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June 13, 2012 at 9:52 AM

U.S. held in Guatemala (Wednesday links)

In case you didn’t go to a bar or fork out the $30 to watch the U.S. men’s national team’s World Cup qualifier in Guatemala, here are some highlights.

Clint Dempsey gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute with a nicely taken goal that Fabian Johnson helped set up with a run from his left-back position. Guatemala responded with a brilliant free kick from Marco Pappa of the Chicago Fire in the 83rd minute and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

The U.S. still leads Group A with four points and a plus-two goal differential. Jamaica also has four points but with a plus-one goal differential. Guatemala and Antigua & Barbuda have a point apiece.

Here’s a roundup of the rest of World Cup qualifying Tuesday with a focus on CONCACAF, where Mexico and Costa Rica lead Group B, and Panama and Canada top Group C.

Let’s get to some links:

* * *

— Over to Euro ’12 and each team is still alive in Group A after two games. Russia leads with four points, followed by Czech Republic (three), Poland (two) and Greece (one). UEFA has punished Russia “for improper conduct of its supporters” leading into and during a group-stage game against Poland. Here’s a recap of the violence.

— Also from the big tournament, Italy forward Antonio Cassano said something stupid and tried to apologize for it. Also, ratings have been pretty good so far.

— In some international news that might also resonate a little bit locally, Chelsea has given Roberto Di Matteo a two-year contract and the title of first-team head coach on a permanent basis. That’s the reward for winning the UEFA Champions League and it appears he’ll be the guy on the sidelines for a July 18 friendly in Seattle.

Here’s a story on Sounders waiver draft pick Daniel Steres, which makes it seems like a contract is closer than it had appeared a couple day ago.

— Around MLS, Philadelphia has called for an afternoon press conference, so we’ll see what comes of that. Sounds like coach Peter Nowak won’t be present and CEO Nick Sakiewicz will run the show. Montreal’s new DP forward Marco Di Vaio practiced with his team, but will have to report back to Italy as part of a match-fixing investigation.

— Lastly, Men’s Health talks about the smarts of soccer players, which one study says is “significantly higher than the general population.”

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