Argentina’s Paulo Dybala, center, controls the ball during a qualifying soccer match for the World Cup against Colombia at Cordoba, Argentina, on Tuesday. Gustavo Garello/Associated Press


Colombia will need a miracle to play in the next World Cup after its 1-0 loss to Argentina in South American qualifying on Tuesday at Cordoba, Argentina.

Lautaro Martinez scored the only goal of the match in Cordoba in the 29th minute after he was left alone in the penalty box by two Colombia defenders.

Goalkeeper Camilo Vargas made several important saves, including three shots by veteran Angel di Maria.

Argentina did not count on superstar Lionel Messi, who is still recovering from COVID-19. But the team – and Brazil – have already secured their places in the World Cup.

Colombia is in seventh place with 17 points. Peru, currently in fifth place with 20 points, will play later against Ecuador in Lima. If the Peruvians win, the closest rival to Colombia in a qualifying position will be Uruguay, with 22 points.


Uruguay has two games left: Peru at home and Chile away. Colombia’s last rivals are less dangerous, Bolivia at home and Venezuela away.

South America has four direct spots in the World Cup. The fifth position will play an international playoff against an Asian team for a berth.

Earlier, Chile beat Bolivia 3-2 in the altitude of La Paz thanks to two goals by Alexis Sanchez and another by Marcelino Nunez. The result kept the Chileans in contention in sixth place with 19 points and nearly ended the chances of the hosts, who remain with 15 points. The Bolivian goals came from Marc Enoumba and Marcelo Martins.

South Korea qualified for a 10th successive World Cup after beating Syria 2-0 in Dubai. Second-half goals from Kim Jin-su and Kwon Chang-hoon gave the Koreans a comfortable victory over the bottom team in Asia Group A qualifying.

South Korea moved 11 points clear of the third-placed United Arab Emirates, which has just three games remaining. The top two teams from each of the two groups automatically qualify. The third-place teams advance to playoffs.

MANCHESTER UNITED: Mason Greenwood remained in police custody as officers investigating an attack on a woman also started to question him on suspicion of sexual assault and threats to kill.


The 20-year-old forward was arrested initially on Sunday on suspicion of rape and assault after police said they became “aware of online social media images and videos posted by a woman reporting incidents of physical violence.”

A court granted police until Wednesday to continue holding Greenwood, who has not been charged and is now being questioned over further allegations.


BOBSLED: World Cup champion Elana Meyers Taylor’s quest to add to her Olympic medal total at the Beijing Games is in jeopardy after the veteran U.S. women’s bobsled pilot revealed Tuesday she has tested positive for COVID-19.

USA Bobsled and Skeleton remains hopeful that Meyers Taylor will be able to compete at the Beijing Games, especially since bobsled doesn’t begin until about a week into the Olympics. Women’s monobob official training begins Feb. 10, with competition beginning Feb. 13. Training for the two-woman event starts Feb. 15, with competition beginning Feb. 18.

She is the only woman to win three Olympic bobsled medals for the U.S., with two silvers and a bronze already in her collection. If she is cleared, she still would be considered a medal contender in both events; monobob, with just a driver in the sled, is part of the Olympic program for the first time.


SKI JUMPING: Marita Kramer will miss the Beijing Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, the Austrian team said.

Kramer cannot travel after a PCR test in Salzburg confirmed the infection detected over the weekend in Germany, the Austrian ski federation said.

The 20-year-old Kramer was due to compete at her first Winter Olympics. The women’s normal hill competition on Saturday is one of the first medal events of the Beijing Games.

She has won six World Cup events this season and leads the standings.

OPENING CEREMONY: Olympic officials in Taiwan have reversed a decision to skip Friday’s opening ceremony of the Beijing Games, saying they were pressured to do so by the IOC.

Taiwanese athletes compete as Chinese Taipei at the Olympics as part of a decades-old agreement with China brokered by the International Olympic Committee. China claims the self-ruled island of Taiwan as its own territory and has an ongoing policy of diplomatic and military intimidation.


The IOC said “the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee has confirmed its participation” in opening and closing ceremonies at this year’s Winter Games. The statement did not address the Olympic body’s own role in the process.

Officials in Taiwan said the country would “adjust” its plan not to have an opening ceremony delegation in Beijing after repeated requests by the IOC to attend and fulfill obligations under the Olympic Charter.

Last year, the IOC cited charter rules when suspending North Korea from the Beijing Games for refusing to send a team to the Tokyo Olympics.

The Taiwanese team, which has four athletes competing at the Beijing Games, had also identified COVID-19 security among reasons not wanting to send officials to the ceremonies.


DAYTONA 500: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is ready to put The Money into NASCAR.


The long-delayed debut of The Money Team Racing team is set for the Daytona 500 later this month, with Kaz Grala as the driver. The team secured sponsorship from sunglass company Pit Viper and Grala will drive the No. 50 Chevrolet for the retired boxing great.

Mayweather is the latest A-lister on the grid and joins Michael Jordan and Pitbull as celebrities over the last two years who have become NASCAR team owners. UFC President Dana White struck a marketing partnership deal this week with Pitbull’s Trackhouse Racing starting with the exhibition Clash in Los Angeles.

Mayweather’s team, though, does not have a charter that would guarantee it a spot in the field and will run Daytona as an open car. That means with some 42 teams hoping to qualify for a spot in the 40-car field, Grala will have to race his way into the field.


WNBA: Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd have agreed to return to Seattle, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday night because no official announcement has been made. Free agents can’t officially sign with teams until Tuesday.

Stewart will sign a one-year deal for the supermax salary of $228,094 with the Storm. That potentially gives her one more season with point guard Sue Bird, the WNBA’s all-time assist leader who announced on social media that she’d return for one more year. Terms of Loyd’s deal were not clear.

The Storm won the 2018 and 2020 championships with that same core group of players and were poised to make another run at the title before Stewart got hurt late in the regular season and missed the overtime playoff loss to Phoenix.

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