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BC-SOC--WCup Coverage Advisory

June 11, 2018


The World Cup runs from June 14-July 15 in Russia. Here are highlights of Associated Press coverage leading up to the tournament. This advisory will be updated regularly with details of features sent and new items to come on the issues affecting teams and the tournament. Stories will usually be accompanied by photos.

Before the World Cup, news and features will be provided from training camps and warm-up matches across the world.

At the World Cup, the AP will cover every aspect:

— news and features from the training camps ahead of the tournament.

— full text and photo coverage of every game in Russia.

— The Latest, featuring quick updates from games, training camps, organizers and supporters.

— mobile-friendly items with visuals, ideal for sharing on social media.

— Live updates on Twitter and Facebook .

All World Cup-related stories will be slugged BC-SOC--WCup-XXXX


Separate mobile-friendly guides to each of the 32 World Cup finalists have already sent but are being refiled this week with updates:

June 11 — GROUP A: Russia , Saudi Arabia , Egypt , Uruguay .

June 11 — GROUP B: Iran , Morocco , Portugal , Spain .

June 11 — GROUP C: Australia , Denmark , France , Peru .

June 11 — GROUP D: Argentina , Croatia , Iceland , Nigeria .

June 12 — GROUP E: Brazil , Costa Rica , Switzerland , Serbia .

June 12 — GROUP F: Germany , South Korea , Mexico , Sweden .

June 12 — GROUP G: Belgium , England , Tunisia , Panama .

June 12 — GROUP H: Colombia , Japan , Poland , Senegal .


Everything to know about the host cities, from the history to useful information for visiting fans by James Ellingworth. Already sent:

May 2 — Kaliningrad .

May 3 — Kazan .

May 4 — Yekaterinburg .

May 5 — Nizhny Novgorod .

May 6 — Rostov on Don .

May 7 — St. Petersburg .

May 8 — Samara .

May 9 — Volgograd .

May 10 —Sochi .

May 11— Saransk .

May 12— Moscow .


May 3 — RACISM : Russia is struggling to tackle soccer racism before it hosts the World Cup. Nigeria player Bryan Idowu, who was born and raised in St. Petersburg, says he has faced racism on the streets and on the field in Russia, but that the situation is slowly changing for the better. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 990 words.

May 18 — WHITE ELEPHANTS : Several of Russia’s 12 World Cup stadiums look set to be largely empty after the tournament. It’s a problem for Russia, which is spending almost $11 billion on the World Cup, and for FIFA. Fans and officials predict more government money will be needed to maintain several stadiums set to host mostly unglamorous lower-league games. By James Ellingworth: SENT: 1,000 words.

May 21 — DOPING : Russia is trying to wipe its sports reputation clean by hosting the World Cup after years of doping scandals. In the host city of Saransk, a training center notorious for doping abuses and tainted medals will now be the home of Panama’s soccer team. Many locals still see doped athletes as heroes. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 860 words.

May 23 — RUSSIA’S NEXT GENERATION : A large white banner hangs above a stand covered in peeled paint flakes and discarded sunflower seeds: “The Best Start Here.” The Start Stadium in may not look like much, but it’s the jumping-off point for many young Russians’ dreams of soccer stardom. By James Ellingworth: SENT: 840 words.

May 28 — HOOLIGANISM : Russian hooligans are notorious for their attacks on English fans at the 2016 European Championship, but ahead of the World Cup they’re facing a crackdown from the authorities. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 1,200 words.

June 1 — LGBT FANS : Russia says LGBT fans will be welcome at the World Cup, but local activists say it will mean foreigners are extended tolerance that isn’t available for locals. The head of Russia’s LGBT sports federation tells of facing threats and legal problems while trying to organize events. By James Ellingworth and Iuliia Subbotovska. SENT: 830 words.

June 4 — SECURITY : Vladimir Putin has made security of the tournament the top priority, ordering sweeping measures to fend off any potential threats from the ground, sea or air. But despite the strict security regime, threats abound in Russia, which has faced an Islamist rebellion in the south and waged a military campaign in Syria. By Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 1380 words.

June 5 — PUTIN’S TOURNAMENT : Vladimir Putin’s Russia was always going to be a controversial host, but few could have imagined the situation that greets the World Cup. The annexation of Crimea, alleged U.S. election interference, the war in Syria and a poisoned spy in Britain are just a few of the storms surrounding the Kremlin before Putin officially declares the tournament open on June 14. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 1230 words.

