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Balotelli leads Italy to final against Spain

Fri., June 29, 2012

Italy’s Mario Balotelli, right, and Germany’s Mats Hummels duel for the ball during the Euro 2012 semifinal in Warsaw, Poland. (Associated Press)
Italy’s Mario Balotelli, right, and Germany’s Mats Hummels duel for the ball during the Euro 2012 semifinal in Warsaw, Poland. (Associated Press)

SOCCER: Mario Balotelli was the two-goal hero on Thursday as Italy stopped high-flying Germany 2-1 in the Euro 2012 semifinals to earn another date with Spain for the trophy.

Balotelli, a Manchester City forward, headed the opening goal in the 20th minute and smacked home the second in the 36th for the Azzurri, who remain unbeaten against Germany in competitive games.

Germany coach Joachim Loew finally ran out of luck with his tactical schemes and Mesut Oezil’s stoppage-time penalty was too late.

Beckham left off Olympic team: Former England captain David Beckham failed to make the British football team for the London Olympics. The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder made Britain coach Stuart Pearce’s short list of 35 but wasn’t selected for the final 18-man squad as one of three players over the age of 23 allowed to compete in the games.

Phelps dominates swimming trials

SWIMMING: Michael Phelps stayed on course to swim eight events at the London Games, pulling away for a dominating win in the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb.

“The last 25 meters are pretty painful,” Phelps said. “I just wanted to get to the wall and secure another spot on the team.”

Phelps has locked up three individual events for London and he’s got two more to go in Omaha. Combined with a likely spot on all three relays, the 26-year-old from Baltimore – already the winningest Olympian ever – would have a chance to duplicate his record from the Beijing Games if he doesn’t stumble over the next three days.

Davis Tarwater led at the first and second turns, but there was never any doubt about Phelps pulling ahead in his signature stroke. He surged to the front on the third leg and was a body-length ahead of the field when he touched in 1 minute, 53.65 seconds.

Injury forces Wade to skip Olympics

BASKETBALL: Dwyane Wade needs surgery on his ailing left knee and will not play in next month’s Olympics.

The Miami Heat guard called USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski to break the news, which was not totally unexpected after Wade played through pain in the postseason.

If all goes according to plan, Wade will be ready for the start of training camp with the Heat this fall.

Deal could send Odom back to Clippers: A person with knowledge of the deal says Lamar Odom is headed back to Los Angeles for a second chance with the Clippers and Mo Williams will be reunited with Utah.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a three-team deal between the Dallas Mavericks, Clippers and Jazz is contingent on Williams invoking his $8.5 million player option for next season. That person told The Associated Press that would happen today.

Golden State coach claims extortion: Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson said that he and his family were the targets of an extortion attempt related to an extramarital affair he had six years ago.

The Smoking Gun reported that a 28-year-old former stripper, Alexis Adams, possessed nude photographs of Jackson and wanted money to keep the photos from becoming public.

Van Pelt leads AT&T National

GOLF: Bo Van Pelt holed out from the fairway for eagle and kept bogeys off his card for a 4-under 67. It gave him a one-shot lead in the AT&T National, which felt more like a U.S. Open than Congressional did last year.

Only seven players managed to post scores in the 60s, and the average score was about 73.5.

Tiger Woods didn’t play the U.S. Open last year. Even so, the course was far stronger than when he last won here in 2009. Woods was never under par in the opening round and had to settle for a 72.

Vijay Singh, Brendon De Jonge and Jimmy Walker were at 68, while Pat Perez, Jason Day and Billy Hurley III were at 69.

Vaughan leads in Seniors: Bruce Vaughan shot a 6-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Fred Funk in the Senior Players Championship, the third of five Champions Tour majors. Greg Norman opened with a 67 in his first Champions Tour event since 2009.

Kings, Quick agree to 10-year contract

Miscellany: Jonathan Quick agreed to a 10-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings, who locked up their National Hockey League playoff MVP goalie through the 2022-23 season.

Penguins agree to 12-year deal with Crosby: The Pittsburgh Penguins and superstar center Sidney Crosby agreed to a 12-year NHL contract extension. That leaves little doubt Crosby has overcome the concussion-like symptoms that sidelined him for most of the last two seasons.

Armstrong’s team points to Landis, Hamilton: Lance Armstrong’s legal team says Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, former Armstrong teammates who have admitted using performance-enhancing drugs, are part of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s efforts to prove the cyclist doped during his record-setting career.

U.S. softball team wins: Chelsea Thomas struck out six in 3 2/3 innings, Christie Orgeron had a pair of doubles and two RBIs and the United States beat Puerto Rico 8-0 in five innings on the first day of the World Cup of Softball at Oklahoma City.

Buescher wins at Sparta: James Buescher held the lead for most of the way in temperatures approaching 100 degrees, fending off challengers to win the NASCAR Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway at Sparta, Ky.


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