MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the World Cup (all times local):
Argentina is leading Nigeria 1-0 at halftime in its last World Cup group game, thanks to Lionel Messi’s first goal of the tournament.
Messi struck in the 14th minute with a typically assured finish after latching onto midfielder Ever Banega’s pass from the halfway line.
As Messi dropped to his knees and pointed both hands to the sky in celebration, his devoted fans broke out into chants of “Messi, Messi” at the St. Petersburg stadium.
Messi created an opportunity for striker Gonzalo Higuain in the 27th with a slick pass, but Higuain was thwarted by goalkeeper Francis Uzoho diving at his feet. Messi was the star of the show, twisting and turning away from defenders and hitting the post after Uzoho got fingertips to his curling free kick in the 34th.
Argentina needs to win to advance to the knockout stage, while Nigeria can advance with a draw depending on Iceland’s result against group leader Croatia in Rostov-On-Don.
A Croatia side resting several starters is keeping Iceland at bay. Goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic had three saves in the closing minutes of the half to keep it 0-0 at the break.
FIFA has fined two German football federation officials for provoking Sweden’s bench while celebrating victory in a World Cup game.
FIFA says Georg Behlau and Ulrich Voigt must each pay 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,040) fines, and were reprimanded for their unsporting behavior.
Apologies by the two men and promises not to work “within the stadium premises” when Germany plays South Korea on Wednesday were taken into account by FIFA’s disciplinary panel.
Germany beat Sweden 2-1 win with a winning goal by Toni Kroos deep into stoppage time on Saturday.
Footage showed Voigt and Behlau walking toward the Sweden dugout at the final whistle and seeming to gloat by clapping and pointing at their opponents.
FIFA says Swedish team official Jan Gustavsson was also warned about his behavior.
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca says he still hasn’t decided whether he will continue with the national team after the World Cup.
The Argentine says it’s a big responsibility to coach a national team and he would need to be fully committed to the job if he was to accept to stay with Peru. He says he needs “some time to think things over with a cool head.”
Gareca enjoys support from the majority of fans back home and also from most players in the squad. He led Peru back to the World Cup after a 36-year absence.
Peru defeated Australia 2-0 on Tuesday but it had already been eliminated after losses to France and Denmark
Lionel Messi has given Argentina a 1-0 lead in its must-win World Cup match against Nigeria with his first goal of the competition.
Messi finished superbly in the 14th minute at St. Petersburg stadium after latching onto midfielder Ever Banega’s astute pass from the halfway line over the top of Nigeria’s defense.
Messi cushioned the ball on his left thigh, took a touch to push the ball further inside the penalty area and then clipped a rasping shot with his right.
It was his 65th goal for Argentina.
Argentina fans broke out into spontaneous chants of “Diego! Diego” when Diego Maradona was shown taking his seat at the St. Petersburg stadium before the Argentina’s World Cup match against Nigeria.
Maradona is considered one of the world’s greatest players. A diminutive, speedy and skillful forward, he led Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986 and to the final four years later.
The 57-year-old Maradona briefly danced with a woman in the stands as fans took photos of him.
In another embarrassment for the North and Central American soccer confederation, Costa Rica is in danger of being the only team to finish the World Cup in Russia without a goal.
The Costa Ricans slipped out of contention after losing 1-0 to Serbia and 2-0 to Brazil. The loss to Brazil, after two injury-time goals, was especially tough to take.
Every other team in Russia has scored. Costa Rica’s last chance comes Wednesday against Switzerland.
Defender Kendall Watson, who plays for Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS, says “I don’t think that we could be more under pressure than we are.”
Costa Rica’s struggles have matched those of fellow CONCACAF qualifier Panama, which lost 3-0 to Belgium and 6-1 to England in its first two games. Mexico, with two wins from two games, has been the one team from the region to perform.
The poor World Cup has led to harsh, sometimes over-the-top criticism of Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez back home.
He says some of the criticism was “quite hurtful” but “if they attack myself or my family, I am going to show (them) that there’s a tiger inside of me.”
In unwelcome news for Argentina and Nigeria, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has fielded a reserve side and rested five of his six players facing the risk of a yellow-card suspension in his final group game against Iceland. Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic sat out along with Dejan Lovren and other regular starters, though captain Luka Modric is still leading the squad.
Croatia has already qualified, but Iceland, Nigeria and Argentina are all vying for the single qualification spot still available Tuesday. Those who advance will play either France or Denmark to start the knockout stage.
Iceland started without defender Kari Arnason, instead going with Sverrir Ingason.
Iceland: Hannes Halldorsson, Birkir Saevarsson, Sverir Ingason, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Johan Gudmunsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alfred Finnbogason, Aron Gunnarsson, Hodur Magnusson, Emil Hallfredsson.
