SRN - Sports News

Soccer-Holders England face France and Sweden in Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying

NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) -Defending champions England were handed a tough group including France and Sweden in their Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying campaign following the draw held in Nyon, Switzerland on Tuesday.

France lost the Nations League final to Spain last month but qualified for this year’s Olympics and are ranked number three in the world, with England at four and Sweden five.

England thrashed Sweden in the semi-finals on their way to winning Euro 2022. Ireland are also in qualifying Group A3.

World champions Spain will take on Denmark, Belgium and Czech Republic in Group A2, while Germany, eight-times European champions, face Austria, Iceland and Poland in Group A4.

The top two in each League A group qualify for the finals in July 2025 alongside hosts Switzerland, who compete in League B although their automatic qualification is assured. The remaining seven spots will be decided by two rounds of playoffs.

League A

Group A1: Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Finland

Group A2: Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic

Group A3: France, England, Sweden, Ireland

Group A4: Germany, Austria, Iceland, Poland

League B

Group B1: Switzerland, Hungary, Turkey, Azerbaijan

Group B2: Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Israel

Group B3: Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Malta

Group B4: Wales, Croatia, Ukraine, Kosovo

League C

Group C1: Belarus, Lithuania, Cyprus, Georgia

Group C2: Slovenia, Latvia, North Macedonia, Moldova

Group C3: Greece, Montenegro, Andorra, Faroe Islands

Group C4: Romania, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Armenia

Group C5: Albania, Estonia, Luxembourg

Matchdays 1-2: April 3-9, 2024

Matchdays 3-4: May 29-June 4, 2024

Matchdays 5-6: July 10-16, 2024

Playoffs Round 1: Oct. 23-29 2024

Round 2: Nov. 27-Dec. 3 2024

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Christian Radnedge and ken Ferris)


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NBA roundup: Damian Lillard (41) lifts Bucks past Clippers

Damian Lillard scored a game-high 41 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 113-106 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Bobby Portis added 28 points and 16 rebounds off the bench for the Bucks, who won their sixth straight game. Milwaukee’s Patrick Beverley tallied 12 points and nine rebounds against his former team. Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the game due to a left Achilles injury.

James Harden and Paul George led Los Angeles with 29 points apiece, while Kawhi Leonard added 16. Ivica Zubac collected a team-high 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who had their modest two-game winning streak snapped.

Trailing by six with 5:33 left in the game, the Bucks used a 15-0 run to take control, grabbing a 105-96 lead with 1:58 remaining. Four straight Clippers points cut the deficit to five, but back-to-back buckets from Portis helped cement Milwaukee’s win.

Lakers 116, Thunder 104

LeBron James scored 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists as host Los Angeles topped Oklahoma City, knocking the Thunder out of first place in the Western Conference.

D’Angelo Russell scored 26 points and made five 3-pointers while Anthony Davis had 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers earned their 10th win in 14 games.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 points and hauled in seven rebounds and Chet Holmgren added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who lost for just the second time in nine games.

Grizzlies 106, Nets 102

Luke Kennard scored a season-high 25 points as Memphis held on in the final minute and snapped a five-game losing streak with a victory over Brooklyn in New York.

Kennard made a season-high six 3-pointers, including one from top of the key that gave the Grizzlies a 99-90 lead with three minutes left. Two free throws by Mikal Bridges got the Nets within 105-102 with 6.7 seconds remaining before Kennard hit a free throw on the next possession to ice it.

Nic Claxton scored 21 points, but Brooklyn fell 2 1/2 games behind the 10th-place Atlanta Hawks for the Eastern Conference’s final play-in spot.

Timberwolves 119, Trail Blazers 114

Rudy Gobert scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for Minnesota, which held on for a win over Portland in Minneapolis and moved back into first place in the West.

Mike Conley added 19 points and seven assists for the Timberwolves, who snapped a two-game skid. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 14 points.

Anfernee Simons led Portland with 34 points and 14 assists. Rookie Duop Reath tallied a career-high 26 points for the Trail Blazers, who went on an 8-0 run in the final two minutes to pull within six points. However, Anthony Edwards sank two free throws with 18.7 seconds left to seal the outcome.

Bulls 113, Kings 109

Coby White capped a career-best, 37-point scoring effort with game-tying and go-ahead hoops in the final 1:32, completing a huge Chicago comeback win in Sacramento.

