SOCCER

Zack Steffen has earned the No. 1 goalkeeper position on the U.S. national team and will start his third straight World Cup qualifier when the Americans play Jamaica on Tuesday night.

Coach Gregg Berhalter said Monday that Steffen’s superior footwork and ability to aid possession were the decisive factors.

Berhalter said star Christian Pulisic will play a role in the match, the start of the second half of qualifying, but he wasn’t sure whether the 23-year-old attacker will start.

The U.S. leads North and Central America and the Caribbean with 14 points, ahead of Mexico on goal difference, followed by Canada with 13 and Panama with 11. The top three nations qualify.

• Lionel Messi will play for Argentina when they face Brazil on Tuesday in a World Cup qualifier missing Neymar because of left thigh pains.

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Messi, who has been bothered by a knee injury, will play in San Juan in a match that could earn the team a spot in next year’s World Cup, Argentina Coach Lionel Scaloni said

• Kenya won its final World Cup qualifying game to provide a moment of relief from the crisis engulfing its national soccer federation.

Michael Olunga volleyed Kenya ahead in the third minute on the way to beating Rwanda 2-1. Richard Odada added the second from the penalty spot and Kenya was 2-0 up inside 15 minutes in Nairobi.

Olivier Niyonzima met a free kick with a side-foot volley for Rwanda’s goal, just its second goal in six games in the group stage qualifiers.

The result meant little with both teams already eliminated from contention for next year’s World Cup in Qatar. .

• England hit double figures in goals in a competitive game for the first time to power into the World Cup.

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Harry Kane enjoyed himself, in particular, in the embarrassingly one-sided 10-0 win over San Marino that secured England first place in Group I of European qualifying.

England’s captain scored four goals – all in the first half, with two of them being penalties – to move his international tally to 48, which is tied with Gary Lineker and only five off Wayne Rooney’s all-time record for the country.

• Italy will have to go through the playoffs once again in its bid to reach the World Cup.

By drawing 0-0 at Northern Ireland, Italy – crowned European champion only four months ago – had to settle for finishing as the runner-up in its European qualifying group behind Switzerland, which beat Bulgaria 4-0.

Italy will need to get through two one-leg matchups to advance in a newly devised playoff system. The draw takes place on Nov. 26 and Italy will be at home for its first match because it will be a seeded team.

•  John Souttar scored in his first international game for three years to give Scotland a 2-0 win over Denmark in World Cup qualifying and secure a home draw in the playoffs.

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BASKETBALL

WORLD CUP: USA Basketball picked its initial team for the opening games of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.

Jordan Bell, who won a title with Golden State in 2018, was among the 12 players announced as the team that will represent the U.S. when qualifying starts in Mexico later this month with games against Cuba and Mexico. Most of the players on the roster have NBA experience and will be coming to the U.S. team from current stints in the G League.

Frank Mason III and Chasson Randle have been part of World Cup qualifying teams before for the U.S. and were picked for this roster. Also selected along with Bell, Mason and Randle: Brian Bowen II, Josh Gray, Shaq Harrison, DaQuan Jeffries, BJ Johnson, Orlando Johnson, Luke Kornet, Zavier Simpson and Emanuel Terry.

Combined, they’ve made nearly 900 regular-season NBA appearances for 17 teams.

Jim Boylen will coach the U.S. team, assisted by Othella Harrington and Ty Ellis. The Americans will train in Houston for about a week, starting Saturday, before traveling to Chihuahua, Mexico, to play Cuba on Nov. 28 and Mexico on Nov. 29.

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TENNIS

ATP FINALS: Five-time champion Novak Djokovic reopened his ATP Finals account and beat Casper Ruud 7-6 (4), 6-2 at Turin, Italy.

He’s attempting to match Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the elite season-ending event for the top eight players.

In the other group match, Andrey Rublev topped 2018 champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4.

WTA FINALS: Iga Swiatek departed the WTA Finals with a win after spoiling Paula Badosa’s birthday 7-5, 6-4  at Guadalajara, Mexico.

Swiatek couldn’t advance from her group after losing her first two singles but got to finish her two-title season with a smile. She also ended Badosa’s eight-match winning streak.


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