SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil was not intimidated by more than 60,000 raucous fans at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, beating second-place Uruguay 4-1 in South America’s World Cup qualifying group to retain the lead in the standings after 13 matches. Midfielder Paulinho scored a surprising hat trick, with Barcelona star Neymar adding another, to keep their team firmly on course for football’s main event in Russia next year.

Brazil is still to lose a point under coach Tite, who took over in September and secured on Thursday his seventh straight win in the South American qualifiers. Now the five-time World Cup champions total 30 points, seven more than Uruguay and 10 above the lowest place that could guarantee a berth in the next World Cup.

With five games to play, Brazil could qualify next Tuesday with victory over Paraguay if Ecuador and Chile fail to win their games.

Argentina beat Chile 1-0 thanks to a penalty scored by Lionel Messi and managed to stay in the chase for a spot in the tournament, going third with 22 points. Chile is in sixth, outside the qualification zone.

Fourth-place Colombia also needed a penalty to score a 1-0 home victory against Bolivia.

Elsewhere, seventh-place Paraguay beat fifth-place Ecuador 2-1 and bottom team Venezuela drew 2-2 with eighth-place Peru.



For the first time since September, a team scored against Brazil. A blunder by defender Marcelo led goalkeeper Alisson to foul striker Edinson Cavani only 7 minutes after kick off. That allowed the Uruguayan to score his ninth goal in South American qualifiers, more than any other player. It was the first time coach Tite saw his team trail, and that happened against a team that had won all six home games.

Ten minutes later midfielder Paulinho leveled the game with a blast from the edge of the box into goalkeeper Martin Silva’s left corner. Scores remained level at halftime, but Brazil’s dominance was evident. At 52 minutes, Paulinho scored again to put the visitors in front. The Estadio Centenario went silent.

Uruguay stepped up the pressure to level, but Brazil was countering dangerously. On 74 minutes, Neymar’s genius appeared. After defender Miranda cleared the ball from his box, the Barcelona star beat Uruguayan Coates in a quick race and lobbed Silva to make it 3-1 and score his first goal against Uruguay. By then the Montevideo stadium, which hosted the 1930 World Cup final, sounded more like the Maracana in Rio, with only Brazilian voices being heard.

But that was not all. At 92 minutes, after Brazil wasted a series of other opportunities, Paulinho completed his hat-trick with his chest, after a cross from the right from Dani Alves. “Not in my wildest dreams I expected something like this,” the Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder said after the match.

Asked about the historic performance, coach Tite said it was “more than the expected.”

“I was happy about the 90 minutes … our capacity to absorb a goal against us and keep playing based on one idea. Our team is very self-aware that it has to triangulate. We did more than controlling the match, we were dominant,” he said in a post-match press conference.

Uruguay resented the absence of suspended targetman Luis Suarez, while Brazil missed teenage sensation Gabriel Jesus, who has a broken toe.

Brazil will miss defender Dani Alves in the clash against Paraguay on Tuesday in Sao Paulo — the match that will likely secure its spot in the next World Cup. Uruguay will travel to face Peru.


Messi’s goal at 16 minutes gave Argentina a valuable victory, putting Edgardo Bauza’s side once again in the qualification zone. The Chileans complained about the penalty decision, but failed to take advantage of an unimaginative Argentine team that managed to get few opportunities to score at the Monumental de Nunez in Buenos Aires.

The result takes pressure off Argentina, a team whose players have refused to talk to the media because of criticism they have endured over recent games. Bauza had to speak some words, but they were not too encouraging for the team’s future. “What matters is that we won,” the coach said. “This was very difficult. It was like a knock-out stage.”

His Chilean counterpart Juan Antonio Pizzi disagreed. “I consider it totally unfair that we lost,” he said. “We managed to control the virtues of the Argentinians, and they are many. We deserved to get one goal.”

Messi was a dominant figure in the match, not only in creating space but also in marking Chilean rivals.

The Chileans could not count on midfielder Arturo Vidal and towards the end of the match were only offering opportunities to the hosts.

In the next round, Argentina will travel to Bolivia. The last time the Argentinians won in La Paz was in 2005. For that match Bauza won’t count on suspended midfielder Javier Mascherano and striker Gonzalo Higuain. Chile will take on Venezuela at home.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Texas college student stranded for five days near the Grand Canyon says she was making farewell videos for her family as she grew desperate for help.