The Bulls erased an early 14-point deficit and a 22-point hole in the second half. DeMar DeRozan added 33 points while Nikola Vucevic had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the win.

Domantas Sabonis snatched a game-high 21 rebounds to complete a double-double with 18 points for the Kings, who lost for the third time in their past four games.

Jazz 127, Wizards 115

Jordan Clarkson scored a season-high 38 points, including 12 straight late in the fourth quarter, to lead Utah over Washington in Salt Lake City.

Clarkson added 10 rebounds and seven assists to help the Jazz snap a three-game losing streak. While hitting 13 of 26 shots, the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year passed Thurl Bailey for most 30-point games as a reserve in franchise history with 13.

Jordan Poole scored 32 points after hitting his first eight shots and Kyle Kuzma added 23 points and eight assists but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Wizards from losing their 15th consecutive game.

–Field Level Media


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NHL roundup: Panthers top Rangers in heavyweight tilt

Ryan Lomberg scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period Monday night for the visiting Florida Panthers, who continued surging with a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers in a battle of Eastern Conference division leaders.

Sam Reinhart scored twice — both times off impressive feeds from Aleksander Barkov — for the Panthers, who won their fifth straight game and for the 15th time in 17 games (15-2-0) to remain two points ahead of the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division and increase their NHL-leading points total to 88.

Will Cuylle and Chris Kreider scored power play goals for the Rangers, who have lost two straight and three of four (1-3-0). New York is six points ahead of the idle Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the Panthers while Igor Shesterkin recorded 25 in the loss.

Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 1

Pavel Zacha scored two goals, Jeremy Swayman stopped 32 shots and Boston improved to 3-0 against host Toronto this season.

Jake DeBrusk added a goal and an assist for the Bruins, whose other two wins against Toronto were in overtime and a shootout. Botson will go for the season sweep at home on Thursday.

David Pastrnak added three assists and Morgan Geekie also scored in the win. John Tavares scored for the Maple Leafs. Joseph Woll made 26 saves.

Avalanche 5, Blackhawks 0

Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and two assists, Cale Makar and Jonathan Drouin each had a goal and an assist, and Justus Annunen made 37 saves as the Colorado routed Chicago in Denver.

Zach Parise also scored for the Avalanche. Blackhawks goalie Petr Mrazek stopped 32 shots.

The Blackhawks were shut out by the Avalanche for the second time in five days while losing their seventh game in a row overall (0-5-2). Chicago hasn’t won on the road since Nov. 9 at Tampa Bay, a 22-game skid (0-21-1).

Blue Jackets 6, Golden Knights 3

Alexander Nylander scored his first career hat trick to lead host Columbus past slumping Vegas.

Justin Danforth, Erik Gudbranson and Yegor Chinakhov also scored goals for Columbus, which has won back-to-back games for the third time this season and for the first time since Nov. 22-24. Daniil Tarasov stopped 37 of 40 shots to improve to 5-8-2 this season.

Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist and Mason Morelli and William Karlsson also scored for Vegas, which took its sixth loss in seven games (1-5-1) and its eighth in the past 10 games (2-7-1).

Kraken 4, Flames 2

Jared McCann scored a goal and added an assist to pace visiting Seattle past Calgary, ending the Flames’ season-best, five-game winning streak.

Yanni Gourde, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Adam Larsson also scored for Seattle, which won for the third time in four games. Philipp Grubauer made 35 saves, including a clutch reach-back effort when it was a 3-2 game midway through the third period.

Andrei Kuzmenko scored both goals for the Flames. Both teams are seven points out of a playoff spot with 21 games remaining in the regular season.

Blues 2, Flyers 1 (SO)

Pavel Buchnevich scored in the fourth round of a shootout to lift St. Louis past host Philadelphia in a game where defense and goaltending dominated from the opening drop.

The Blue’s lone goal in regulation came from Kevin Hayes, acquired from the Flyers in a trade last June. Scott Laughton recorded the regulation goal for the Flyers and Morgan Frost was the only Philadelphia player able to score in the shootout.

St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 40 shots while Samuel Ersson made 24 saves in the loss.

–Field Level Media


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Clippers’ Westbrook undergoes surgery on fractured hand and is listed as week to week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook underwent surgery on his fractured left hand Monday, and the team describes his status as week to week.

