LeBron James says there are multiple factors that will determine whether he ends up playing at the Olympic Games this year.

The Los Angeles Lakers star is one of 44 finalists for a place in the United States men's basketball team and he acknowledged his "name is in the hat".

By early June, that group will be cut down to a final 12 to play at the Olympics in Tokyo and, should he feature, James will join Carmelo Anthony as the second player to represent Team USA at four separate Games.

The 12-team basketball event will run from July 25 until August 9 and James is unsure over his participation at this stage of the NBA season.

But he was thrilled to see five Lakers players make the initial group, with Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard and Javale McGee also included.

"Spectacular, it's amazing," said the 35-year-old. 

"We're very well represented with the Lake Show representing the red, white and blue. So it's a pretty cool thing."

On his participation, James added: "It's always predicated on: one, my body, how my body is feeling at the end of the season – I hope to make a long playoff run.

"And then where my mind is and then where my family's head is. So it's a lot of factors, but my name is in the hat."

James was speaking after the Lakers cruised to a 125-100 home win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday, a fourth win from five games moving them to 40-12 for the season.

Davis had 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo impressed from the bench with 23 points as Howard added 14 points and 15 rebounds.

James, meanwhile, narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the Lakers reached 40 wins before the All-Star break for the first time in nine years.

"It was a great game for our bench," said James.

"Rajon had great pace all night and he was taking all the looks he was getting. Dwight controlled the glass."

Suns coach Monty Williams added: "We dared Rondo to shoot from the perimeter and he made us pay."

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were among the 44 finalists for a place in the United States men's basketball team for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Three-time Olympic medallist James and nine of the players from the successful 2016 campaign in Rio were included on the list announced by USA Basketball on Monday.

Should the Los Angeles Lakers star make the final 12-man roster, he will join Carmelo Anthony as the second player to represent Team USA at four separate Games.

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson won gold in Brazil four years ago and have made the cut despite being yet to play a minute in the NBA this season due to respective Achilles and knee injuries.

Curry was named despite being sidelined since October with a broken left hand.

All 12 members of the USA's 2019 FIBA World Cup team remain in the running, with 21 NBA franchises represented in the 44-man list.

Head coach Gregg Popovich said: "I'm looking forward to coaching the U.S. Olympic Team, and I'm excited about the potential and possibilities this team has.

"Anyone who follows international basketball knows there are many really good players from all around the world, and therefore there are many excellent national teams.

"International basketball has improved so much from the days of the 'Dream Team'. The Olympics in 2020 will be a true competition, and there are many teams that will have a legitimate shot at capturing gold."

 

Finalists for the USA's Tokyo 2020 team:

Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), Mike Conley (Utah Jazz), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs), Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers), Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets), Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers), Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics), Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), JaVale McGee (Los Angeles Lakers), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).

Noted trainer Antony ‘Baba’ Nunes has strongly reprimanded the Jamaica Veterinary Services Division for treatment meted out to Triple Crown winner Supreme Soul who remains quarantined in the United States.

The United States have shelved a planned national team training camp in Qatar due to rising political tensions in the Middle East.

US Soccer announced the decision on Friday, less than 24 hours after the Pentagon confirmed US president Donald Trump had ordered the drone strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport.

The incident prompted Iran's supreme leader to vow retaliation against those responsible.

A 25-man USA squad had been due to spend close to a month training at the Aspire Academy in Doha beginning January 5, but the trip has been put on hold.

"Due to the developing situation in the region, US Soccer has decided to postpone travelling to Qatar for the Men's National Team's scheduled January training camp," the federation said in a statement.

"In the meantime, we are working on alternative arrangements in preparation for the match against Costa Rica on February 1 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

"We are working with the Qatar Football Association to find an opportunity in the near future for our team to experience Qatar's world-class facilities and hospitality."

The camp was expected to include a friendly against Jesse Marsch's Salzburg, but Gregg Berhalter's men will reportedly now assemble domestically as they build towards their first match of 2020.

When the 2010s began, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka had a combined major tally of zero.

Tiger Woods boasted 14 but was weathering the storm of a very public scandal and about to endure a barren spell almost as remarkable as his reign of dominance.

The holders of golf's four most prestigious titles were Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and YE Yang.

Meanwhile, the Ryder Cup resided in the United States, claimed in dominant fashion against Nick Faldo's beleaguered European side at Valhalla. 