Arizona authorities say 24-year-old Amber VanHecke was well-equipped and did everything right after getting lost in a remote area during a solo road trip.

VanHecke said in a Facebook post that she was heading to a hiking trail but was led astray by her maps app and wound up in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank.

She told ABC’s Good Morning America that she even tried to chase down a truck to no avail.

“I was panicking and crying and sobbing. I was a mess,” VanHecke told the show.

VanHecke said nobody had reported her missing because of a miscommunication with her family.

VanHecke didn’t have cell phone access. She made large help signs and even tried to start a signal fire, but couldn’t.

She eventually hiked for miles to a spot where she had a signal, although the call dropped before Arizona authorities could trace her location.

Still, rescuers had an idea about where she might be, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said. Rescuers were able to spot her abandoned car using a search helicopter.

VanHecke had left signs on the car detailing where she was headed in search of cell phone signal, and rescuers eventually found her.

VanHecke was treated at a Flagstaff hospital for exposure but is now back in Texas, where she is a student at the University of North Texas.

“Five days ago I thought I was gonna die in the desert and now I’m trying to go to class,” she said.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the upcoming health care vote in the House (all times local):

7:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump wants the House to vote on the health care bill, and Republicans say a vote will occur Friday.

White House officials had a simple message to a divided House Republican caucus on the bill: “Let’s vote.”

Republicans emerging from the closed-door meeting Thursday said they will vote Friday afternoon even though leadership is still trying to secure the votes.

Senior White House adviser Steve Bannon told reporters as he left the meeting Thursday night that the administration wants a vote.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told lawmakers: “Negotiations are over. We’d like to vote tomorrow and let’s get this done for the American people.”


6:05 p.m.

Opposition to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s health care bill is costing an Iowa congressman some valuable campaign support.

An official with the Congressional Leadership Fund says the political action committee backed by Ryan is withdrawing staff support from Rep. David Young. The official confirms the move is in response to Young’s opposition to the bill to dismantle Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations by the organization.

Ryan postponed a scheduled vote Thursday as GOP leaders and President Donald Trump tried to woo reluctant conservatives and some moderates.

Young said this week that House leaders are rushing the bill and should be more deliberate to get it right.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the move.

— By Bill Barrow


5:25 p.m.

Congress’ nonpartisan budget analysts say changes Republican leaders have proposed in their health care bill to win House votes have cut the measure’s deficit reduction by more than half.

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that the new version would reduce federal shortfalls by $150 billion over the next decade. That’s $186 billion less than the original bill.

The deficit reduction figures dropped mostly because the updated measure has additional tax breaks and makes Medicaid benefits more generous for some older and disabled people.

The office says the updated legislation would still result in 14 million additional uninsured people next year and 24 million more in a decade.

Average premiums for people buying individual coverage would still rise over the next two years compared to current law, but then fall.


3:35 p.m.

House Republican leaders have postponed a vote on their health care bill in a setback for President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan.

Prospects for the Republicans’ showcase health care bill had looked grimmer by the minute Thursday despite Trump’s personal lobbying of conservatives. That still left the legislation short of the votes needed for passage.

A senior Republican official said the vote would be delayed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss internal discussions.

House Republicans plan to meet behind closed doors Thursday night to consider their next steps.

Republicans were intent on voting to dismantle Obamacare on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of former President Barack Obama signing the bill into law.


3:10 p.m.

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas is apologizing for his comment about the possibility the GOP health care bill would ease federal requirements on coverage of basic services like mammograms.

In an interview with a reporter for Talking Points Memo on Thursday, Roberts was asked about potential changes in the health care bill. He said: “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.”

He later tweeted an apology: “I deeply regret my comments on a very important topic. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise.”


2:06 p.m.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump’s meeting with the House Freedom Caucus was a “positive step” toward achieving the GOP’s goal of driving down costs and increasing access to health care.

Freedom caucus members told reporters on Capitol Hill that there was “no deal” following the meeting.

Spicer says the president will meet later Thursday with members of the Tuesday Group, a group of moderate Republican House members. He says the White House still expects the bill to be voted on later Thursday.

Spicer says Trump was on the phone last night well into the 11 o’clock hour with members of Congress.

He says the president “is looking forward to seeing Republicans fulfill the pledge” they made to repeal the Obamacare law.


1:35 p.m.

The chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus says there’s “no deal” on the GOP health care legislation after a meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump.

The assertion from Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina throws plans for a vote on the bill later Thursday into doubt.

Two dozen or so Freedom Caucus members have opposed the legislation pushed by GOP leaders, saying it doesn’t go far enough to repeal “Obamacare.”

But the group had been negotiating directly with the White House in hopes of reaching agreement to eliminate additional requirements on insurers.

Without a deal with the Freedom Caucus, and with moderate-leaning members defecting, it seems unlikely GOP leaders will have the votes they need to go forward with a vote later Thursday as they had planned.


10:06 a.m.

Former President Barack Obama is celebrating the seventh anniversary of his landmark health care law, saying in a statement on Thursday that “America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act.”

Obama does not directly address GOP efforts to repeal his law, which are coming to a head Thursday as House leaders push toward a vote on their repeal legislation. Republicans remain short of votes.

The former president does say that if Republicans are serious about lowering costs and expanding coverage, and are prepared to work with Democrats, “That’s something we all should welcome.”

But, Obama says, “we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans.”

He notes 20 million Americans gained coverage under his law.


9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is urging people to call their lawmakers to express support for the Republican legislation to repeal and replace “Obamacare.”

Trump posted a video on Twitter Thursday asking people to get behind the plan. He says that people were “given many lies” about the Affordable Care Act.

Trump added that the legislation was “terrific” and “you’re going to be very, very happy.”

The GOP legislation was on the brink hours before Republican leaders planned to put it on the House floor for a showdown vote. Trump was spending the final hours trying to close the deal with conservatives who have opposed the plan.


9:00 a.m.

The GOP’s long-promised legislation to repeal and replace “Obamacare” stands on the brink, just hours before Republican leaders planned to put it on the House floor for a showdown vote.

The stakes are high, and Republicans are staring at the possibility of a failure that would throw prospects for their other legislative goals into uncertainty. Speaking to members of the conservative Freedom Caucus mid-day Thursday, Trump is pitching concessions to representatives who want to limit the requirement for health plans to include benefits including substance abuse and maternity care. But those changes appear to be scaring off at least some moderate Republicans.

In a count by The Associated Press, at least 26 Republicans say they opposed the bill, enough to narrowly defeat the measure.

Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday:

PVH Corp., up $7.70 to $98.55

Quarterly profit and sales for the company, which owns the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, topped analyst estimates.

SunTrust Banks Inc., up 67 cents to $54.85

Banks jumped as bond yields and interest rates turned higher after several days of declines.

Five Below Inc., up $4.12 to $42.25

The discount retailer did better than Wall Street expected in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Alphabet Inc., down $10.15 to $839.65

More companies said they will stop their YouTube ad campaigns due to concerns about offensive videos.

Ford Motor Co., down 10 cents to $11.67

The automaker forecast a first-quarter profit that fell far short of analyst projections.

Herman Miller Inc., up $2.35 to $31.60

The furniture maker said its North American business did better in the third quarter, and its profit was larger than expected.

Simon Property Group Inc., up $2.16 to $167.56

Real estate investment trusts did better than the rest of the market after a recent slump.

Walt Disney Co., up 16 cents to $112.24

The entertainment company extended the contract of Chairman and CEO Robert Iger by a year, to July 2019.

The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local):

4:00 p.m.

An early rally evaporated on Wall Street and left indexes slightly lower after a vote on the Republican-backed health care bill was delayed.

Investors worry that the setback Thursday will mean a longer wait for business-friendly policies like tax cuts.

Health care and energy stocks fell. Centene fell 4 percent and Baker Hughes lost 2.3 percent.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, fell 1 percent after several major companies said they will stop advertising on YouTube because their ads were appearing alongside offensive videos.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,345.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 4 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 20,656. The Nasdaq composite slid 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,817.

Small-company stocks rose.


11:45 a.m.

U.S. stocks are turning higher as bank stocks recover some ground thanks to an upturn in bond yields, which will make lending money more profitable.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is weighing down technology stocks Thursday after several major companies said they will stop advertising on YouTube because their ads were appearing alongside offensive videos including some promoting terrorism.

Investors are keeping a close eye on Washington, where a vote was expected later Thursday on a Republican-backed health care bill.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,356.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 71 points, or 0.4 percent, to 20,733.

The Nasdaq composite climbed 16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,838.


9:35 a.m.