Westbrook broke his hand Friday in the Clippers’ 140-115 victory over the Washington Wizards. The 2016-17 MVP and nine-time all-NBA performer appeared to suffer the injury while trying to poke the ball away from Washington’s Jordan Poole.

“He’ll start rehab, and we’re just going to check on him weekly just to kind of see how he feels once he starts his rehab,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Monday after the Clippers’ 113-106 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 35-year-old Westbrook had played in every game for the Clippers this season before breaking his hand. He now has missed Los Angeles’ last two games.

Westbrook is averaging 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 22.6 minutes this season.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA


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Olympics-Canada sports organizations face crisis without extra funding, says COC

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) -The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) on Monday called on the federal government to increase financial support to national sport organizations, which it says are overstretched and face a substantial reduction in services and programs.

The request for additional funding, which the COC said was necessary to avoid the system taking a step backwards, comes less than five months before the start of the Paris Olympics.

A Deloitte study commissioned by the COC and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) said the country’s 61 national sports organizations need an extra C$104 million ($76.61 million) in direct funding annually.

The COC and CPC said the gap in funding is a result of 19 years of inflation since the last increase to sport funding in 2005 (C$20 Million), the sunsetting of issue-specific funding (C$57 Million), and the cost of increased demands on national sports organizations (NSOs) from stakeholders (C$27 Million).

Without additional funding, a five-year forecast showed the bodies that govern amateur sports across Canada would run a deficit of C$134 million while attempting to deliver on their primary mandates.

The COC said Canada’s sport system is struggling to keep up with rising costs. Support for athletes at all levels will suffer without an increase to funding and the system risks taking a step backwards, it added.

“We have known this was a growing issue but seeing the numbers in black and white really highlight that we’re on the brink of a crisis,” COC’s CEO David Shoemaker said in a statement.

“NSOs cannot continue on this trajectory. They can’t run deficits, and if nothing changes difficult decisions will have to be made.”

The COC and CPC said the NSOs were being asked to do more with fewer resources, and that the progress which has been made in safe sport, gender equity, community access and mental health support, amongst others, is in “jeopardy”.

According to the budget request, 90% of NSOs rely on federal government funding as their primary source of revenue.

“Our day-to-day costs are increasing with inflation like every Canadian’s, but we also have an important role in ensuring sport is as safe and inclusive as possible,” said Canoe Kayak Canada CEO Casey Wade.

“We cannot properly fulfill those duties without an increase in funding.”

($1 = 1.3576 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Michael Perry, Peter Rutherford)


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Denver Broncos inform QB Russell Wilson they’ll release him when new league year begins

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Two years ago, Russell Wilson exuberantly declared he intended to play a dozen years in Denver and double the trio of Lombardi Trophies in the Broncos’ lobby.

General manager George Paton was equally dizzy, thrilled to send four premium draft picks and three players to Seattle for a younger, healthier version of Peyton Manning and excited to sign the Super Bowl-winning quarterback to that $242 million extension six months later.

Acquiring Wilson turned out to be the biggest miscalculation in franchise history. He won just 11 of his 30 starts and witnessed both the coaching and quarterback carousels continue to churn in Denver, which hasn’t been to the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, 2016.

Wilson endured his worst season under Nathaniel Hackett in 2022 and bounced back under Sean Payton in 2023 only to get benched for Jarrett Stidham for the final two games.

On Monday, the Broncos informed Wilson they’d release him next week when the new league year begins.

“We thank Russell for his contributions and dedications to our team and community while wishing him the best as he continues his career,” the team posted on its social media channels, adding, “We are excited to improve this offseason and will have the flexibility to get better through the draft and free agency.”

The divorce will be a costly one for the Broncos, however. They still owe Wilson his $39 million salary for 2024 minus whatever he’d sign for with another team, which would likely be the veteran’s minimum salary of $1.21 million.

The Broncos also will take a record $89 million hit in dead cap charges over the next two seasons, which will crimp their roster building as they seek to end an eight-year playoff drought that’s featured six head coaches and 13 starting quarterbacks since Manning retired a month after the franchise’s third Super Bowl title.

Wilson thanked Broncos fans and teammates on social media posts, and issued individual shout-outs to a few of them, including left tackle Garett Bolles and receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Brandon Johnson and Tim Patrick.

