Italy fires national team soccer coach Ventura after failure to earn World Cup berth

Thomas Northcut/DigitalVision/Thinkstock(ROME) -- The Italian Football Federation announced the firing of the head coach of the national soccer team on Wednesday after he failed to guide them to next summer's World Cup.

Italy lost to Sweden, 1-0 on aggregate, in a World Cup qualifying playoff earlier this week, marking the first time the team will miss a World Cup since 1958. As a result, on Wednesday, the IFF announced that Gian Piero Ventura would not return as the national team's head coach.

The search for a successor begins immediately, with the team's next match scheduled for March 27 -- a friendly against England.

Ventura coached the Italian team for 17 matches, winning ten, drawing four and losing three. ESPN noted that his tenure ends as rumors persist about disatisfaction among some of the more experienced players.

Italian news agency ANSA quoted Renzo Ulivieri, president of the Italian Coaches' Association, as saying before Wednesday's announcement that "not going to Russia is a problem, and we're not stupid enough not to realize that."

"In view of such a result, the whole system needs to be questioned," he added. "It would have been wrong [for Ventura] to resign in the heat of the moment -- it's always best to meet first."

ESPN named Carlo Ancelotti as one of the favorites to take the job. Ancelotti has coached for AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in his career. He was fired by Bayern Munich last month.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 11/14/17

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:

Boston 109, Brooklyn 102
Toronto 129, Houston 113
San Antonio 97, Dallas 91

Pittsburgh 5, Buffalo 4; OT  
Florida 4, Dallas 3; SO  
Columbus 2, Montreal 1; OT  
Minnesota 3, Philadelphia 0
Winnipeg 4, Arizona 1
Nashville 6, Washington 3
Edmonton 8, Vegas 2
Vancouver 3, L.A. Kings 2

(1) Duke 88, (2) Michigan St. 81
(4) Kansas 65, (7) Kentucky 61
(5) Villanova 113, Nicholls 77
(17) Gonzaga 106, Howard 69
(19) Purdue 86, Marquette 71

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UCLA basketball players admit to shoplifting in China, thank Trump 

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) --  The three UCLA basketball players detained in China last week have admitted to shoplifting and thanked President Donald Trump for helping them return to the U.S.

The players remain suspended indefinitely as UCLA reviews the situation, Coach Steve Alford said, adding they will not travel with the team and will not suit up for home games.

Last week, while in China for a game against Georgia Tech, the three players, LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, were detained for questioning following shoplifting allegations. The rest of the UCLA team returned home without them on Saturday. Ball, Hill and Riley returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday.

At Wednesday's press conference Riley said he takes "full responsibility for the mistake I have made -- shoplifting," and said he is "embarrassed" and "ashamed."

Riley thanked the Chinese police and government for taking care of them and he also thanked Trump and the U.S. government for intervening "on our behalf."

"I will never do anything again to jeopardize UCLA's reputation," Riley said.

Ball apologized for "stealing" from the stores in China, calling it a "stupid decision."

Ball said he "didn't exercise my best judgement," adding, "I've learned my lesson."

He also thanked Trump and the U.S. government for helping and said he takes "full responsibility" for his actions.

Hill admitted to shoplifting and thanked the president as well, describing his actions as "stupid" and "childish."

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement Tuesday that "the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities."

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said Tuesday, "Our primary concern remains the safety and well-being of all members of our community, particularly our students. I am grateful they are headed home."

Block added, "When members of the UCLA family fail to uphold these values, we review these incidents with fair and thorough processes. In this particular case, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students. Such proceedings are confidential, which limits the specific information that can be shared."

Trump on Tuesday said he personally appealed to China's President Xi Jingping to help resolve the case. The president said Xi was "terrific" in response to his request and indicated he would intervene.

On Wednesday, hours before that players' press conference, Trump tweeted, "Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!"

ABC News' Tiffany Hsieh contributed to this report.

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Trump personally asked Chinese president to resolve case of detained UCLA players

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said he has personally appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of three UCLA men's basketball players who were arrested for alleged shoplifting in China last week and now potentially face lengthy jail time.

"When I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi," Trump told reporters on Air Force One shortly after taking off today from Manila, Philippines.

"What they did was unfortunate. You know, you're talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games," he said of the Chinese justice system.