Reflecting now on the 11 majors shared by McIlroy, Spieth and Koepka; the stunning return to glory enjoyed by Woods at the 2019 Masters; the relative obscurity of Cabrera, Glover, Cink and Yang; and Europe winning four of the past five Ryder Cups, it becomes apparent just how drastically the golfing landscape has changed.

It ought to be enough to warn anyone off making predictions for the 10 years ahead, but Omnisport's golf experts Russell Greaves and Peter Hanson have gone ahead and done it anyway.

 

CAN TIGER CATCH JACK?

The facts: Woods' victory at Augusta earned him a fifth green jacket and 15th major, leaving him three behind Jack Nicklaus.

RG: This is one of the longest-running debates in sport, up there with the Messi-Ronaldo argument in football.

I suspect in both cases I will take a different view from my colleague (it's Messi, hands down), as I'm of the opinion that Tiger's long pursuit of Nicklaus' haul of 18 majors will prove in vain. He spent most of the 2010s in decline and has left it too late to pull out of that nosedive.

In mid-May 2024 he will hit a significant landmark in becoming older than the oldest major winner in history – the 1968 US PGA Championship victor Julius Boros, who was 48 years, four months and 18 days old. Time is against Tiger and even he doesn't have a club in the bag to fashion a way out of the hazard that is old age. 

PH: Not unlike the Messi-Ronaldo debate (for which Ronaldo is the obvious answer), this discussion has become a little weary and repetitive in recent years.

But here's the thing, we're not discussing your average athlete. This isn't a mere a golfing mortal. Tiger Woods is a once-in-a-generation talent, one who had been consistently written off before his glorious Augusta triumph in April. Such an achievement did admittedly appear beyond him.

Never again should we make the mistake of saying a target is beyond Woods' reach. Time may be against him but if any player is capable of winning a major in their fifties it's Tiger. Simply, Woods can achieve the unthinkable over the next decade.

RORY'S GLORY DAYS OVER?

The facts: McIlroy won his fourth major in 2014 but has not tasted victory since.

RG: It speaks volumes of McIlroy's quality that people look upon his CV – featuring four major wins and 95 weeks at the summit of the world rankings – and consider him to have underachieved.

It is a compliment and insult all at once; an emphatic underlining of how high expectations are, and also a crude dismissal of his already lofty achievements.

But in the decade to come, McIlroy will enjoy a resurgence in majors and cement his place among the all-time greats. 

PH: When McIlroy won major number four, and a second US PGA Championship, at Valhalla in August 2014, you would have been laughed at hysterically for suggesting he would not win another before the close of the decade.

And yet, for one reason or another, it has not quite clicked for McIlroy since. There have been near misses, plenty of 'what ifs' and no shortage of frustrations. We have seen a much more serene McIlroy over the past few years and you do wonder if some of the edge that made him such a formidable talent is gone.

Still, McIlroy is a phenomenal competitor. It is hard to imagine he will not again be a major winner over the next 10 years. But you sense it may be a return of six or seven career majors rather than the double-digit tally many previously predicted.

WHO WILL ENJOY RYDER CUP SUPREMACY?

The facts: Team Europe have claimed eight of the previous 10 Ryder Cups and won the 2018 edition by seven points.

RG: Thomas Bjorn's Europe produced a superb performance to win the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, but do not expect to see similar scenes again any time soon.

That result in France represented a shock that is not likely to be repeated. Team USA boast far greater strength in depth and how much longer can the likes of Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter continue to defy their relatively lowly ranking to deliver the goods on this stage?

If the USA lacked anything in 2018, it was the sense of togetherness so evident within the hosts, but with that lesson now learned the harsh way they will be raring to go at Whistling Straits and in the tournaments to come this decade, three of which will be Stateside. 

PH: Every time we reach a Ryder Cup it seems as though Europe are written off before a ball has even been struck off a tee. And yet, last year, it was again the Americans preparing for an ugly post-mortem.

There is something about this glorious competition that stirs a response in the Europeans that the Americans just simply cannot seem to replicate – or certainly not on the same consistent basis.

Sure, the likes of Garcia and Poulter are nearing the end of their famous journeys, but the heroics of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood in Paris - coupled with the fact the likes of Justin Rose, McIlroy and Jon Rahm have plenty of golf left in them - means there remains a strong nucleus. Home or away, Europe will still have the upper hand when it comes to the Ryder Cup in the 2020s.

AMERICA v REST OF THE WORLD: WHO WILL WIN THE MOST MAJORS?

