Australia beat the United States for the first time in history in Melbourne on Saturday and Patty Mills hopes the Boomers can build something special from the landmark achievement.

Team USA won the first exhibition 102-86 at Marvel Stadium on Thursday, but the hosts responded with a 98-94 victory in front of 52,079 fans two days later.

Australia came from 10 points down in the second half, with San Antonio Spurs guard Mills scoring 30 – including the last 10 for the Boomers – to see out a historic triumph.

"It's a building block for us. We've been taking it step by step and understanding that this is process. But it's good to get everyone back and get everyone on the floor," said Mills in an on-court interview.

"This is just one step towards our progress and ultimate goal of creating history and winning a medal, so we're locked in on that focus for sure.

"The support has been amazing. We've been through a lot of adversity as a team, as a programme.

"We're very proud to represent these colours and represent them the right way and we're doing it as a team, as a group, as best mates."

Kemba Walker scored 22 points off the bench for Gregg Popovich's USA side, while Harrison Barnes had 20 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes.

Team USA conclude their tour in Sydney on Sunday when they face Canada, who will meet Australia in their FIBA World Cup opener in China on September 1.

Frank de Boer has backtracked on his equal pay comment after he said it was "ridiculous" the United States women's national team expect to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

Women's World Cup winners USA, who beat Netherlands in last month's final, continue to be embroiled in a battle for equal pay with U.S. Soccer.

Atlanta United coach De Boer said he is a champion of women's soccer and indicated he regrets his choice of words during an interview with the Guardian.

“I think for me, it’s ridiculous. It's the same like tennis," De Boer said to the newspaper. "If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women's final, that's a difference. So it's not the same.

"And of course, they have to be paid what they deserve to and not less, just what they really deserve. If it's just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that.

"But it's not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it's ridiculous. I don't understand that."

De Boer, however, has now clarified his comments.

"Especially the word ridiculous," he said. "It's a hard word if I read that word only. If you see the whole context, I was very clear that I always promote women's soccer."

USA star Megan Rapinoe has been one of the most vocal athletes to speak out against the pay disparity, using her platform after USA defended their World Cup title.

Talks between players and governing body U.S. Soccer have broken down, with Rapinoe indicating she will continue fighting for equal pay.

"They're the only employer that we could have playing for the national team, we're the only employees that they could have, so for better or for worse we're tethered together," she told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.

"I think that if and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we're always open to that."

Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez wished their MVP-winning Milwaukee Bucks team-mate Giannis Antetokounmpo the best with Greece at the FIBA World Cup, just not against the United States.

Middleton and Lopez watched as Antetokounmpo dominated in the NBA last season after he averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists while helping the Bucks clinch in the number one seed and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Bucks pair heaped praise on Antetokounmpo, even if they are set to be his rivals at the upcoming World Cup in China.

"There are just so many possessions, so many dunks, but the vision, the unselfishness that he has, it's just so impressive for a superstar of his talent," Lopez told reporters on Wednesday. "And his work ethic is just what amazes me the most, it’s really second to none."

"Every night he steps on that court, you know he's going to give it his all," Middleton added. "You know he's due for one of those big plays."

Middleton and Lopez will not be Antetokounmpo's team-mates at the World Cup, which gets underway in China on August 31.

Antetokounmpo will lead Greece, who have been drawn in Group F alongside New Zealand, Brazil and Montenegro.

Reigning champions Team USA, meanwhile, will face Turkey, Czech Republic and Japan in Group E.

"We've spent hours in practice against each other and it will definitely be fun to get it in a real game," Middleton said. "That's my team-mate, my brother and wish him the best but hopefully not too good against us."

There is no guarantee Middleton will get a chance to match up with Antetokounmpo, but it is not out of the realm of possibility, either.

If both teams finish in the top two of their pools, they could get a chance to face off down the line.

It is something Lopez said USA are not planning for yet but admitted it would be a difficult task on defense, just like it was for every NBA team this past season.

"It would be a total team job," Lopez said. "All five guys have to be on the same page all doing our job."