Croatia: Lovre Kalinic, Ivan Perisic, Vedran Corluka, Mateo Kovacic, Andrej Kramaric, Luka Modric, Tin Jedvaj, Duje Caleta-Car, Milan Badelj, Marko Pjaca, Josip Pivaric.
Goalkeeper Franco Armani will make his debut for Argentina as one of five changes for its must-win game against Nigeria at the World Cup.
Under-pressure Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli promised changes after the 3-0 loss to Croatia and he stuck to his word, also bringing in striker Gonzalo Higuain, midfielders Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega, and defender Marcos Rojo.
The selection of Franco is the biggest gamble, with the 31-year-old goalkeeper having only been called up by his country for the first time last month after spending most of his club career playing in Colombia.
First-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero was injured before the tournament and backup Willy Caballero has paid the price for his embarrassing error that led to the first goal conceded against Croatia.
Sergio Aguero is among the other players dropped by Sampaoli for a game Argentina has to win to stand a chance of advancing from Group D alongside Croatia.
Nigeria’s lineup was unchanged from its 2-0 win over Iceland that moved the team in second place in the group.
Nigeria: Francis Uzoho, Bryan Idowu, Wilfred Ndidi, William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa
Argentina: Franco Armani, Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafaco, Ever Banega, Javier Mascerano, Enzo Perez, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain.
Midfielder Sebastian Rudy has been ruled out of Germany’s last World Cup group game against South Korea after sustaining multiple fractures to his nose.
Germany coach Joachim Loew says Rudy has not recovered after undergoing surgery.
Rudy was forced to leave the pitch during Germany’s 2-1 win over Sweden after taking a boot to his face in the first half.
Loew said it wouldn’t make sense for Rudy to play with a protective mask because “it’s two or three days too early.”
The Germany coach will also be without defender Jerome Boateng, who is suspended after picking two yellow cards against Sweden.
Defending champion Germany can qualify for the last 16 if it wins by at least two or goals.
Peru has won its first game at the World Cup since 1978 with a 2-0 victory over Australia.
Veteran striker Paolo Guerrero assisted on the first goal when Andre Carrillo volleyed the cross and beat Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan in the 18th minute. Guerrero then got a goal of his own in the 50th, finishing a deflected cross from Christian Cueva. It was Peru’s first win since beating Iran in the 1978 tournament. They were winless in their previous eight World Cup matches but had not been in the tournament since 1982.
The Peruvians are going out on a high note this time, though, delighting the thousands of fans who made the trip from South America and flooded every city and stadium where they played. Carrillo’s goal started Peru’s party, and it only became louder and more joyful after Guerrero found the net.
Australia came out of its first two matches with only one point, but was still in contention to advance to the knockout stage. Needing a win, and help from France, the Socceroos were lackluster and their effort at times was sluggish. Even the addition of Tim Cahill and youngster Daniel Arzani in the second half failed to produce the spark Australia needed.
The 38-year-old Cahill appeared for the first time in this World Cup. Cahill was unable to become the fifth player to score in four World Cups, although he came close in the 60th when his shot was blocked by Christian Ramos in front of goal.
A game neither France nor Denmark needed to win threw up the World Cup’s first 0-0 draw amid boos and whistles from fans in Moscow on Tuesday.
A slow-paced game out of step with a vibrant tournament ensured already-qualified France wins Group C and Denmark advances as runner-up, both unbeaten in the group.
A draw ensured that outcome, though Peru’s 2-0 victory over Australia playing at the same time meant the Danes would have advanced to the round of 16 even had they lost.
That rarely seemed likely as a French team with six starters rested barely tested Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel until substitute Nabil Fekir tried with two long-range shots.
Much of a 78,011 crowd in Luzhniki Stadium, where the tournament’s final match will be played, whistled at misplaced passes and slow play as the game progressed and Denmark protected its point — likely aware Australia had no chance of winning. Denmark coach Age Hareide said Monday his staff would get updates from their group rivals’ game in Sochi.
France and Denmark have played to a 0-0 draw that ensures both teams advance to the knockout stage at the World Cup from Group C. It was the first scoreless draw of the tournament.
France topped the group with two wins and the draw, and Denmark had five points.
Australia entered its last group game against Peru with an outside chance of advancing, but needed to win and rely on France beating Denmark. Peru killed off any hopes for the Socceroos by winning 2-0.
An Egyptian sports analyst has died after having a heart attack while watching a broadcast of Egypt’s 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in the World Cup.
Abdel-Rahim Mohamed had the heart attack when the Saudis scored their injury-time winner Monday. He was taken to a hospital in Cairo for treatment, but didn’t respond to treatment.