The facts: Three of the four majors are held by Americans. The most recent US clean sweep was in 1982, while 1994 was the last year that no American won one. In the 2010s, it finished America 21-19 rest of the world. 

RG: There will be another American lockout of the majors in the coming decade, quite probably more than one. It has been a close call in the previous two years and the past eight majors in the US have been won by home hopes.

Consider the five most recent non-Americans who spoiled the party – Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari and Shane Lowry – what odds on any of those repeating the feat? I'll accept Molinari as a 50-50 but wouldn't back any of the others.

With Brooks Koepka (more on him later) such a keen collector of majors, Tiger still prowling (I said he wouldn't get to 18, but I fancy him for another Masters title), Patrick Reed a likely repeat winner, Dustin Johnson surely destined to win another and Justin Thomas a shoo-in, I see a lot of silverware finding its home in the United States.

PH: The Ryder Cup is one thing but the majors are a completely different animal and in that regard the Americans are locked in to dominate.

In each of the previous three years, the United States were missing just once victor to complete a sweep and I just feel it is a feat that is guaranteed to be achieved at some stage in the next decade.

There is enough talent in McIlroy, Rahm, Fleetwood and Rose to keep things close but, I have to agree with Russ here, the strength in depth possessed by America means there is only one outcome to this question.

 

CAN KOEPKA KEEP UP THE PACE?

The facts: Koepka triumphed four times in eight major outings from the 2017 U.S. Open to the 2019 US PGA Championship, while by the end of the latter year his record showed a T6, T4, T2 and outright second-placed finish across the sport's quartet of headline events.

RG: It would be fascinating to see anyone make the case for Koepka failing to add to his impressive major haul, and it's not something I'm willing to attempt.

The guy is a stone-cold winner when it comes to the big tournaments and nothing about him – from his technical brilliance to his mental toughness – suggests he will go off the rails.

He is one victory away from tying with the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Phil Mickelson, and two away from Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino – he will surpass them all.

PH: I have to start my answer here with a caveat. You will not find a bigger Brooks Koepka fanboy in the world than me. I simply love the guy. He is someone who is just unashamedly himself and why would you not be with the success he has had?

What is remarkable is the way Koepka came from relative obscurity to become the best in the world. While McIlroy, Spieth, Thomas and countless others were making claims to be the dominant force, Koepka – who cut his teeth on the European Tour, a rarity for an American – came up on the rails to steal a march on more well-known and, some would argue, marketable names.

But that chip on the shoulder is what I admire most about him and what makes him so difficult to beat. At this stage, I genuinely believe it is just a question of how many majors he will win. I don't think it is a stretch in any way to say he will have at least 10 in 2029.

WHO WILL BE THE FIRST-TIME MAJOR WINNERS?

The facts: There are 40 majors in any given decade and in the 2010s there were 25 first-time winners.

RG: As the numbers above suggest, there is a lot of scope for maiden major winners in the space of 10 years, but let's pick out four who are pretty much nailed on. 

Tony Finau has got everything required to join the club and I'm confident his compatriot Rickie Fowler will finally get off the mark too.

On the European side, Jon Rahm will follow in the footsteps of fellow Spaniards Seve and Sergio, while Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood is also a safe bet.

PH: This is always a fun question and one where you can look like the fount of all knowledge or end up with egg splattered all over your face.

Continuing a theme of predicted American dominance, I think the most obvious candidate to break their duck is Xander Schauffele, a man who has four top-five finishes and another inside the top 10 to his name.

Compatriot Patrick Cantlay is another I expect to see win one of golf's big four, while Bryson DeChambeau and Finau are outside bets. Rahm has all the makings of a major winner too, I just hope it doesn't take him as long as it did Sergio to become one. I also see Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick becoming Open champions.

The United States claimed their eighth consecutive Presidents Cup after becoming the first team to win the tournament when trailing at the start of the final day.

 

The United States confirmed its place in the summer 2020 Concacaf Nations League Final Four with a 4-0 victory over Cuba at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Cayman Islands putting the U.S. atop Group A of League A.

The United States moved into the CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals after a 4-0 win over Cuba on Tuesday.

USA were ahead inside a minute in the Cayman Islands through Josh Sargent and never looked back, Jordan Morris adding a first-half brace.

Morris continued his fine run of form for USA before Sargent sealed his side's victory during a quieter second half.

The win ensured Gregg Berhalter's side of top spot in Group A of League A and a spot in the semi-finals on goal difference.