New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long hopes the United Kingdom's "strange" work permit system will not deny him the chance to join West Ham.

Manuel Pellegrini is reportedly keen on signing the 26-year-old to bolster his options at centre-back.

Long started five times for the United States at the recent Gold Cup but has not yet satisfied the Football Association's requirements for endorsement of a work permit.

Premier League clubs must submit their applications before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

"As our biggest ally, it seems strange that a football player from the US can't automatically get a work visa to play in England," Long told Sky Sports.

"Every kid in the USA dreams of playing in the English Premier League.

"Not many players get the chance, so of course I would like to play there some day."

Multiple Ligue 1 clubs including Marseille have been linked to Long, the MLS Defender of the Year for 2018.

"I just signed a new contract, so the decision is up to my club and the other team," he said.

The United States closed the XX Panamerican U20 Championship with more dominant performances to leave Jamaica battling for the minor positions in both the men’s and women’s 4x400m.

On the women’s side, the USA quartet of Alexis Holmes, Kimberly Harris, Ziyah Holman, and Kayla Davis scorched the track with a time of 3:24.04, well ahead of the second-placed Canadians who were next to cross the line in 3:30.68.  The Jamaicans led by the foursome of Daniella Deer, Shaqueena Foote, Lashanna Graham, and Kavia Francis got the bronze medal in a time of 3:31.34.

The Caribbean team fared better in the male equivalent but the quartet of Evaldo Whitehorne, Jeremy Farr, Bovel McPherson and Anthony Cox could only manage to chase the US to the line in 3:00.99.  The USA four of Frederick Lewis, Matthew Boling, Matthew Moorer and Justin Robinson crossed for gold in 2:59.30.  The Brazilians were third in 3:02.84.

Elsewhere, the Jamaicans managed to secure a bronze medal in the triple jump, where Terrol Wilson finished third with a leap of 15.99.  The event went to Colombia’s Geiner Moreno, with Cuba’s Andy Hecheverria second in 16.33.  Rovane Williams also secured a bronze medal after finishing third in the men’s 400m hurdles.  Williams crossed the line in 50.29, behind James Smith (49.84) and Brasil’s Alison Alves who won the event in 48.49.

The United States ended on top of the leaderboard with 16 gold, 12 silver, and 7 bronze medals. Canada were next with 4 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals with the Jamaicans third with 3 gold, 6 silver, and 4 bronze.

 

 

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons will not play for Australia at this year's FIBA World Cup, though he will feature in exhibition games against the United States.

After initially making himself available for August's World Cup in China, Simmons announced on Tuesday that he will skip the tournament and instead focus on the upcoming NBA season with the 76ers.

While he is set to sit out the World Cup, Simmons will travel to Australia for a pair of games against Canada in Perth on August 16 and 17 before facing Team USA in Melbourne on August 22 and 24.

"I wanted to let everyone know that after consulting with my representation, I've made the difficult decision to forego playing in the World Cup in China this summer," Simmons – who has signed a new five-year contract with the 76ers – said in a statement via Twitter.

"I will still be heading back home to Australia to host my camps as well as train and play with the Boomers in the upcoming exhibition games.

"I'm really excited about the talent we have on the Boomers squad, especially moving close to 2020 where I will be honoured and humbled to represent my country on the world's biggest sporting stage at the Olympics in Tokyo.

"Ultimately, we decided it was best that I use the time in September to return to Philadelphia to acquaint myself with my new team-mates and prepare for the upcoming NBA season."

The 76ers selected Simmons with the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and he has played a large role in the team's resurgence as an oversized, do-it-all playmaker.

Philadelphia put together one of the most talented starting line-ups in basketball last season, featuring Simmons, Joel Embiid, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris as they finished third in the Eastern Conference before falling to the Toronto Raptors in the second round.

The 76ers lost Butler and Redick this offseason, but acquired Josh Richardson and Al Horford, giving them tremendous defensive potential.

United States forward Megan Rapinoe has echoed Serena Williams' comments on equal pay amid the Women's World Cup winners' ongoing fight for parity with the men's team.