June 5 — STADIUM GUIDE : Russia’s World Cup is spread across 12 stadiums in 11 host cities. They range from St. Petersburg, which is so far north that the sun doesn’t set on some summer days, to Sochi and its subtropical climate on the Black Sea coast. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 1500 words.

June 5 — FAN GUIDE : For fans facing the challenge of navigating their way around at the World Cup, here’s what to know about traveling in Russia and avoiding potential legal difficulties. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 680 words.

June 6 — SOCHI’S EMPTY STADIUM : Sochi’s World Cup stadium is a spectacular, sweeping structure on the Black Sea coast, but few locals have seen inside. In fact, the Fisht Olympic Stadium hasn’t hosted a game in nearly a year. By Naira Davlashyan. SENT: 500 words.

June 7 — FOOD : For many fans of food and football, a World Cup in Russia is unfamiliar territory. Russian cuisine has a reputation for being stodgy, unimaginative fare. While that may have been true for many in the days of Soviet supply shortages, a new generation of Russian in the World Cup’s host cities mix together influences from across Europe and Asia. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 940 words.

June 8 — COSSACKS : Russia plans to deploy thousands of Cossacks to guard the World Cup, but the traditional paramilitary groups face criticism for their strident nationalism and attacks on protesters. By Maxim Usachev and James Ellingworth.

June 11 — STICKERS : A sticker book that challenges fans to collect little pictures of players, stadiums and flags is growing new fans in Brazil and other countries ahead of the World Cup in Russia. One teacher is even using the World Cup sticker book with his eighth-grade students to help teach them Portuguese by studying the teams. The book has stayed popular even as it’s become more expensive. By Mauricio Savarese. SENT: 760 words.

June 12 — ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Will the tournament live up to its green credentials? By James Ellingworth.


May 4 — PERU-SOLANO : In the 36 years since Peru last played at the World Cup so much has changed in football. Peru assistant coach Nolberto Solano says there are no more secrets but he’s trying to unearth them on Group C opponents Australia, Denmark and France. Former Newcastle midfielder Solana has been helped by Rafa Benitez who now manages the English Premier League club. By Rob Harris. SENT: 1,000 words.

May 10 — SPAIN-LOPETEGUI’S SUCCESS : Julen Lopetegui has surpassed expectations after stepping into a tricky situation when he took as coach over the Spanish national team two years ago. He was handed the difficult task of replacing Vicente Del Bosque and revamping the aging squad. But he has made Spain a top contender again heading into the World Cup in Russia by giving the team a fresh identity and successfully mixing talented youngsters and fading veterans. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 740 words.

May 15 — UNUSED SPARES : Because teams can only field 11 players at one time, there will be squad members at the World Cup who don’t get to play at all. Dealing with their frustrations, keeping them motivated and making sure they don’t sap team morale will be among the challenges for coaches in Russia. Players who went to the last World Cup in Brazil but didn’t play tell The Associated Press there are myriad ways for unused substitutes to still be useful for their teams and that those who sulk won’t be tolerated. By John Leicester. SENT: 1,000

May 16 — EMERGING TALENT : Colombia forward James Rodriguez became one of the stars of the tournament at the last World Cup with his trickery and eye for a spectacular goal. Expect others to step up at this year’s tournament in Russia. Among the possible standouts are France left back Benjamin Mendy, Spain midfielder Marco Asensio, Belgium winger Leroy sane and Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT: 830 words.

May 18 — MESSI AND RONALDO : Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi go into their fourth World Cup as changed men each seeking to win the game’s most coveted prize for the first time. Both of soccer’s biggest stars have turned 30 and added to their families since the 2014 tournament. But the pair of doting dads still show an undimmed will to win and a hunger for goals. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 860 words.

May 20 — POGBA EFFECT : Not all the money that will change hands after the World Cup, when clubs trade players who distinguish themselves on football’s biggest stage, will line the pockets of selling clubs, agents and the players themselves. A sliver of the wealth will also trickle down to football’s grassroots, to unpretentious, volunteer-run clubs where kids take first steps toward their dreams of making a career in the sport. By John Leicester. SENT: 950 words.

