Happy Wednesday

HEADLINES

– New FIFA rankings! Spain, Brazil, Netherlands unchanged in top three. Portugal leaps past Italy and Germany for fourth. Egypt surges to 14th.

But the big news is in CONCACAF: USA 16th, Mexico 17th.

Mixed bag for the USA’s World Cup opponents: England swapped places with France to take seventh. Slovenia slipped to 29th. Algeria is up five places to 27th. (FIFA)

– Big upset in Key Biscayne’s Sony Ericsson Open, one of tennis’ near-majors: Tomas Berdych ousted Roger Federer. Tennis writer Bonnie D. Ford says via Twitter that the match was long but far too sloppy to be an “epic.” (AP)

– Would North Korea really host a couple of World Cup games if South Korea lands the 2022 Cup? As rigid as North Korea has been, who knows what the geopolitical landscape will look like by then? (Reuters)

– LPGA players are just warming up this season, and yet they’re being thrown into a major already. (USA TODAY)

– Welcome to Philadelphia, David Myrie! We’re happy to have picked you up in the MLS expansion draft, and we’re planning to build a core of good young players moving forward. Take your spot in the starting lineup for the opener. … OK, never mind, you’re cut. (Philadelphia Union)

PROVOCATIVE READS

A few years ago, Mike Penner became Christine Daniels. Now, friends of the LA Times sportswriter are mourning two people with only one physical death. (LA Times)

– Football, religion, Sabbath … OK, I didn’t get through all of this one. (Christianity Today)

– Random preview of the day: U.S. Chess Championship in May features new format. As long as Jen Shahade is doing commentary, it should be worth checking out. (USCF)

TODAY’S TV (times ET)

– 1 p.m./9 p.m.: Tennis, Sony Ericsson quarterfinals, check Fox Sports Net affiliates

– 2:30 p.m.: Soccer, Champions League, Arsenal-Barcelona, FSC (Inter Milan-CSKA Moscow follows on delay)

– 8 p.m.: MMA, UFC Fight Night, Spike. The main event is one of the most anticipated ever on a free-TV UFC card, with longtime UFC contender Kenny Florian taking on Takanori Gomi, a Japanese fighter who has dealt with a few personal demons since the dissolution of Japan’s once-dominant Pride promotion and has finally found his way to the USA. Also a good heavyweight matchup of big (Roy Nelson) and tall (Stefan Struve) fighters trying to climb the ladder. (Bloody Elbow)

– 9 p.m.: Soccer, USA-Mexico women, ESPN2

– 10 p.m.: MMA, The Ultimate Fighter season premiere, Spike.  Recap will follow tonight right here at SportsMyriad, where I’ll hopefully have a logo and some design tweaks in place this evening.

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