Rapinoe scored the opening goal as USA beat Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup final to retain their title during a tournament where the 34-year-old became a global icon.

The attacker also had a war of words with US president Donald Trump during the tournament in France after saying she was "not going to the f****** White House".

American players have been embroiled in an argument over equal pay with governing body U.S. Soccer for many years.

After losing the Wimbledon final to Simona Halep on Saturday, tennis great Williams bristled at a suggestion she should scale back her efforts to fight equal pay in order to concentrate on matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

And Rapinoe, speaking in an interview on NBC on Sunday, backed her fellow American and insisted she will also not be changing her outspoken approach.

"You know what? I'm gonna fight for equal pay every day, for myself, for my team, and for every single person out there," said Rapinoe.

"Man, woman, immigrant, US citizen, person of colour, whatever it may be. 'Equal pay,' as the great Serena Williams said, 'til I'm in my grave'."

Rapinoe, whose partner is basketball player Sue Bird, also defended her previous comments on Trump when asked what she would say to her fans who support the president and believe she should go to the White House.

She added: "I would try to share our message. Do you believe that all people are created equal? Do you believe that equal pay should be mandated?

"Do you believe that everyone should have health care? Do you believe that we should treat everyone with respect? Those are the basics of what we're talking about.

"I understand people feel upset or uncomfortable. There's feelings of disrespect about the anthem protest or things that I've said in the past. Ultimately, I am here, open and honest.

"I've admitted mistakes. I will continue to do that. I'll continue to be vulnerable and be honest and open and have that conversation."

Jamaica added 20 medals including nine more gold medals from their day-one output to conclude the 2019 NACAC U18 and U23 Championships in Mexico with 39 medals to finish third behind Mexico’s 63 and the United States’ 56 medals.

Despite the fact that, for the first time in the competition’s history, two Caribbean teams, Haiti and Jamaica, were in the final four of the Gold Cup, no players from those nations managed to find their way into a Best XI. 

Mexico boss Tata Martino flashed a warning to the rest of CONCACAF after their Gold Cup win, insisting they can be even better with the likes of Hirving Lozano available.

A Jonathan dos Santos goal was enough to defeat defending champions the United States 1-0 in Sunday's final in Chicago, securing El Tri's eighth title.

USA created and squandered their own chances to win the match, yet Martino pointed out afterwards Mexico still have another level they can go to.

PSV ace Lozano was absent with injury, while Hector Herrera, Javier Hernandez and Jesus Manuel Corona also missed the tournament, and Carlos Vela remains out of favour with the coach.

"I keep insisting we will be even better with those who were not here due to different circumstances," Martino told a news conference.

"We were without one of the three best forwards in the Dutch league [Lozano], for example, who had a knee injury.

"Obviously there's no reason to think we can't be better with these players. We'll see which players return and which don't.

"I'm very happy with the first six months of my time in charge."

United States coach Gregg Berhalter, himself in his first year in the job, suggested the final showed how far his side still have to go.

"Over the course of 90 minutes, Mexico were the better team," he said. "Having said that, we started the game really bright. We came out, created some really good chances.

"When you talk about a step the team needs to take, we're close. We're close, but we weren't there tonight."

USA forward Jozy Altidore added: "That's what's hard about these tournaments. You play games that aren't up to scruff until the final. The final is a huge step.

"It's a faster game, just way more intense than some of the group-stage games. In that regard, it was tough but it was a good measuring stick of where we're trying to go.

"I think it's a step forward. If you look at the final here and how we started the game, I think it was terrific.

"I've been on this team a long time. To see that initiative, to see the guys eager to play forward and play out of pressure and keep the ball in a game like this, this is progress in my opinion."

Mexico claimed their eighth CONCACAF Gold Cup title with an entertaining 1-0 win over the United States in the final on Sunday.

Jonathan dos Santos was the hero with the 73rd-minute winner at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Dos Santos took his chance excellently in a game during which USA squandered theirs, with Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore missing early opportunities.

