La Roja, Rankings & Rivals


By: Jeff Yoder

Good Morning,

Spain is heading to its first-ever women’s World Cup final, and we’re about to find out who they’ll play. Will it be England or Australia for all the marbles? (live updates)

Plus, another MLB team is putting baseball on notice with an epic win streak. The WNBA’s first in-season hardware belongs to New York. And Lionel Messi just keeps shredding the opposition.

Letter Rip!



¡Para España!

Photo: Michael Bradley / Getty Images

Spain Notches 1st World Cup Finals Berth With Exhilarating Finish Against Sweden (2-1) — All 3 Goals in Final 10 Minutes

The second FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal is underway right now (Australia vs. England), but we already have one finalist for Sunday — a first-timer! Spain is heading to its first-ever World Cup final after a scintillating match with Sweden on Tuesday morning. A scoreless draw (0-0) was the storyline until a frantic finish saw three goals in the final 10 minutes. Salma Paralluelo (81’) put Spain on the board with the would-be winner, but Sweden answered off the boot of Rebecka Bloomqvist seven minutes later (88’). With extra-time looming, Spain had one last moment of magic. A corner-kick in the 89th minute was played safely to Olga Carmona, and she ripped a majestic screamer from outside the 18 that dipped into the crossbar and bounced into the net. No extra-time needed. La Roja is heading to the World Cup final for the first time in history!

Watch: Spain Tops Sweden (2-1) to Reach 1st Women’s World Cup Final

Today’s Match (Semifinals)

🇦🇺 Australia vs. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England (Kickoff: 6:00 am ET)

Live Updates

World Cup Final

🇪🇸 Spain vs. TBD (Sun. 6:00 am ET)

Fun Fact: None of the remaining three teams have ever been to the Women’s World Cup Final. Only England (3rd place, 2015) has finished top-3.

Remaining Team Nicknames: La Roja (Spain), The Lionesses (England), The Matildas (Australia)

Read More

EuroSport: Olga Carmona Stunner Sees La Roja Into 1st-Ever World Cup Final

FOX Sports: How Salma Paralluelo Went From Track Star to Spain’s World Cup Game-Changer

Yahoo! Sports: Australian ‘Spygate’: Newspaper Flies Helicopter Over England’s Closed Practice



Power Rankings: Dodger Alert

Photo: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Dodgers Climb Into Top-3 After 9th Straight Win Signals Warning to Rest of MLB

There’s a warning being sent across major league baseball, and it’s coming from Los Angeles. This week’s MLB Power Rankings feature familiar teams at the top, but one club is quickly vaulting from a consistent top-10 to a top-3 nod. We had the Dodgers at No. 4 while riding an eight-game win streak until last night. Make it nine straight for L.A. after the Dodgers handled the Brewers last night (6-2), and Bobby Miller was downright disgusting — 6 IP, 4 Ks, 1 Hit 1 Run. After giving a hit to the leadoff man in the first inning, the 24-year-old righty retired 18 consecutive batters. The Dodgers are all the way up to No. 3 this week, but the top-five teams could all make a strong case for No. 1. Here’s how we see ‘em with six weeks of regular-season ball to play.

MLB Power Rankings

1. Braves (77-42) | ↑1

2. Orioles (74-46) | ↓1

3. Dodgers (72-46) | ↑2

4. Rangers (72-48) | ↓1

5. Rays (72-51) | ↓1

6. Astros (69-52) | —

7. Blue Jays (67-54) | —

8. Brewers (65-55) | ↑3

9. Phillies (65-55) | —

10. Giants (64-56) | ↓3

Teams 11-20

11. Twins (63-58) | ↓1

12. Marlins (63-58) | ↑3

13. Mariners (64-55) | ↑1

14. Cubs (61-58) | ↓1

15. Reds (62-59) | ↓3

16. Red Sox (63-56) | —

17. Yankees (60-60) | ↑1

18. Diamondbacks (60-60) | ↓1

19. Angels (59-62) | ↑1

20. Guardians (58-62) | ↑1

Teams 21-30

21. Padres (57-63) | ↓2

22. Nationals (53-67) | ↑2

23. Mets (54-66) | —

24. Pirates (54-66) | ↓2

25. Cardinals (54-66) | ↑1

26. Tigers (53-66) | ↓1

27. White Sox (48-72) | —

28. Rockies (46-74) | —

29. Royals (39-82) | —

30. Athletics (33-87) | —

Home Run Race

1. Matt Olson (ATL): 43 HRs

2. Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 41 HRs

3. Pete Alonso (NYM): 35 HRs

4. Luis Robert (CWS): 32 HRs

5. Mookie Betts (LAD): 31 HRs

MLB Quick-Hitters



Match 6: The Messi Effect

Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images

Lionel Messi Scores 9th Goal in 6 Matches, Sends Inter Miami Into Leagues Cup Final