The three freshmen UCLA basketball players were arrested in China on shoplifting charges last Tuesday.
Among the arrested was LiAngelo Ball, younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball. Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were also arrested.

The men were released on bail early Wednesday morning, but were required to stay in their Hangzhou hotel until the legal process is over, which could take days, weeks or even months, ESPN reported.

Xi was "terrific" in response to his request and has indicated he will intervene in the case, Trump said.

"Hopefully, everything is going to work out, and I know they're very grateful because they were told exactly what happened," he said.

Trump, who has branded himself as a tough-on-crime politician, seemed to concede the players' guilt, but said it's a "very, very rough situation with what happened to them."

Asked whether he expects the men to be released to the United States soon, Trump said: "I hope so. I hope so."

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Scoreboard Roundup -- 11/13/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the latest scores from today's sports events:

Washington 110, Sacramento 92
Cleveland 104, N.Y. Knicks 101
Milwaukee 110, Memphis 103
New Orleans 106, Atlanta 105
Minnesota 109, Utah 98
L.A. Lakers 100, Phoenix 93
Portland 99, Denver 82
Golden State 110, Orlando 100
Philadelphia 109, L.A. Clippers 105

Carolina 5, Dallas 1
Calgary 7, St. Louis 4

Carolina 45, Miami 21

(6) Wichita St. 81, Coll. of Charleston 63
(8) Florida 116, Gardner-Webb 74
(10) Southern Cal  75, N. Dakota St. 65
(12) Cincinnati 102, W. Carolina 51
(13) Notre Dame 88, Mount St. Mary's 62
(14) Minnesota 86, Providence 74
(15) Xavier 101, Rider 75
(20) Northwestern 75, St. Peter's 66
(21) Saint Mary's (Cal) 92, New Mexico St. 74
(25) Baylor 70, Texas A&M-CC 46

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Boston's Betts rolls perfect game at PBA event

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Boston Red Sox All-Star Mookie Betts rolled a perfect 300 in the final qualifying round of a World Series of Bowling event Sunday night in Reno, Nevada.

Betts is competing in his second World Series of Bowling in the past three years. Through 35 games, he averaged a score of 204.71 and is ranked 156th out of 195 players. In his 2015 debut, he averaged 190 per game.

The right fielder told the PBA Network that it was probably his tenth perfect game he has ever bowled, but the first in a Professional Bowlers Association event.

Betts won a Gold Glove last week as the American League's top right fielder. This past season, he had a .264 batting average with 24 home runs and 102 RBIs.

He will not be making the PBA World Championship, but a PBA spokesperson said Betts will rejoin the tour in February to compete in the annual Chris Paul Celebrity Invitational in Houston. Betts finished second last year with his partner Tommy Jones.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 11/12/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the latest scores from today's sports events:

Boston 95, Toronto 94
Detroit 112, Miami 103
Houston 118, Indiana 95
Oklahoma City 112, Dallas 99


New Jersey 7, Chicago 5
Washington 2, Edmonton 1; SO
Tampa Bay  2, Anaheim 1
San Jose 2, L.A. Kings 1


Green Bay 23, Chicago 16
Minnesota 38, Washington 30
New Orleans 47, Buffalo 10
Tennessee 24, Cincinnati 20
Pittsburgh 20, Indianapolis 17
Detroit 38, Cleveland 24
Tampa Bay 15, N.Y. Jets 10
Jacksonville 20, L.A. Chargers 17; OT  
L.A. Rams 33, Houston 7
Atlanta 27, Dallas  7
San Francisco 31, N.Y. Giants 21
New England 41, Denver 16

(3) Arizona 103, UMBC 78
(5) Kentucky 73, Vermont 69
(13) Miami 89, Navy 55
(16) Louisville 72, George Mason 61
(20) Purdue 111, Chicago St. 42
(23) Seton Hall 75, Monmouth (NJ) 65

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Scoreboard roundup -- 11/11/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Saturday’s sports events:

New Orleans 111, L.A. Clippers 103
Washington 113, Atlanta 94
Houston 111, Memphis 96
N.Y. Knicks 118, Sacramento 91
San Antonio 133, Chicago 94
Golden State 135, Philadelphia 114
Cleveland 111, Dallas 104
Milwaukee 98, L.A. Lakers 90
Denver 125, Orlando 107
Utah 114, Brooklyn 106
Phoenix 118, Minnesota 110