USA opened the scoring inside 40 seconds through Sargent.

Paul Arriola did the hard work down the right before crossing for Sargent, who scored from close range as he put Cuba goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez under pressure.

USA dominated the first half and Weston McKennie had a goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Erick Rizo in the eighth minute.

However, the visitors doubled their lead through Morris, who made no mistake in a one-on-one with Sanchez after a great flick-on header by McKennie.

Morris struck again six minutes before half-time, although the forward seemed apologetic to Aaron Long.

Long's ball from the left side of the area went over Sanchez and Morris tapped in on the goal-line to make it 3-0.

After a quieter start to the second half, USA added to their lead through Sargent's second.

Tyler Boyd flicked Reggie Cannon's back-post cross into the path of Sargent, who converted from inside the area in the 66th minute.

USA cruised late on, easing to an important victory and seeing Cuba finish without a point in the group.

 

What does it mean? USA put Canada hiccup aside

A 2-0 loss to Canada in Toronto in October had Berhalter under enormous pressure at the helm, but USA have responded. Wins over Canada (4-1) and Cuba this international break – and a spot in the semi-finals – have surely been enough to ease the pressure on Berhalter.

USA developing fast-start habit

For the second game in a row, USA scored inside two minutes. They also netted three times in the opening nine minutes against Cuba in October and Berhalter will be hoping they can continue their fast starts going forward.

Morris caps off stellar 2019

Morris' brace meant he has scored in four of his past five appearances for USA. The Seattle Sounders forward has netted five of his 10 international goals since September in a fine run of form.

What's next?

Both countries have played their final games of the year, but USA can look forward to the Nations League semi-finals in June 2020.

The United States suffered another defeat in this season’s Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup, failing to chase down a low total from the Windward Islands Hurricanes to lose by 44 runs at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Wednesday.

Facing the music first, the Volcanoes struggled in a start-stop innings to end on 225-9 but then turned in a workmanlike shift with the ball to dismiss the United States for 182 in 45.5 overs.

In their at-bat, the Volcanoes found themselves on the back foot with Devon Smith and Kirk Edwards going for nought and number three batsman, Emmanuel Stewart, splitting the wickets with just four to leave the side at 17-3.

At the other end of the crease, Desron Maloney put together 42 from 59 deliveries and was joined by Kaveem Hodge, who scored the same number of runs from 56 deliveries in a 55-run partnership.

Alick Athanaze also got a start for the Volcanoes, scoring 25, but failed to carry on, while Kerron Cottoy top-scored with a run-a-ball 43, while Shane Shillingford got to 31 before meeting his demise.

The starts with nobody really going on to score heavily meant a sub-par score, with Elmore Hutchinson, 2-37, Jessy Singh, 2-24, and Cameron Stevenson, 2-49, sharing the bulk of the wicket-taking work.

There was also a wicket apiece for Ian Holland (1-36) and Timil Patel (1-36).

When the US batted, they were thwarted by a five-fer from Kerron Cottoy, his 5-37, putting an end to any real challenge the visitors could have put forward. Cottoy got good support from Athinaze, whose 3-24 was invaluable to the win.  Shermon Lewis, 1-26, and Larry Edward, 1-47, were the other wicket-takers for the Volcanoes against the solo effort of Steven Taylor, who scored 62.

Christian Taylor, a seven-time Diamond League champion, has announced the formation of The Athletics Association, an association for all professional athletes from across the globe and has encouraged athletes worldwide to join and take back power from the IAAF.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his sixth Formula One world title after finishing second at the United States Grand Prix as team-mate Valtteri Bottas topped the podium.

Needing a top-eight finish to guarantee a third championship in a row, the Mercedes driver climbed from fifth on the grid to wrap up the championship with two races to spare.

It is the Briton's fifth win in six seasons and moves him second on the all-time list, clear of Juan Manuel Fangio and one behind Michael Schumacher. 

He has won 10 grands prix this year and sits 67 points clear of Bottas with a maximum 50 left to claim.

Max Verstappen took third for Red Bull in his 100th grand prix to complete the podium at the Circuit of the Americas, while Sebastian Vettel endured a day to forget as he was forced into an early retirement. 

Hamilton made an excellent start and quickly climbed from fifth to third, with Ferrari duo Vettel and Charles Leclerc dropping two places each before the former was halted by a suspension failure.

