BRAZIL BEAT: Howard proud to set US caps record

Associated Press
United States goalkeeper Tim Howard talks to reporters before a training session in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. The U.S. will play against Belgium on July 1, in the round 16 of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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SAO PAULO (AP) — Tim Howard never counts his caps.

Howard broke Kasey Keller's record for appearances by an American goalkeeper when he played his 103rd international match last Thursday, a 1-0 loss to Germany.

On Tuesday night, he will make it 104 when the Americans face Belgium in the World Cup's second round at Salvador.

The 35-year-old Howard spoke with Keller, now an ESPN analyst, in the leadup to the World Cup when the U.S. team played an exhibition game against Turkey in the New York area June 1.

"Milestones like that are important," said Howard, a top goalkeeper in England's Premier League with Everton. "And obviously Kasey's dear to me in terms of being a friend and a goalkeeping mentor. I never thought I'd get that close, let alone break it. It's a proud day."

— By Janie McCauley — www.twitter.com/JanieMcCAP

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MIDNIGHT CALL

SAO PAULO (AP) — Each time Alejandro Sabella was asked Monday about his lineup — and there were many attempts in different manners — he politely declined.

No hints whatsoever about Tuesday's second-round World Cup match with Switzerland, and no predictions about what style each team might play.

Sabella is preparing Lionel Messi and Argentina to attack a swarming Switzerland defense. The coach must decide whether to go with Ezequiel Lavezzi in a three-man front missing striker Sergio Aguero. An injured left thigh muscle forced him to leave in the first half of Argentina's 3-2 win over Nigeria last Wednesday.

The coach insists he might still be pondering his 11 players until midnight, and someone suggested he could announce the lineup then.

"I'm not going to say until the last minute. I think until this evening until around midnight I will think about the lineup," Sabella said before his team practiced at Itaquerao Stadium. "You can call me if you have my phone number, but I don't know if I will answer my phone at midnight."

— By Janie McCauley — www.twitter.com/JanieMcCAP

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Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Follow AP journalists covering the World Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports/world-cup-2014

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