You thought the hype would calm down? Think again. The Inter Miami turnaround just keeps getting more ridiculous since the addition of Lionel Messi and his former Barcelona teammates, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. Miami was 0-3-3 in the last six matches before Messi’s arrival. After last night’s 4-1 blowout against Philadelphia Union, Miami is now 6-0-0 since Messi and company stepped foot on American soil. Yes, Messi scored again — a line-drive left-footer from nearly 30 yards — to mark his ninth goal in just six matches. Tuesday’s showdown in Philly earned Miami a spot in the Leagues Cup Final, as well as an invitation to the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup — both historic firsts in franchise history. And the turnaround in Miami is pure magic.

Watch: Messi Scores 9th Goal in 6 Games, Lifts Inter Miami to Leagues Cup Final

Inter Miami’s 2023 Season

Before Messi: 22 Matches, 5 Wins, 22 Goals

After Messi: 6 Matches, 6 Wins, 21 Goals

Leagues Cup Final

Nashville SC vs. Inter Miami CF (Sat. 9:00 pm ET)

Read More

ESPN: Messi Scores in 6th Straight Game to Put Inter Miami Into Leagues Cup Final

Yahoo! Sports: Lionel Messi, Inter Miami Roll Over Philadelphia 4-1 to Reach Leagues Cup Final



Battle of the Bests

Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Liberty Roll Aces (82-63) for 1st WNBA Commissioner’s Cup in Battle of WNBA’s Top-2 Teams

There’s a rivalry brewing in the WNBA! The Las Vegas Aces have been the W’s team to beat over the past two seasons, but the New York Liberty are stepping on the gas. Both squads met Tuesday night for the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup — the third iteration of the league’s in-season tournament — and the Liberty ran away with it. Vegas held a two-point lead at halftime before New York caught fire in the second half and outscored the Aces by 21. It was a full-team effort with five players in double figures for the Liberty, including Jonquel Jones’ 16-point, 15-rebound double-double.

Tale of Two Juggernauts: Tuesday marked just the third loss of the year for the Aces, but it was their first home loss in 2023. Both teams are far-and-away the top-two squads. The Aces (27-3) are just two wins away from breaking the WNBA’s single-season wins record, and the Liberty (24-6) are riding a seven-game win streak. Finals, anyone?

Watch: Liberty Pull Away Late to Beat Aces (82-63) & Win Commissioner’s Cup

Aces vs. Liberty This Season (2023 Matchups)

June 29: Aces Win (98-81)

August 6: Liberty Win (99-61)

August 15: Liberty Win (82-63)

The top two clubs in the WNBA will meet two more times before the regular season ends, including Thursday in the desert (10:00 pm ET).

Read More

SI: Win City: Liberty Victory in Vegas Earns Commissioner’s Cup

Yahoo! Sports: Sabrina Ionescu, Jonquel Jones & Liberty Shut Down Aces to Win WNBA In-Season Title



Ryder Cup Decisions

As the 2023 Ryder Cup draws closer, the United States team picture has somehow become more confusing. Luckily for captain Zach Johnson, this weekend’s BMW Championship will narrow the field. (CBS Sports)

Carli Lloyd Doubles Down

During the United States’s lackluster Women’s World Cup performance, legendary former USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd emerged as one of the team’s fiercest critics. Does she regret her comments? No. She’s doubling down. (Sports Illustrated)

The LLWS Bracket

Pull up a chair or sit on the famous Williamsport, Pa., grass and enjoy the action. Here is everything you need to know about the 2023 Little League World Series, including a full TV schedule and bracket for every game of the tournament. (Sporting News)





The Must-Watch List

Women’s World Cup

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England vs. 🇦🇺 Australia (6:00 am ET)

Live Updates


Rays at Giants (3:45 pm ET)

Astros at Marlins (6:40 pm ET)

Phillies at Blue Jays (7:07 pm ET)

Yankees at Braves (7:20 pm ET)

Angels at Rangers (8:05 pm ET)

White Sox at Cubs (8:05 pm ET)

Orioles at Padres (8:40 pm ET)
Brewers at Dodgers (10:10 pm ET)

UEFA Super Cup

Manchester City vs. Sevilla (3:00 pm ET)

Download The Sportsletter’s Must-Watch Calendar