May 22 — EGYPT-SALAH PHENOMENON : In Mohamed Salah’s Nile delta village of Nagrig in Egypt, residents boast of how the Liverpool winger has poured millions of pounds into the village, with the beneficiaries’ list including a school, a mosque, a youth center and a dialysis machine at a nearby hospital. His success as a footballer in Europe’s most attractive league has inspired many parents in Nagrig to send their children to soccer academies in the hope that maybe one day they can emulate his success. By Hamza Hendawi. SENT: 1,000 words.

May 24 — SPAIN-FADED GLORY : The elegance and precise passes of Andres Iniesta. The personality and stout defense of Sergio Ramos. It will all be on display again at the World Cup. But mostly likely for the last time. The remaining members of Spain’s golden generation are set to make one final appearance at soccer’s showcase event in Russia. By Tales Azzoni: SENT: 650

May 25 — SPAIN’S FUTURE : A talented group of youngsters have been put in charge of the difficult task of replacing some of the best players to ever wear Spain’s jersey. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 670 words.

May 24 — TOP SURGEON : Sakari Orava is among the very few Finnish citizens to own a Champions League’s gold medal. He didn’t win it on the field but on the operating table of his medical practice in Turku. Top players including David Beckham have made the trip to Finland to go under the skilled knife of the world renowned surgeon. By Samuel Petrequin. SENT: 645 words.

May 28 — ARGENTINA-WHERE’S MESSI?: Why does Rosario, a city that lives and breathes soccer, seem to have an ambivalent relationship with Lionel Messi? By Luis Andres Henao. SENT: 2280 words.

May 30 — PORTUGAL’S TIME : Portugal finally broke through with its first major title at the European Championship two years ago. Now it will use the same formula at the World Cup. The European champions will travel to Russia with Cristiano Ronaldo and many of the other players from the squad that won Euro 2016. It will also carry the same low-key mentality it had when it succeeded in France. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 640 words.

May 30 — BRAZIL-THIAGO SILVA : Tuberculosis nearly derailed Thiago Silva’s career when he moved to Russia more than a decade ago. But the Brazil defender will be back in the country this year playing at the World Cup. By Mauricio Savarese. SENT: 450 words.

May 31 — ARGENTINA COACHES : Argentine football is mostly known for outstandingly skillful players like Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, but the country is a talent factory for coaches as well. No country will supply as many coaches in next month’s World Cup. Five Argentine managers will be present in Russia — Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina), Jose Pekerman (Colombia), Ricardo Gareca (Peru), Hector Cuper (Egypt) and Juan Antonio Pizzi (Saudi Arabia). By Debora Rey. SENT: 960 words.

June 1 — BRAZIL-JESUS : As Brazil’s Gabriel Jesus prepares to become Brazil number 9 at the World Cup in Russia, the favela he comes from is painting his face on walls. Jardim Peri, in northern Sao Paulo, is home to Brazil’s youngest striker to start a World Cup match in sixty years. By Mauricio Savarese. SENT: 680 words.

June 3 — CLUB VS. COUNTRY : It’s a delicate balance for players in Major League Soccer with the opportunity to play in the upcoming World Cup. Players use the league’s exposure to earn consideration for a spot in soccer’s showcase event. They also don’t want to invite any needless risks that might jeopardize their participation in Russia. Many MLS players bound for Russia played with their clubs through the final weekend of May. By Tim Booth. SENT: 810 words.

June 5 — BRAZIL’S RECOVERY : Have the five-time world champions shaken off the trauma of losing 7-1 to Germany in the 2014 semifinals on home soil? By Mauricio Savarese.

June 5 — GERMANY’S GURU : Public personal hygiene mishaps, speeding fines, old-fashioned jumpers, a 1970s hairstyle and cheesy commercials for men’s beauty products - Germans are happy to overlook certain things about Joachim Loew. Jogi, as he is affectionately known, led Germany to the World Cup title in Brazil four years ago and his side is hotly tipped to defend its title in Russia this summer. Just don’t type his name in YouTube. By Ciaran Fahey. SENT: 860 words.

June 6 — MISSING IN ACTION : Mario Goetze, Leroy Sane and Mauro Icardi have each achieved plenty in their careers. But they won’t be achieving anything at the upcoming World Cup. Along with the likes of Alvaro Morata and Adrien Rabiot, they belong to a group of elite players left off their national team squads. By Andrew Dampf. SENT: 680 words.

