lockout.

Manager Bob Melvin had revealed prior to Friday's news that Tatis could have made his season debut as soon as next week.

Now, the team – who occupy the third NL wild-card berth – will have to make do without him, meaning Melvin is relieved they went all out at the trade deadline with a blockbuster move for Juan Soto among a number of signings.

"This is a blow for us. We'll have to move on," Melvin said.

"I'm glad we made the moves we did at the deadline. We feel like we have a really good team still, and sometimes you have to deal with some adversity as a team."

Indeed, Tatis' team-mate Manny Machado sees no reason why the Padres should adjust their aims in light of the suspension.

"He hasn’t been part of the team all year," the third baseman said. "We've gotten to this point so far without him.

"We were waiting for him to get back and hopefully for him to be a spark plug for the team.

"We have the guys to get where we want to be. Obviously, with the trade deadline, what we did there, we reinforced the team and made the team a lot better.

"We still have the same goal, which is to try and make a World Series and bring a championship to San Diego. That's what we're going to try to do."

Edin Terzic needed a record-breaking intervention from his Borussia Dortmund substitutes to achieve his own BVB first in a 3-1 win at Freiburg on Friday.

Dortmund boss Terzic was bidding to become the first coach to win nine consecutive Bundesliga games with the club, but it was all going wrong when Michael Gregoritsch had Freiburg in front at half-time.

And the scoreline was still 1-0 with 20 minutes to go when Youssoufa Moukoko was introduced from the bench.

But the 17-year-old had a huge impact, first teeing up fellow teenager Jamie Bynoe-Gittens to net his first league goal before giving Dortmund the lead himself.

Marius Wolf made sure of the points with two minutes to play, with all three scorers coming on as substitutes – a Bundesliga first for Dortmund.

BVB sold Erling Haaland to Manchester City ahead of this season but clearly have no shortage of young goalscorers, with Bynoe-Gittens picked out by Terzic for special praise.

"It's basically very simple for him: he has the skills to decide games," Terzic told DAZN.

"He's a game-changer – and I wanted to see that from him. And not that he just plays the game, but that he makes the difference. He did that."

Bynoe-Gittens only turned 18 on Monday, with team-mate Jude Bellingham (17 years, 285 days) the sole English player to score in the Bundesliga at a younger age.

Explaining his 64th-minute introduction in a news conference, Terzic added: "We simply opted for the quality of Jamie.

"In the first half, we had a few spaces between the lines where we stuck in the last line for too long.

"But Jamie is someone who can step in and turn up the heat with his first contact – and above all, he can speed up the game again. That's how we imagined it.

"He animated the game very well and was involved in a lot of good offensive moves."

Moukoko also earned plenty of plaudits, with two goal involvements in a single Bundesliga game for the first time. He only contributed two in the whole of last season.

"He's a huge talent," said new signing Anthony Modeste. "I think I can help him. I like to give him tips."

Moukoko added: "We fought for the coach, for the fans and for us. In the end, you saw the emotions.

"We didn't start the game well, and after Freiburg were 1-0 up, it got even more difficult. We needed luck today.

"After Jamie made it 1-1, we were fully in the game. I always felt like we could turn the game around."

Aaron Judge homered for the 46th time this season to bring up his 100th RBI, but the New York Yankees lost again, beaten 3-2 by the Boston Red Sox in extras on Friday.

Judge cleared the green monster at the top of the third inning with a 429-foot blast to put the Yankees up 2-0.

The home run was 46th for the season, meaning he is equal with Babe Ruth (1921) for homers in the first 113 team games in MLB history. Barry Bonds is the only player to better both, with 48 in 2001.

J.D. Martinez brought in Alex Verdugo to make it 2-1 in the fourth inning, before Martinez sent the game to extras with a ninth-inning RBI with Xander Bogaerts scoring.

In extras, Tommy Pham was the hero for the Red Sox at the bottom of the 10th inning with a shot down the third-base line allowing Christian Arroyo to score.

The result means the Yankees' recent woes continue, sitting 71-42 at the top of the American League (AL) East, with the Red Sox last in that division with a 56-58 record.

 

Soto returns to D.C. to rousing reception

Juan Soto returned to the capital for the first time since his trade from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres earlier this month, receiving a heroes' welcome.

Soto registered his first hit against his former team in the fifth inning, before the Padres piled on seven runs in the frame to open up an 8-0 lead.