Jordan Morris also had a header cleared off the line before Dos Santos' winner came after a period of dominance by Gerardo Martino's men.

USA made a brilliant start and created two great chances in the opening eight minutes.

The first opportunity fell to Pulisic, who was denied in a one-on-one by Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa after being set up by Altidore.

Altidore should have opened the scoring for USA soon after, but he scuffed an effort wide after a wonderful change of direction on the edge of the area.

Mexico responded and almost took the lead through Andres Guardado, who blazed over from inside the area under heavy pressure from Paul Arriola.

In what was a frantic end-to-end first half, Arriola fired another decent chance wide for USA from inside the area.

USA continued to enjoy the better opportunities to begin the second half, with Morris' 51st-minute header from a corner cleared off the line by Guardado.

Mexico were much-improved after that chance, enjoying a good period that included Jesus Gallardo directing a 25-yard volley straight at USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the 68th minute.

And they capitalised on their period of dominance with the opener just five minutes later through Dos Santos' third international goal.

A fine move down the right led to Raul Jimenez back-heeling a pass into the path of Dos Santos, whose excellent left-footed effort went in via the underside of the crossbar from just inside the area.

That would prove to be enough for Mexico as they saw out the closing stages to secure the title.

What does it mean? Mexico pull clear

While USA had the better of the chances, Mexico's win marked their eighth Gold Cup crown. That moved them two titles clear of USA, who have won six.

Martino delivers for Mexico

Mexico impressed after Martino took charge in January, although their performances in the knockout stage of the Gold Cup never reached any great heights. Still, the Argentinian helped deliver the title for Mexico.

USA left to rue missed chances

The hosts dominated long periods without capitalising and they were made to pay. Pulisic and Altidore missed good chances and Morris had another cleared off the line, while Mexico saw their period of dominance capped off with Dos Santos' winner.

What's next?

USA are looking ahead to the CONCACAF Nations League in October, while Mexico will face Argentina in a friendly in September.

Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino said United States star Christian Pulisic is "one of the most unsettling players" he has seen ahead of Sunday's CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

All eyes will be on Pulisic when defending champions USA and rivals Mexico meet in the tournament decider at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Pulisic – set to link up with Premier League giants Chelsea after agreeing a €64million transfer from Borussia Dortmund in January – scored twice against Jamaica to send USA through to the final.

And Mexico boss Martino singled out Pulisic pre-game, praising the in-form 20-year-old attacker by telling reporters: "I think Christian Pulisic is one of the greatest emerging players in world football in this era, without doubt.

"He's one of the most unsettling players I've seen in recent times. And I believe that if tomorrow we don't give him special attention, above all when we are attacking, then we won't do well.

"He's a player we have to give a lot of attention because he can decide a game on his own."

Pulisic has scored three goals and registered as many assists during the Gold Cup and USA coach Gregg Berhalter added: "When I think about this month for him it’s been a lot of personal development in terms of him blossoming with his personality within the group, his importance to the team on the field.

"The skills haven't changed from a month ago, but in terms of his role, what he's comfortable with, how he's embracing his role within the team, and his role on and off the field, I think it's been really nice to see.

"The most important thing we've focused on is giving Christian flexibility, putting him in position where he could affect the game in a number of different ways. We wanted to play him central, but also get him wide. When you think about him being central, arriving in the penalty box, the two goals [against Jamaica] were a result of him being in good positions to be able to finish off plays that end up in front of goal. 

"When you think about some of the assists he’s had they've come in wide areas, notably against Curacao. With Christian we know he's a top talent and we want to get him into position to affect the game. We know he can affect the game on an individual level, and he's shown that so far in the tournament." 

Jamaica Head Coach Theodore Whitmore had nothing but respect for both the United States and Jamaica after a wild night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.  

Defending champions the United States set up a blockbuster CONCACAF Gold Cup final against rivals Mexico after beating Jamaica 3-1.

Goals from Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic sent USA through to Sunday's decider following a weather-interrupted semi-final in Nashville.