As drivers started to implement differing pit-stop strategies, Hamilton – aiming to stop just once – found himself leading the way inside 20 laps.

Indeed, he was the last of the frontrunners to pit and when he did, Hamilton emerged in third and safe in the knowledge his rivals would need to come in again.

That left him in prime position again coming into the final third of the race, although Bottas was clocking a series of impressive lap times to underline his threat.

The challenge then for Hamilton was to get the best out of deteriorating tyres, just as he did to prevail in Mexico last time out.

Ultimately that proved a bridge too far, Bottas capitalising on his greater tyre performance to overtake on lap 52 and take his fourth win of the campaign despite a strong defence from his fellow Mercedes driver.

It was still Hamilton's day, though, as he secured the title Stateside for the second time, having also done so in 2015.

 

HAMILTON NOT JUST ALONG FOR THE RIDE

Given the relatively modest requirement of placing inside the top eight, Hamilton could have been forgiven for taking it easy.

However, that is clearly not the 34-year-old's style and he was there to race for the win, which would have been his seventh at this track.

That desire to be first is a core strength of Hamilton's and he will doubtless already be thinking about an assault on the 2020 world championship.

Hamilton aggressively defended his lead in the closing laps but could not quite hold off the surging challenge of Bottas.

He now has two races left to complete his most successful season - in terms of wins - having taken the chequered flag 11 times in 2014 and 2018.

SEBASTIAN VET-HELL

It has been a frustrating season for Ferrari and four-time world champion Vettel, whose race was halted after only nine laps.

The German appeared to suffer a suspension issue after going over the newly installed sausage kerbs.

Vettel had started second on the grid and will have fancied his chances of challenging for only a second race win of 2019.

But he was soon looking at the back of Hamilton's car after reporting damage within moments of the start.

And his day only got worse, with an early retirement dealing huge damage to any hopes of outperforming team-mate Leclerc. 

Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini were the heroes as Canada outclassed and upstaged the United States 2-0 in their CONCACAF Nations League clash.

Bayern Munich sensation Davies broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute and Cavallini sealed the triumph in stoppage time in Toronto on Tuesday.

It was Canada's first goals against USA since the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the country's first victory over their rivals since 1985 as they stayed perfect in Group A.

USA produced a merciless performance to open their Nations League campaign with a 7-0 rout of Cuba last week, inspired by Weston McKennie's 13-minute hat-trick.

However, USA were second best and struggled to keep the ball throughout the first half in Canada, where the hosts hustled the United States out of their stride.

In a half lacking rhythm, Canada should have taken the lead in the 16th minute but teenager Jonathan David wasted two big chances.

A backpass went straight to the feet of David, who was initially denied by USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen at point-blank range before firing wide of the post.

Another chance went begging for David five minutes into the second half after the 19-year-old Canadian side-footed agonisingly wide of the near post.

USA went up the other end moments later and almost took the lead against the run of play, but Christian Pulisic's tame shot was easily dealt with by Milan Bojan after being played in by Jordan Morris.

Canada finally got their goal in the 63rd minute and it was fully deserved as Davies bundled the ball over the line after USA twice failed to clear the danger.

Only Steffen stood in between Canada and a second goal after he thwarted Junior Hoilett with 19 minutes remaining as USA's dire performance continued, but Cavallini's 91st-minute goal capped a great night for Canada.

 

What does it mean? Canada preserve perfect record

Canada created distance between themselves and USA after making it three wins from three games in Group A. Canada are yet to concede a goal, while USA are six points adrift having played a match less in the race for the semi-finals.

Pulisic's struggles continue

It was another disappointing outing for Pulisic, who was hauled off approaching the hour mark. Already struggling for game time at Chelsea following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, the USA star cut a dejected figure after being substituted on the back of an uninspiring display.

Canada showcase potential

Much has been made about Canada with Davies and David ushering in a new era of hope for the country. And based on Tuesday's display, the future is bright for Canada, who never gave USA a sniff.

What's next?

USA and Canada will be back in action for next month's rematch in Orlando, Florida on November 15.

Tonga hooker Paula Ngauamo has been given a seven-week ban for kicking an opponent in the face during his country's Rugby World Cup victory over the United States.

The incident was not spotted during Tonga's 31-19 victory on Sunday, but Ngauamo was cited after the game for an act of foul play.

Ngauamo, who argued he had "acted recklessly, not deliberately", did not attend the hearing and was given a hefty ban by the judicial panel having already been suspended twice in the past four years.