N.Y. Rangers 4, Edmonton 2
Ottawa 4, Colorado 3
OT Montreal 2, Buffalo 1
Toronto 4, Boston 1
SO Columbus 2, Detroit 1
Minnesota 1, Philadelphia 0
OT Chicago 4, Carolina 3
New Jersey 2, Florida 1
N.Y. Islanders 5, St. Louis 2
SO Nashville 5, Pittsburgh 4
Winnipeg 4, Arizona 1
San Jose 5, Vancouver 0

(1) Alabama 31, (18) Mississippi St. 24
(10) Auburn 40, (2) Georgia 17
(7) Miami 41, (3) Notre Dame 8
(4) Clemson 31, Florida St. 14
(5) Oklahoma 38, (8) TCU 20
(6) Wisconsin 38, (25) Iowa 14
(11) Ohio St. 48, (13) Michigan St. 3
(12) Oklahoma St. 49, (24) Iowa St. 42
(14) UCF 49, UConn 24
(15) Southern Cal 38, Colorado 24
(16) Penn St. 35, Rutgers 6
Georgia Tech 28, (17) Virginia Tech 22
(19) Washington St. 33, Utah 25
(21) Michigan 35, Maryland 10
(23) West Virginia 28, Kansas St. 23

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Scoreboard roundup -- 11/10/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Friday’s games:

Detroit 111, Atlanta 104
Boston 90, Charlotte 87
Indiana 105, Chicago 87
Milwaukee 94, San Antonio 87
Oklahoma City 120, L.A. Clippers 111
Orlando 128, Phoenix 112
Miami 84, Utah 74
Brooklyn 101, Portland 97


Ottawa 4, Colorado 3
Toronto 3, Boston 2
Florida 4, Buffalo 1
Carolina 3, Columbus 1
Washington 4, Pittsburgh 1
Dallas 5, N.Y. Islanders 0
Vegas 5, Winnipeg 2

Stanford 30, (9) Washington 22

(1) Duke 97, Elon 68
(2) Michigan St. 98, North Florida 66
(3) Arizona 101, N. Arizona 67
(4) Kansas 92, Tennessee St. 56
(5) Kentucky 73, Utah Valley 63
(6) Villanova 75, Columbia 60
(7) Wichita St. 109, UMKC 57
(9) North Carolina 86, N. Iowa 69
(10) Southern Cal 84, Cal St.-Fullerton 42
(25) Texas A&M 88, (11) West Virginia 65
(12) Cincinnati 107, Savannah St. 77
(13) Miami 77, Gardner-Webb 45
(15) Minnesota 92, SC-Upstate 77
(17) Xavier 101, Morehead St. 49
(18) Gonzaga 97, Texas Southern 69
(19) Northwestern 79, Loyola (Md.) 75
(20) Purdue 105, SIU-Edwardsville 74
(21) UCLA 63, Georgia Tech 60
(23) Seton Hall 90, Fairleigh Dickinson 68
(24) Baylor 107, Cent. Arkansas 66

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Hope Solo accuses former FIFA head Sepp Blatter of sexual assault

Christof Koepsel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. soccer star Hope Solo has accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulting her in 2013, according to a new interview with the Portugese newspaper Expresso.

Solo said he groped her at the Ballon d'Or award ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, before she went on stage to present FIFA's women's player of the year award to her teammate, Abby Wambach.

"I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass," she told Expresso. "...right before I went on stage... It's been normalized."

A spokesman for Blatter said to Expresso and The Guardian that Solo's allegation was "ridiculous."

Solo told Expresso that "when things like that happen," referring to Blatter's alleged groping, she will "usually speak directly with the person."

"In the case of Sepp Blatter, I went on the stage, I was nervous for the presentation... It was the Ballon D'Or I was presenting," she said to Expresso. "After that I didn't see him and that was kind of bad. I didn't get to tell him directly “Don't ever touch me!” That's the way I've always handled things. Directly."

Blatter, 81, served as president of FIFA from 1998-2015. He was suspended by the organization's ethics committee in 2015 after an investigation into allegations of corruption and bribery among several top soccer officials.

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