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BC-World Cup Digest

June 14, 2018

Editors:

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans for the World Cup. All times EDT.

Find all of AP’s World Cup coverage at www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup .

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DEVELOPING

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WCUP-THE LATEST — Breaking news on World Cup developments around Russia and throughout the world.

WCUP-SPAIN — Spain’s newly minted coach, Fernando Hierro, and captain, Sergio Ramos, address the media a day before Spain and Portugal meet in their World Cup opener. News conference at 12 p.m.

REAL MADRID-LOPETEGUI — Real Madrid introduce Julen Lopetegui as coach in a news conference in Madrid, two days after his firing from the national team. News conference at 2 p.m. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 3:30 p.m.

WCUP-IRAN — Iran coach Carlos Queiroz holds a news conference ahead of his team’s opening World Cup match against Morocco in St. Petersburg. News conference at 9 a.m.

WCUP-MOROCCO — Morocco coach Herve Renard holds a news conference ahead of his team’s opening World Cup match against Iran. News conference at 11 a.m.

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TOP STORIES

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WCUP-RUSSIA-SAUDI ARABIA — Hosts Russia play Saudi Arabia in Moscow in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup. By James Ellingworth. Game starts at 11 a.m. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 1:30 p.m.

— With WCUP-LEICESTER, a column by John Leicester on what kind of start the tournament’s seeing, and WCUP-OPENING MATCH, an analysis by Rob Harris on takeaways from the tournament’s opening contest.

WCUP-RUSSIA HOPES — Russian President Vladimir Putin claims soccer and politics have nothing to do with each other, yet the World Cup he’s kicking off Thursday is about much more than a ball game. It’s about proving to the world that Russia is a global power broker and not an outcast, that it’s an open, confident and generous nation, and not an isolated, repressive place hobbled by sanctions. It’s also about proving to Russians that Putin is both their best global envoy and a man of the people, and about removing the stigma from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, indelibly stained by a doping scandal so widespread that Russia was banned from this year’s Winter Games. By Angela Charlton. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 2 p.m.

WCUP-SAUDI WOMEN — In Jeans, head covers and niqab, Saudi women draped in their country’s green flags and matching face paints are in Moscow to support their team in the World Cup opening match against host Russia. More importantly, perhaps, they have come to reinforce the image of a new Saudi Arabia, a Muslim nation where women are now emerging from decades of inequality. By Hamza Hendawi. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 12 p.m.

WCUP-THREE HOSTS? — Three is the new magic number for hosting a World Cup. Victory for the U.S.-led North American bid with Canada and Mexico to stage the 2026 World Cup suggests single-nation hosts like Russia will be rare in future. The 2030 bid race already shapes up to have triple-hosting options. By Graham Dunbar. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 1 p.m.

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ALSO OF NOTE

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WCUP-SCALPERS — Russian officials promised crackdowns on ticket scalping, but some crafty resellers have figured ways around the fact that tickets are supposed to be registered to individuals. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 500 words, photos, video.

WCUP-AMERICA’S VOICES — John Strong and Stuart Holden have a tough job. They’re the primary voices of Fox’s coverage of the World Cup after the network landed the U.S. English-language television rights. They’re about to embark on their first World Cup, with the challenge of engaging casual sports fans back home who may not be interested in the tournament without the U.S. By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 a.m.

WCUP-BRAZIL’S FAB FOUR — More than a decade after Brazil arrived for the World Cup in Germany with its prolific “magic quartet” of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ronaldo and Adriano, the five-time world champions could have another version in Russia of its “Fab Four” of Neymar, Willian, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus leading the way. Tales Azzoni. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 10 a.m.

WCUP-EGYPT-OLD KEEPER — Egypt’s 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary says he feels like he’s 20 again, yet if he makes it into a match in Russia, he’ll become the oldest player in World Cup history. By Hamza Hendawi. SENT: 600 words, photos.

WCUP-COSTA RICA’S CLIMB — Four years ago, Costa Rica was the surprise of the World Cup, making it to the quarterfinals before falling to the Netherlands in a penalty shootout. With another deep run in this tournament, which the United States is sitting out, the Ticos could establish themselves as arguably the second-best federation in CONCACAF. By Tim Booth and Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 800 words, photos.

WCUP-FRANCE-AUSTRALIA — With a group of players worth more than a billion dollars, any other result than a win against Australia would be deemed as a failure for France in its World Cup opener. By Samuel Petriquin. SENT: 800 words, photos.

WCUP-PERU-DENMARK — Peru and Denmark both required remarkable runs of form just to make it to Russia after each had rough starts to World Cup qualifying. On Saturday, their paths cross in their Group C opener. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. By 10:30 a.m.

WCUP-CROATIA-NIGERIA — In a showdown of veteran midfielders, John Obi Mikel of Nigeria will attempt to shut down the creativity of Croatia midfielder Luka Modric as their teams meet in their opening Group D match in Kaliningrad. By Michael Corder. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 10:30 a.m.

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VIDEO

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RUSSIA WCUP CHOIR — Russian veterans sing anthem to bring victory to the Russian side ahead of their first match of the World Cup.

RUSSIA WCUP DIVERSITY HOUSE —Opening of Diversity House, providing advice and a safe place for members of the LGBT community during the World Cup.

RUSSIA WCUP SAFETY— Head of the Russian Fans Association, Alexander Shprygin, holds news conference on fan safety during the World Cup.

Additional live and packaged offerings on fan arrivals in Moscow and elsewhere.

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PHOTOS

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A photo gallery of the day’s best action will be available by 1:30 p.m.

Shot of the day:

Rigobert Youmbi from Cameroon poses for a photo wearing body paint in the Russian colors prior to the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia during the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

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