Stocks are barely changed as Congress continues to debate health care legislation, a key first piece of President Donald Trump’s business-friendly agenda.

Technology companies are down Thursday and giving up some of the previous day’s gains. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, lost 1.6 percent.

Energy companies are slipping with oil prices but consumer-focused companies are rising. Clothing company PVH jumped 8.5 percent after strong earnings. Nike is up 2.1 percent after a sharp drop a day ago.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,345.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,636.

The Nasdaq composite shed 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,810.

A friend once explained the sports writing business this way: “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”

Martin Mauricio Ortega was OK with the first part, but apparently not the second.

The one-time Mexican media executive and part-time memorabilia seller is the only suspect named so far in the overheated investigation into who stole Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey. When news broke, I figured it was the same guys accused of deflating his footballs, trying to make a buck after all the trouble that stunt caused them.

But no.

There’s already plenty of damning video out there, much of it helpfully provided by NFL broadcast partner Fox . Clips show someone who looks like Ortega walking into the New England Patriots locker room after the game at NRG Stadium in Houston, then walking out almost 15 minutes later with a black plastic bag under his arm.

Maybe more damning still, Ortega spent the week leading up to the game showing off his collection of autographed helmets and jerseys up and down Media Row. He wasn’t even pretending to work.

Small wonder his co-workers were among the first to rat him out.

“He said that he was not there to work: ‘There are people to do that,'” recalled Ariel Velazquez, who covered the game for another Mexican daily.

Ortega worked as a director and occasional columnist for the popular tabloid La Prensa, and was credentialed by the NFL since at least 2005. That may explain how authorities who raided his home also solved the mystery of the disappearance of another of Brady’s jersey from the 2015 Super Bowl and what is believed to be Denver defender Von Miller’s helmet from the 2016 game.

By the time there was a knock at Ortega’s door, the Houston police, Texas Rangers and even the FBI — along with their Mexican counterparts — had joined the gumshoes from the NFL and the Patriots’ security departments in looking for him.

If that sounds like much to-do over a few glorified T-shirts and hard hats, well, you don’t know much about the sports souvenir trade. Brady’s game-worn, grass-stained 2016 model is valued at a cool half-million.

Yet what vexed Lone Star State law-enforcement officials even more than the five-finger discount was that it happened at a danged football game, regarded by many of the locals as no less sacred a place than a church.

“It is important that history does not record that it was stolen in Texas,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick thundered in a statement soon after the jersey disappeared.

“Whoever took this jersey” he cautioned at the end, “should turn it in. The Texas Rangers are on the trail.”

If only someone had thought of that back in 2005, when Russian president Vladimir Putin asked Patriots owner Robert Kraft for a look at his Super Bowl ring before deftly slipping it into his pocket. It hasn’t been seen outside of the Kremlin since.

Whether all that tough talk actually had an impact on this case isn’t known. Some facets of the investigation remain hush-hush. A Mexican government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, the official said only an agreement was reached for an unspecified victim in the U.S. not to press charges in exchange for the jersey’s return.

From what we’ve learned about him thus far, though, Ortega was no wilting rose.

He ordered La Prensa staffers back in Mexico City to cover for him by writing at least six Super Bowl stories under his byline. He showed another reporter a jersey signed by Kurt Warner that he said he planned to sell back to the 2000 Super Bowl MVP for a tidy $8,000 sum.

Ortega also talked with a Denver deal about auctioning off a jersey worn by the Knicks’ Patrick Ewing and cleats from San Francisco superstar Jerry Rice. Media reports said his basement was full of similar stuff. Perhaps hoping to head off any more questions about his collection, Ortega resigned from La Prensa on March 14, citing “difficulties related to the health of a family member” and dropped out of sight.

It’s a sad story, to be sure, but there’s still hope of a happy ending.

If nothing else, the whole episode reminded us that Brady, who works like a dog and gets paid like a sultan, is worth every penny. After a frantic search of his locker turned up no jersey and no clues, he didn’t pitch a fit. He coolly said he’d keep an eye out for it on eBay, then shrugged and added, “What can you do? I’ll take the ring and that’s good enough for me.”

Then, when he learned the jerseys were headed his way, Brady released a statement thanking the cops involved and vowing to “make something very positive come from this experience.”

We assume that means he keeps the shirts and some charities will benefit handsomely. Hard to come up with a more fitting conclusion than that.


Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at and