“Court, I’ll never forget your one-handed catch in LA and your toe-tap in Buffalo. Bolles, you always wrapping your arm around me win or lose. Brandon Johnson, your relentless work ethic. Jeu, you snagging and high-pointing that ball in KC!” Wilson wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Wilson also praised Patrick and running back Javonte Williams for their attitudes during arduous rehabs and thanked locker room attendants and other staff.

“Tough times don’t last but tough people do,” Wilson concluded. “God’s got me. I am excited for what’s next.”

He signed off, “#3”

Wilson enjoyed a bounce-back year last season, throwing for 26 touchdowns with eight interceptions in 15 games.

But it wasn’t good enough and Payton went with Stidham for the final two games. Stidham went 1-1 and the Broncos finished 8-9, their seventh straight losing season and their eighth in a row outside the playoffs.

Although he had maintained a Wilson return was possible, Payton hinted at an impending split at the NFL scouting combine last week when talking about Denver’s long string of middling quarterbacks and suggested his job was to make sure “the next one” was the right QB to lead the Broncos back into contention.

Wilson, who had gone radio silent on social media at Payton’s request a year ago, recently resumed sharing videos of his workouts and over the weekend he removed all Broncos references from his profile on X.

Wilson was acquired in 2022 from the Seattle Seahawks, where he won a Super Bowl title after the 2013 season with a win over the Broncos, for a bevy of draft picks (two first-rounders and two seconds) and players (Drew Lock, Noah Fant and Shelby Harris).

He signed a nearly quarter-billion dollar extension before playing a single down in Denver and then went 4-11 in his first season under Hackett, who was fired after 15 games.

Payton had Wilson dial back his social media presence a year ago and a focused and fit Wilson showed up to training camp 20 pounds lighter.

He went 7-8 before losing his starting job. Wilson contended the Broncos had threatened to bench him for the final nine games if he didn’t push back his $37 million injury guarantee in his contract.

He declined to adjust his contract and started seven more games before getting benched in what Payton insisted was a football move, not a financial one.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl


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Buccaneers keep WR Mike Evans with $52M extension

Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans signed a two-year, $52 million contract to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one week before he was eligible to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent.

The first draft pick made by current general manager Jason Licht, Evans’ deal includes $35 million guaranteed and his annual average earnings put him in the top four in the NFL at his position. This is his third contract with the Buccaneers.

Evans, 30, was ticketed for free agency at the turn of the new league year next week. He just finished a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Bucs, but Licht and head coach Todd Bowles sent strong signals in recent days that they weren’t letting Evans out of town.

“He came to work every day, he came into play every day, as you can see as a result from his statistics,” Bowles said at the NFL Scouting Combine last week. “You know, he he’s been here for like a decade and he’s done the same thing every year. He’s been very consistent. He’s very dynamic yet he’s very humble off the field, but he’s a confident player. He’s one of my favorite players. I have a lot of respect for Mike and everything he does. He’s earned what he done.”

Evans reached 1,000 receiving yards for the 10th straight season in 2023, a record at the outset of a career and just one off the overall consecutive seasons mark held by the legendary Jerry Rice. He had 79 catches for 1,255 yards with a league-leading 13 touchdowns.

Evans was selected No. 7 overall in the 2014 draft. He has 762 career receptions for 11,680 yards and 94 TDs in 154 games (153 starts). He also has 709 yards receiving and five TDs in nine postseason games, two of those TDs coming in the 2020 Super Bowl run.

Next up in Tampa is quarterback Baker Mayfield, whom the Bucs also hope to lock up with a long-term deal.

–Field Level Media


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Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin out two weeks

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin will miss the next two weeks with a lower-body injury.

The center left Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers after receiving a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct at 9:57 of the third period.

Larkin, 27, leads the Red Wings in goals (26) and points (54) through 55 games this season. He leads the team’s forwards in ice time per game (19:52).

Larkin has 491 points (205 goals, 286 assists) in 639 games since being selected by Detroit in the first round (15th overall) in 2014.

The Red Wings (33-22-6) enter this week holding the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has not been to the Stanley Cup playoffs since the 2015-16 season.

–Field Level Media


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Report: Suns G Devin Booker (ankle) out another 7-10 days

The Phoenix Suns will be without All-Star guard Devin Booker for another 7-10 days with a right ankle injury, The Athletic reported Monday.