After McKennie's early opener, Wednesday's game was stopped for one-and-a-half hours due to lightning, but USA were not to be denied when the clash resumed in the 16th minute, with Pulisic doubling the lead seven minutes into the second half.

USA did concede their first goal of the tournament as Jamaica substitute Shamar Nicholson set up a nervy finale with 21 minutes remaining but Pulisic capitalised on another rebound to make sure of the result in the 87th minute.

It was a rematch of the 2017 final won by a Bruce Arena-led USA and the hosts burst out of the blocks and were relentless in attack, with Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake preventing a certain goal by somehow denying Paul Arriola from point-blank range in the fourth minute.

But USA were not to be denied five minutes later as Bradley picked out Reggie Cannon before Jozy Altidore laid the ball onto the oncoming McKennie, who fired past Blake.

However, USA's momentum was abruptly halted by a lengthy delay due to serve weather in 16th minute and the temporary suspension aided Jamaica.

Jamaica emerged from the delay with renewed energy and looked far more threatening, while the United States were disjoined and lacked rhythm.

The half-time interval provided USA with the chance to regroup and the Americans did just that as they moved 2-0 ahead through Chelsea-bound Pulisic in the 52nd minute.

Morris latched onto a McKennie pass and managed to get a shot off, with Blake only parried the ball straight into the path of Pulisic, who tucked away the rebound.

After Gyasi Zardes wasted a great chance for USA, Jamaica's Nicholson headed a Leon Bailey cross into the net to pull a goal back for the 2015 and 2017 runners-up, only for Pulisic to pounce on another rebound with three minutes remaining.

 

Another final for USA

After the pain of missing the 2018 World Cup, USA's rebuild under Berhalter continues to gather pace. Mexico stand in the way of back-to-back Gold Cup triumphs in the first final showdown between the nations since 2011.

Bradley, McKennie impress

It was a fine team display by USA. Not short of critics, veteran midfielder Bradley was cool and calm in possession with his passing a clear highlight. Schalke's McKennie, meanwhile, showed why he is so highly rated with a goal and a couple of defence-splitting balls.

Jamaica can hold heads high

For much of the game, Jamaica were outclassed. But the Reggae Boyz, despite limited resources compared to their USA counterparts, made it tough for the six-time champions just like they did in the 2017 final.

What's next?

USA will look to retain their crown again Mexico in Chicago on Sunday, while Jamaica can look ahead to the CONCACAF Nations League – starting against Antigua and Barbuda on September 6.

United States Manager Gregg Berhalter has plenty of respect for his team’s opposition in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals. It was none other than Jamaica who beat the U.S. 1-0 in a pre-tournament friendly in Washington D.C. back on June 5.

“We’ve been watching them and it’s a good team,” Berhalter said. “We see similarities in the way they played in Washington to the way they’ve been playing in this tournament.”

Berhalter broke down some of his studies on the Jamaica team.

“We know they’re not afraid to play for second balls,” said the coach. “They’ve got wingers coming inside to win second balls. They’ve got some good physicality and quality up top, with attacking midfielders who support the play.”

“They’ve got good counter-attacking quality, good speed up front, and a robust backline,” Berhalter continued. “We’ve been really looking at how we can break them down and do it efficiently.”

The U.S. and Jamaica have matched up in the semifinals or the final in the last two editions of the tournament, a 2-1 win for Jamaica in the 2015 Semifinal in Atlanta and a 2-1 win for the U.S. in the 2017 Final in Santa Clara, California.

Jozy Altidore, who scored one of the great Gold Cup goals in that 2017 Final, has played just once in this 2019 tournament. Berhalter was asked about Altidore’s status going into the semifinal.

“Jozy’s exactly where we need him to be,” Berhalter said.

When asked if that meant he was ready to play on Wednesday, Berhalter replied, “He’s been ready to play.”

Berhalter then concluded by saying that he already has his mind made up as far as his starting eleven against Jamaica is concerned.

The semifinal between the U.S. and Jamaica kicks off at 9:30 ET on Wednesday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

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