Jefferson Profar and Soto scored from Manny Machado's two-run RBI. Soto, who went 2-6, drove in an RBI in the fifth as the Padres ran away 10-5 winners.

 

Mets' winning run halted by walk-off Phillies

The presence of Max Scherzer was not enough to prevent the Philadelphia Phillies from snapping the New York Mets' six-game win streak in a 2-1 walk-off defeat.

Scherzer pitched across seven innings with six strikeouts and nine hits, his second most this season. The Mets right-hander did not walk anyone and only allowed one earned run.

The game went to extras, before Bryson Stott got home from Alec Bohm's sacrifice fly to right fielder Starling Marte, who thundered in a throw but catcher Tomas Nido could not complete the out on the hop.

Two-time major winner Simona Halep continues to find form ahead of the upcoming US Open with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) victory over Coco Gauff clinching her spot in the Canadian Open semi-finals.

Halep defeated 10th seed Gauff, who had beaten Naomi Osaka, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka this week, in one hour and 47 minutes.

The Romanian 15th seed was broken five times and sent down eight double faults, but found the edge with speed, finesse and power.

The win means Halep has won the third most matches (36-10) on the WTA Tour this season, behind only top-ranked Iga Swiatek (49) and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeir (37).

Halep's improved form comes after she teamed up with Serena Williams' ex-coach Patrick Mouratoglou in April following a difficult 2021 season.

"Before I met him I was super down with my motivation," Halep told reporters. "I couldn't really work, keep working. I was almost done with tennis. He brought this fire back and the motivation. He trusted that I still can play good tennis and he transferred this to me."

The 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion added: "Physically I'm good. Mentally I'm good, so I think it's all positive."

Halep, who won the Canadian Open in 2018, has reached the semi-finals for the fifth time in her career where she will take on seventh seed Jessica Pegula.

Pegula got past Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes. Qualifying for the last four at the Canadian Open for the second straight year.

Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia maintained her Canadian Open run, having ousted Swiatek in the third round and local favourite Leylah Fernandez in the second, with a 2-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic in two hours and 11 minutes.

Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian to reach the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 tournament. She will face Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals after the Czech 14th seed beat Qinwen Zheng 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Serena Williams has been drawn to face reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in a blockbuster first-round match-up at next week's Cincinnati Masters.

Williams, who earlier this week declared her intention to retire after the upcoming US Open, will open her tournament on Monday evening against the 19-year-old Briton who is currently ranked 10th in the world.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion recorded her first singles win in more than a year at this week's Canadian Open, defeating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz on Monday, before losing in the second round to Belinda Bencic.

In between the matches, Williams had signaled her retirement plans in an article in Vogue magazine.

The first-round clash is one of several intriguing matches including 14th seed Karolina Pliskova meeting Venus Williams, two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka facing Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

In-form Simona Halep is drawn against 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Muchova, while four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka will face Zhang Shuai.

In the men's singles draw, 12th seed Matteo Berrettini will face Frances Tiafoe straight up, while Nick Kyrgios is scheduled to take on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Nick Kyrgios' red-hot form has been halted after going down in three sets to eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Open on Friday.

Hurkacz ran away with victory, triumphing 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 in one hour and 46 minutes in Montreal.

Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios had come into the encounter fresh from winning 15 of his past 16 matches, including lifting the title at last week's Washington Open. Kyrgios' run had fueled expectations around him at the upcoming US Open.

"Nick has been playing some incredible tennis throughout the past weeks, so it is a pleasure playing against him," Hurkacz said post-match in his on-court interview.

"I started really well. Nick was maybe a little bit injured, which might have hurt his serve. With both of us serving so well, that few per cent can make the difference."

Kyrgios was quick on serve but the 25-year-old Pole eventually ground him down, prevailing in the third set aided by an early break.

That break came after Kyrgios gave up two double faults, leading to the Australian to complain to the umpire about his opponent's mid-match break for a change of clothes.

The Australian was unable to break Hurkacz's serve throughout the match, with the Pole edging the aces count 20-19, while he was also superior on return. Kyrgios had more winners (55-47), but more unforced errors (24-13).

Hurkacz, who will face fourth seed Casper Ruud in the semi-finals, is the only former Masters 1000 champion left in the draw.

