SOC--MAN UNITED-VAN GAAL
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United has hired Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal as the club's new manager on a three-year contract. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 600 words, photos.
MADRID -- Barcelona's unexpected demise was hardly that. How it abandoned the principles that founded its recent success is perhaps the greatest surprise. Barcelona abandoned its essence -- possession-based play -- while Lionel Messi?s ineffectiveness continues to trouble. By Paul Logothetis. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1400 GMT.
RIO DE JANEIRO -- A top official at sailing's governing body says it may conduct independent water-quality tests in Rio de Janeiro's polluted Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for the 2016 Olympics and the site of Rio's first test event in 2? months. By Stephen Wade. SENT: 800 words, photos.
TEL AVIV, Israel -- Jubilant Israeli basketball fans are still celebrating Maccabi Tel Aviv's dream season, which culminated with an overtime victory over Real Madrid in the Euroleague basketball final in Milan. By Aron Heller. SENT: 500 words, photos.
UNDATED -- England great Jonny Wilkinson will retire from rugby at the end of the season, capping an illustrious 17-year career in which he kicked the winning drop-goal in the 2003 World Cup final to become one of his country's most treasured sportsmen. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 430 words.
SAO PAULO -- FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke arrives in Brazil for the World Cup talking about "busy days ahead" to finalize the country's preparations. A day after Brazil held the last two test events at stadiums, Valcke said he will visit all 12 host cities again "to see that the finishing touches" are completed in time. By Tales Azzoni. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1700 GMT.
STANFORD, California -- It's been 12 years since a U.S. forward scored in a World Cup. Brian McBride's goal against Mexico during a 2002 second-round match in South Korea helped the Americans advance to the quarterfinals in their best showing since 1930. As the Americans prepare for next month's tournament in Brazil, pressure for goals will be on Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. By Ronald Blum. SENT: 700 words, photos.
-- VOULIAGMENI, Greece -- BC-SOC--WCup-Greece Squad. SENT: 350 words, photos.
-- KIEV, Ukraine -- BC-SOC--Dynamo Kiev-Rebrov. SENT: 130 words.
BRISBANE, Australia -- Jack Brabham, the three-time Formula One champion who famously pushed his car to the finish line to claim his first season title, died Monday at his Gold Coast home. He was 88. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 980 words, photos.
MINSK, Belarus -- France needs a win over Denmark to secure a quarterfinal spot in Group A at the ice hockey world championship, while Latvia and Belarus will meet in a matchup for a quarterfinal place in Group B. Also, Finland faces a must win over Kazakhstan in Group B, while defending champion Sweden plays Italy in Group A. By Karel Janicek. UPCOMING: 400 words by 1700 GMT.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand Cricket says it is "dismayed" that testimony given by Brendon McCullum to anti-corruption investigators has been leaked to a British newspaper and expressed total confidence in the test captain. SENT: 290 words.
-- DHAKA, Bangladesh -- BC-CRI--Bangladesh-New Coach. SENT: 130 words.
-- TOKYO -- BC-FIG--Asada-Future. By Jim Armstrong. SENT: 240 words, photos.
-- ANAHEIM, California -- BC-BBO--MLB Roundup. SENT: 500 words.
YOUR QUERIES: Questions and story requests are welcome. Contact your local AP bureau or the AP International Sports Desk in London by telephone at 44-207-427-4105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.