Mohamed’s death was announced Monday by his son in a Facebook post. The former Zamalek coach had been scheduled to give analysis after the match for Egypt’s state TV.
Egypt, which was playing at the World Cup for the first time since 1990, finished in last place in the group in what has become a hugely disappointing tournament for the Egyptians.
Egypt’s coach Hector Cuper expressed his condolences after hearing news of Mohamed’s heart attack in a news conference after the match.
The practice sessions for Germany and South Korea scheduled at Kazan Arena have been moved to other stadiums because of bad weather conditions.
A heavy rain storm has forced World Cup organizers to move the sessions elsewhere in Kazan in order to preserve the pitch ahead of Wednesday’s game between the Group F rivals.
South Korea’s practice session has been moved to the Central Stadium, while Germany will be working at the Electron Stadium.
In a wide-open Group topped by Mexico with six points, the Germans can qualify if they beat South Korea by at least two goals. South Korea needs a win and other results to play in its favor to advance.
Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic says he’s happy for his team to continue with its “organized chaos” approach at the World Cup.
Switzerland has come back after falling behind in both its group games, the first time to save a 1-1 draw with Brazil, then to beat Serbia 2-1 with a 90th-minute winning goal from attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri.
Shaqiri’s role in the Serbia game, when he appeared to have a free role to roam around the field, is something Petkovic says they’ll stick with.
The coach says “we created what we call an organized chaos and we are going to continue to do that in the future as well. We are going to play around with that.”
Switzerland plays Costa Rica in its last Group E game on Wednesday, when the Swiss need a draw to make sure of a place in the last 16. Brazil and Serbia are the other teams in the group. Costa Rica is already out.
Switzerland, which last reached the quarterfinals of a World Cup in 1954, could be a last 16 opponent for Mexico or Germany.
Australia’s hopes of moving on in the World Cup may be over after Peru captain Paolo Guerrero scored five minutes into the second half to give his team a 2-0 lead. Guerrero’s goal came after some solid work down the left side by midfielder Christian Cueva.
His cross was deflected but fell so Guerrero could get his left foot on the shot past Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan. Andre Carrillo scored in the first half for Peru, which hasn’t won a World Cup match since 1978.
Seeking a spark, Australia brought on 38-year-old veteran Tim Cahill in the 53rd minute. It’s his first appearance of the tournament. He has scored for Australia in the past three World Cups.
It’s 0-0 at halftime between France and Denmark after a low-key opening 45 minutes.
A game neither team needs to win is on track to be the first goalless draw after three dozen matches at the tournament.
France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda came off his line well to smother a half-chance as Denmark’s Christian Eriksen raced to beat him to a well-placed cross on a counterattack. Otherwise Mandanda has not been tested in his first start at his fifth major tournament with Les Bleus, who are resting several starters.
A draw will ensure France, already sure to advance after two wins, will finish top of Group C, and that Denmark is runner-up. Denmark can even afford to lose at Luzhniki Stadium if Australia fails to beat Peru in Sochi.
Australia trails 1-0 at halftime on an 18th-minute volley from Andre Carrillo, Peru’s first World Cup goal since it was last in the tournament in 1982. It’s the first time Peru has led in a World Cup match since beating Iran in 1978 — its last victory in the tournament.
Australia’s best chance came in the 27th minute when Tom Rogic made a run through the Peru defense, but his left-footed shot was saved by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Andre Carrillo’s 18th-minute volley has given Peru a 1-0 lead over Australia and its first World Cup goal since 1982.
It was a slow start for both teams, but picked up when Carrillo met a cross from the left and launched a strike to the far post. Peru had been held goalless through the first two games of the group stage. Peru has not been in the World Cup since 1982 and lost 5-1 to Poland in its final game that year.
Australia must win to have a chance at advancing to the knockout stage.
American referee Mark Geiger has been given a second group-stage match to work at the World Cup. He will handle Wednesday’s game between Germany and South Korea.
Geiger worked Portugal’s 1-0 win over Morocco. The 43-year-old from Beachwood, New Jersey, Geiger worked three games in Brazil four years ago, becoming the first American to referee a knockout stage match when he handled France’s 2-0 win over Nigeria in the round of 16.
The U.S. is the only nation with two referees at the World Cup. Jair Murrufo officiated Belgium’s 5-2 victory over Tunisia.
Veteran forward Tim Cahill will not be in the starting lineup for Australia in its must-win World Cup game against Peru.
Australia coach Bert van Marwijk has decided to go with Tomi Juric to replace Andrew Nabbout, who injured his shoulder in the 1-1 draw with Denmark. There was speculation about Cahill possibly moving into the starting lineup. The 38-year-old Cahill, who has scored in each of the last three World Cups, has yet to play in the tournament.