The four-time All-Star sprained his ankle with 1:15 left in Saturday’s 118-109 loss to the Houston Rockets. The Suns were on defense when Booker’s foot got tangled with teammate Royce O’Neale.

Booker missed Sunday’s 118-110 home loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Suns are 31-19 with him in the lineup and just 4-7 without him.

Booker, 27, scored 24 points on Saturday before limping off the court and heading to the locker room. Postgame X-rays were negative.

He is averaging 27.5 points, 6.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds through 50 games (all starts) in his ninth season with the Suns. Booker is shooting 49.4 percent from the field, including 37.9 percent from 3-point distance.

–Field Level Media


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Spring training roundup: Twins earn split-squad sweep

Ryan Jeffers, Willi Castro and Carlos Santana hit solo home runs to guide the host Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 comeback win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday in Fort Myers, Fla.

The Twins entered the fourth inning down 2-0 before Jeffers and Castro knocked back-to-back homers off Dylan Lee. Santana delivered the go-ahead dinger the next inning off Grant Holmes (0-2).

Reliever Brock Stewart (1-0) pitched a perfect fifth with one strikeout for Minnesota. Dylan Neuse added an RBI single for an important insurance run.

Matt Olson hit a two-run homer for the Braves, his first of the spring, and Luke Williams added an RBI hit in the ninth before the Twins’ Hobie Harris polished off a two-inning save.

Twins 7, Orioles 2

Emmanuel Rodriguez homered as Minnesota’s split squad rang up a seven-run lead during a win over host Baltimore in Sarasota, Fla.

Jair Camargo and Brooks Lee each went 2-for-3 with an RBI double, and Royce Lewis went 2-for-2 with an RBI single for the Twins. Starter Cole Sands (1-0) pitched one scoreless, hitless inning before giving way to seven relievers who gave up just three hits.

Orioles starter Dean Kremer (1-1) gave up two runs on four hits and two walks over two innings, striking out three. It took them till the bottom of the ninth to score on a fielder’s choice and a bases-loaded walk.

Pirates 7, Rays 3

Jack Suwinski, Canaan Smith-Njigba and Henry Davis went yard in the first three innings as visiting Pittsburgh defeated Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Pirates starter Luis Ortiz (1-0) yielded one unearned run on one hit and one walk while fanning three over three innings. Davis’ two-run shot was his third home run of the spring and put the Rays in a 5-0 hole.

Amed Rosario homered and Francisco Mejia had an RBI single for the Rays after starter Aaron Civale (0-1) was shelled for five runs and four hits over 2 2/3 innings.

Nationals 1, Cardinals 0

Keibert Ruiz hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center to score Lane Thomas, enough run support for Washington to defeat visiting St. Louis in Palm Beach, Fla.

Nationals starter Trevor Williams struck out three with one hit over two innings. Williams and seven relievers combined to hold St. Louis to six hits and one walk while striking out nine.

Cardinals starter Sonny Gray pitched 1 2/3 innings with one strikeout and one hit before JoJo Romero (0-2) gave up Thomas’ run.

Blue Jays 5, Phillies 2

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a solo homer and an RBI single, both with two outs, as host Toronto beat Philadelphia in Dunedin, Fla.

Bo Bichette hit the go-ahead two-run single for the Blue Jays and Luis De Los Santos added an insurance run on a single. Yimi Garcia (1-0) pitched a perfect fifth inning for the win.

Aramis Garcia had an RBI double and Kody Clemens added an RBI single for the Phillies, who lost despite outhitting the Jays 10-7. Reliever Griff McGarry (0-1) gave up three runs on three hits over 2/3 of an inning.

Tigers 2, Red Sox 1

Matt Vierling scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, starter Tarik Skubal fanned six over three frames and Detroit edged visiting Boston in Lakeland, Fla.

Skubal yielded just one hit before Will Vest (1-0) picked up the win with a perfect fifth inning featuring one strikeout. Javier Baez drove in Mark Canha with a second-inning sac fly to open the scoring, and Vierling came around on Joe Jacques’ (0-1) wild pitch during a four-pitch walk to Riley Greene in the fifth.

Ceddanne Rafaela homered to tie the game at 1 for the Red Sox, but they mustered just four hits in all.

–Field Level Media


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