June 6 — SONGWRITING FANS : Only weeks before the start of the World Cup, San Lorenzo fans have written a new song for the Argentine national team, hoping it will become as popular with players and audience as the one sung in stadiums during the last World Cup, a put-down to host country Brazil based on a melody by Creedence Clearwater Revival that went “Oh Brazil, tell me how it feels.” By Debora Rey and Rodrigo Abd. SENT: 1,000 words.

June 8 — SADIO MANE : One fan thumps his chest with his fist. Another raises a Senegalese flag high in the air. Around them, hundreds of others holler, jump and dart about in wild celebration. Sadio Mane has scored. Described as a quiet kid, even shy, the Liverpool forward showed determination and focus at a young age to emerge form a rural village and find international stardom in Europe. Senegal now expects him to deliver at the World Cup. By Ken Maguire. SENT: 880 words.

June 9 — TABAREZ THE TEACHER : Oscar Tabarez was expected to resign in 2016 after the Uruguay coach was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disease. Tabarez faced difficulties moving, requiring a walker and an electric wheelchair. He did not go home, though. Instead, he told his bosses there was nothing keeping him from working — and making the World Cup. By Leonardo Haberkorn. SENT: 600 words.

June 11 — TACTICS : The World Cup has a tough act to follow after a thrill-a-minute Champions League campaign that featured a record number of goals. FIFA is hoping for a festival of football in Russia but the international game has lagged behind the club game for decades. There can be in-built conservatism at major tournaments, especially with weaker teams and nations with limited preparation time. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 900 words.

June 11 — BETTER IN SPANISH: NBC’s Telemundo network is trying to get English viewers in the United States to watch its World Cup coverage rather than tune into Fox’s debut, taking advance of the United States’ absence with a campaign that the tournament is better in Spanish. By Ronald Blum.

June 12 — JERSEYS: Spain, your asymmetry is showing. Nigeria, you’re so bright I need shades! Croatia, Russia’s fresh out of Big Boy restaurants. Those three countries and a few more are among the more festive standouts in jerseys this time around, with loads of sentimental touches in the designs of the 32 shirts rolled out over the last few months. By Leanne Italie.


June 5 — MONEY GAME : The 2018 World Cup has cost Russia billions of dollars to stage and will make FIFA hundreds of millions in profit. Still, the big numbers that have become routine for major sports events are unlikely to set any World Cup records. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 920 words.

June 9— VIDEO REFEREES : Two cramped rooms in a Moscow suburb could make or break countries’ dreams of World Cup glory. This World Cup tournament will be the first to use video replays. They’re standard practice in many other sports around the world, but an abomination to some soccer fans who see it as killing the game’s soul. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 750 words.

June 10 — RUSSIA’S VOTE VICTORY : Vladimir Putin spoke in English with a beaming smile when he put his seal on Russia’s World Cup hosting vote victory that eight years later is still under criminal investigation. “From bottom of my heart, thank you,” Putin said, a comment directed at now-discredited FIFA executive committee voters. Many FIFA watchers struggled to believe it was a result that could be achieved by fair means. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 940 words.

June 12 — 2026 BIDDING: Guide to the North American and Moroccan bids ahead of the June 13 vote. By Graham Dunbar and Rob Harris.

June 14 — 2014-BRAZIL LEGACY: Looking at the impact on Brazil on the last tournament. By Mauricio Savarese.


May 14-June 14: In the month before the tournament begins, the AP picks out a moment from World Cup history in photo and words. By Pan Pylas.

May 14: The Beginning

May 15: Suarez Bite

May 16: Italy’s Blackshirts

May 17: US vs Iran

May 18: Brazil’s Finest

May 19: Technology

May 20: France Triumphs

May 21: Miracle of Bern

May 22: Escobar Murder

May 23: Total Football

May 24: Disgrace of Gijon

May 25: Gazza’s Tears

May 28: Golden Goal

May 29: Spain Reigns

May 30: Battle-of-Santiago

May 31: Argentine-Confetti

June 1: Miracle-on-Grass

June 2: Pele

June 4: Zidane Headbutt

June 5: Hurst’s Hat-trick

June 6: Tragedy of Seville

June 7: Ronaldo’s Redemption

June 8: Hand of God

June 11: Beckenbauer


June 13 — FIFA Congress in Moscow, including vote on hosts of the 2026 World Cup.

June 14 — Opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

If you have questions about AP World Cup coverage, please email shaydon@ap.org or call +44 207 427 4229

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