Ruud cruised into the last four with a 6-1 6-2 victory over hometown hero Felix Auger-Aliassime who was brushed aside in one hour and 14 minutes.

The Norwegian's win marks his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final of the season, with the Canadian plagued by 21 unforced errors compared to Ruud's eight.

Unseeded Briton Daniel Evans fought back from a lopsided opening set to knock off Tommy Paul 1-6 6-3 6-4.

Evans will face Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta after he defeated Jack Draper 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 in just under two hours.

The New York Jets have had a nightmare start to their preseason with second-year quarterback Zach Wilson limping out of Friday's 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Wilson suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter, buckling without contact as he scrambled out of the pocket trying to outrun a tackler.

The 23-year-old Jets QB fell, got up limping, before dropping to the turf again and exiting for the locker room.

Wilson had thrown an interception on the Jets' fifth play, finishing the game completing three of five passes for 23 yards.

The injury concern is to the same knee that he sustained a PCL sprain last season, causing him to miss four games.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh revealed Wilson would have an MRI on Saturday to determine the extent of the injury but said his ACL was "supposed to be intact".

The Jets have high hopes for their 2021 NFL Draft second pick, building their roster around him this offseason, having bolstered their offensive ranks with tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin and drafting wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall.

Wilson had a difficult rookie season with a 3-10 record, completing 213 of 383 attempts for nine touchdowns and 2,334 yards with 11 interceptions for a 55.6 completion rate.

There were other injury worries from Friday's preseason games with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London hurting his right knee in their 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions.

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell watched on in their clash with the Green Bay Packers after suffering a hamstring injury during their camp.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen, covering for Joe Burrow who is recovering from an appendectomy, was ruled out due to a concussion in their 36-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

 

The San Diego Padres hoped to get injured star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. back in the lineup soon for a push to the postseason.

Those hopes were dashed Friday when Tatis received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

With the suspension effective immediately, Tatis will not play in the majors this season and will then miss the first 32 games next season.

MLB said Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance.

"I've been informed by Major League Baseball that a test sample I submitted returned a positive result for Clostebol, a banned substance," Tatis said in a statement through the MLBPA.

"It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol. I should have used the resources available to me in order to ensure that no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so.

"I want to apologise to Peter, AJ, the entire Padres organisation, my teammates, Major League Baseball, and fans everywhere for my mistake. I have no excuse for my error, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect the game I love."

Tatis has yet to play this season after breaking his left wrist, reportedly in a December motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic. He had surgery in mid-March and began a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Aug. 6.

"Obviously, everybody's very disappointed. Somebody that from the organization's standpoint we invested time and money into," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said.

Tatis was an All-Star last season when he hit .282 with a NL-leading 42 home runs and 97 RBIs.

He becomes one of the most prominent players penalized for PEDs, joining the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Robinson Cano and Miguel Tejada.

The Padres entered Friday 63-51 and hold the final of three NL wild-card spots. They recently acquired superstar Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals and hoped to have Tatis join a formidable lineup with Soto and All-Star Manny Machado.

The San Diego Padres hoped to get injured star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. back in the lineup soon for a push to the postseason.

Those hopes were dashed Friday when Tatis received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

With the suspension effective immediately, Tatis will not play in the majors this season and will then miss the first 32 games next season.

MLB said Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance.

"I've been informed by Major League Baseball that a test sample I submitted returned a positive result for Clostebol, a banned substance," Tatis said in a statement through the MLBPA.

"It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol. I should have used the resources available to me in order to ensure that no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so.

"I want to apologise to Peter, AJ, the entire Padres organisation, my teammates, Major League Baseball, and fans everywhere for my mistake. I have no excuse for my error, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect the game I love."

Tatis has yet to play this season after breaking his left wrist, reportedly in a December motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic. He had surgery in mid-March and began a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Aug. 6.

"Obviously, everybody's very disappointed. Somebody that from the organization's standpoint we invested time and money into," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said.

Tatis was an All-Star last season when he hit .282 with a NL-leading 42 home runs and 97 RBIs.

He becomes one of the most prominent players penalized for PEDs, joining the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Robinson Cano and Miguel Tejada.

The Padres entered Friday 63-51 and hold the final of three NL wild-card spots. They recently acquired superstar Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals and hoped to have Tatis join a formidable lineup with Soto and All-Star Manny Machado.

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