Australia must win and have France beat Denmark to have a chance of advancing to the knockout stage for the second time.
Peru, which has already been eliminated, made two changes to its starting lineup with Anderson Santamaria and Renato Tapia winning selections.
Australia: Mat Ryan, Mark Milligan, Mathew Leckie, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedanik, Aziz Behich, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Tom Rogic.
Peru: Pedro Gallese, Anderson Santamaria, Miguel Trauco, Christian Cueva, Paolo Guerrero, Renato Tapia, Christian Ramos, Luis Advincula, Andre Carrillo, Yoshimar Yotun, Edison Flores.
France has rested several starters to play Denmark at Luzhniki Stadium after opening with two wins to seal it round of 16 spot.
Needing a draw to ensure winning Group C, France coach Didier Deschamps has brought in goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, midfielder Thomas Lemar and forward Ousmane Dembele among six changes from the team which beat Peru 1-0 five days ago. Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris are among those rested.
A draw will also let Denmark advance as group runner-up, and it can top the table with a win. Denmark will also advance if Australia fails to beat Peru in Sochi.
Coach Age Hareide named Martin Braithwaite in an attacking role to replace Yussuf Poulsen, who is suspended after picking up yellow cards in Denmark’s first two matches, both times after video review.
The other changes see Mathias Jorgensen come into midfield and Andreas Cornelius to lead the attack.
Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen, Martin Braithwaite, Mathias Jorgensen, Henrik Dalsgaard, Jens Stryger, Andreas Cornelius, Pione Sisto.
France: Steve Mandanda, Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, N’Golo Kante, Steven N’Zonzi, Djibril Sidibe, Lucas Hernandez.
Albania’s prime minister has opened a bank account allowing his brethren to offer their “symbolic contribution” to pay the fines levied by FIFA against two Swiss players of Albanian origin.
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Eagle” is the name of the account opened at Raiffeisen Bank on Tuesday by Prime Minister Edi Rama urging Albanians “to pay FIFA’s absurd fine on Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri.”
Xhaka and Shaqiri made hand gestures that mimicked Albania’s national symbol, a two-headed eagle, after scoring goals during Switzerland’s win over Serbia. The players have ethnic Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognize that independence.
FIFA fined the players 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,100) each for unsporting behavior. Soccer’s governing body had the power to impose two-match bans if Xhaka and Shaqiri’s actions were judged to have provoked the general public.
Rama wrote on his Facebook page that the bank account was a gesture of “thanks and gratitude to the two sportsmen who put up millions of Albanians in a sport joy.”
Russian authorities have dropped charges against a British LGBT activist who was detained near the Kremlin as the World Cup was opening nearby.
The case was closed after activist Peter Tatchell agreed to accept a warning not to protest again. That’s according to his campaign manager, Simon Harris.
Tatchell was arrested while holding a one-man protest on June 14, criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin for not doing more to stop abuse of gays in Chechnya.
Tatchell later said he was to appear in court on June 26, but the case was quietly dropped instead.
A group of British LGBT football fans had a rainbow flag briefly taken down at Sunday’s England-Panama match but put it back up with help from FIFA.
A 2013 Russian law bans so-called “propaganda” of homosexuality to minors and has been used to stifle the LGBT community, though Russian authorities appear to be treading more carefully than usual during the World Cup.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is wishing Germany luck against South Korea after the “torture” of the defending champion’s last-minute win against Sweden, but she won’t be attending the match.
Germany salvaged its chances of advancing with Toni Kroos’ injury-time winner on Saturday. It faces South Korea in Kazan on Wednesday.
At a news conference Tuesday in Berlin, Merkel — who is under severe domestic political pressure in a dispute over migration — was asked if she would go to the match because she might not get another chance to see coach Joachim Loew’s team.
Merkel said she has to be in parliament this week, “but of course I sincerely wish the team all the best — and of course I hope for a good outcome after we all went through — torture, in the truest sense of the word — during the last game.”
Sweden coach Janne Andersson says his team has moved on from bitter feelings about its loss to Germany as well as the racist abuse aimed at midfielder Jimmy Durmaz on social media.
Andersson said Tuesday that the defeat made the team “stronger, more confident” because Sweden played the defending champions to a draw “with the exception of the final 10 seconds.”
Sweden faces Mexico on Wednesday to conclude group play and still has a chance to advance to the knockout rounds.
Mexico leads the group with six points but isn’t safe yet. If Germany defeats South Korea in Kazan and Sweden simultaneously tops Mexico, three teams would finish with six points, sending it to tiebreakers that start with the best goal differential.
The team issued a joint statement condemning the abuse of Durmaz, who gave away the free kick that led to Germany’s game-winner. Andersson says, “It’s important that we’re able to move on after that.”
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