1. 2018 FIFA World Cup predictions: Can Germany become first repeat winner since 1962?
The 2018 World Cup kicks off Thursday when host nation Russia plays Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Here is how USA TODAY Sports experts, as well as guest prognosticators, see this summer’s tournament playing out:
Martin Rogers (@RogersJourno), USA TODAY Sports
Round of 16 teams: Russia, Uruguay, Spain, Portugal, France, Denmark, Argentina, Nigeria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, England, Japan, Colombia
Semifinals: France vs. Brazil, Spain vs. Germany
Final: Spain over France
Golden Boot (top goal-scorer): Antoine Griezmann, France
Golden Ball (best player): David Silva, Spain
Golden Glove (best goalkeeper): David de Gea, Spain
Young Player Award (best player born on or after Jan. 1, 1997): Gabriel Jesus, Brazil
2. Gattis drives in 5 as Astros beat A’s for 6th straight win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs, Carlos Correa returned from a four-game absence and homered on the first pitch he saw, and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight win.
Lance McCullers Jr. (8-3) struck out five over seven strong innings, allowing two runs and five hits while winning a second straight decision. He surrendered Stephen Piscotty’s sacrifice fly in the second and then kept Oakland’s powerful order in check. Correa was back in the lineup at shortstop after missing a series sweep at Texas with soreness in his right side after leaving last Wednesday’s game against the Mariners following an at-bat in the seventh inning.
3. Yemen war: Saudi-backed forces begin assault on port of Hudaydah
Rebel positions are being bombarded from the air and sea, according to regional media. Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if the city is attacked, with up to a quarter of a million casualties possible. The port is the main entry point for humanitarian aid into Yemen. More than seven million people in the war-torn country are dependent on food aid.
The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network reported that the “liberation” of Hudaydah had begun with a large-scale ground assault supported by air and naval cover. Explosions were heard on the outskirts of the port city, it added. The Yemeni government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi said in a statement that all political means to persuade the rebels to withdraw had been exhausted.
4. Primary takeaways: Women keep winning and a Trump tweet can be fatal
WASHINGTON — For Mark Sanford, the Republican Party looks a lot like the party of President Donald Trump. The sitting Republican House member lost his primary race to state Rep. Katie Arrington, who campaigned as a Trump ally, after the president made a last-minute endorsement of Arrington.
Sanford has been one of the few members to criticize the president, and GOP primary voters punished him for it, handing him his first electoral defeat. Some folks who were not feeling the sting of defeat? Women, particularly Democratic women, who won primary elections across the country.
5. Trump-Kim summit: Pentagon remains ‘ironclad’ after war games cancelled
Mr Trump made the announcement after Tuesday’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. The move is seen as a big concession to North Korea and appeared to take US allies in the region by surprise. Meanwhile, North Korean state media said Mr Kim had accepted an offer from President Trump to visit the US.
KCNA news agency said Mr Kim had invited Mr Trump to visit Pyongyang “at a convenient time” and Mr Trump had also invited Mr Kim to the United States. “The two top leaders gladly accepted each other’s invitation,” KCNA added. In his first reported comments since the talks, Mr Kim said it was “urgent” to halt “irritating and hostile military actions against each other”.