With Tonga already eliminated from the World Cup, Ngauamo will miss seven weeks of the new Top 14 season for his club Agen.

Tonga avoided finishing bottom of Pool C at the Rugby World Cup after overcoming the United States 31-19 on Sunday.

With both teams already eliminated, Tonga bowed out on a winning note by scoring four tries to USA's three in Higashiosaka.

Tonga trailed USA 12-7 at half-time after substitute Mike Te'o had grabbed a brace shortly after coming on.

But Tonga rallied to snap a run of five consecutive losses, which was their joint-worst streak at a World Cup.

Tonga started brightly and opened the scoring in the 17th minute thanks to Siegfried Fisiihoi, who bundled himself over after some desperate USA defending had initially held up the Tongans – with Sonatane Takulua adding the extras.

However, Tonga's 7-0 lead was short-lived as USA responded in brilliant fashion four minutes later.

USA sliced Tonga open – quick hands finding Te'o, who was too slick for his opponents on the wing and AJ MacGinty nailed the conversion to level proceedings.

Te'o was at it again in the 26th minute as USA turned the match on its head. The wing found himself in acres of space to stroll in, though MacGinty was unable to convert.

Tonga trailed 12-7 at the break after a golden opportunity went begging – Fisiihoi broke the lines but Ruben de Haas reached in for a tackle and broke the ball loose with five minutes remaining.

It was a Tonga onslaught to start the second half as they looked to strike back, and they reduced the deficit via Takulua's 51st-minute penalty.

Tonga regained the lead as the hour mark approached as Telusa Veainu's kick forward, with no one ahead, bounced favourably and allowed Mali Hingano to eventually sprint clear under the sticks.

After Takulua successfully converted, the tiring Americans conceded again four minutes later as retiring captain Siale Piutau weaved his way past three opponents to stretch Tonga's advantage to 24-12.

Tony Lamborn's late try set up a grand-stand finish but Veainu's five-pointer after the siren made sure of Tonga's first victory of this year's tournament.

 

Tonga send Piutau out a winner

In his final international match, 34-year-old Piutau scored a try and celebrated a victory in a dream Tonga farewell.

Te'o double not enough for USA

A pair of first-half tries from Te'o had USA dreaming against Tonga. However, his efforts were not enough as the United States matched their worst run in World Cup games – 10 straight defeats.

What's next?

Both teams are heading home after a spirited effort at the showpiece tournament, with England and France qualifying from Pool C.

The United States barely raised a sweat as they opened their CONCACAF Nations League with a 7-0 humbling of Cuba.

USA star Weston McKennie scored a 13-minute hat-trick in the first half of the Group A clash at Audi Field in Washington on Friday.

Gregg Berhalter's USA were a class above in the American capital, where the home side led struggling Cuba 6-0 at half-time.

USA were expected to ease past Cuba in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League and the match went according to script after a dream start.

McKennie broke the deadlock after just 31 seconds and the Schalke midfielder doubled the lead a little more than four minutes later – Jordan Morris providing both assists as the one-way traffic continued.

Morris got in on the action and made it 3-0 in the ninth minute with a composed finish to beat Cuba goalkeeper Nelson Johnston at his near post.

It got ugly for Cuba as McKennie completed his hat-trick four minutes later when Reggie Cannon slid a ball across the six-yard box and the former reacted quickest.

Cuba managed to stop the bleeding until a stunning backheel from McKennie found Morris, whose effort was bundled over the line by an unfortunate Dario Ramos in the 37th minute before Josh Sargent curled the ball into the bottom corner for a 6-0 lead approaching half-time.

USA captain Christian Pulisic converted a 62nd-minute penalty to extend the country's mammoth lead, which fell just shy of their record.

 

What does it mean? USA show no mercy

After three matches without victory and two losses, USA needed a response and they got it in style. The United States were expected to win but their composure and ruthlessness saw them fall just short of the country's biggest win – 8-0 against Bermuda in 2008.

McKennie scores first hat-trick

It was a memorable outing for the 21-year-old. For the first time in his career, McKennie took home the match ball following his stunning opening half as he recorded the fastest hat-trick in USA history.

Sorry Cuba's winless run continues

Cuba were on the backfoot from the outset as their winless streak extended to seven games. In that period, they have conceded 33 goals.

What's next?

USA will look to maintain their momentum against Canada away from home on Tuesday, while Cuba are not in action until November 20's Nations League showdown with the United States.

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