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BC-AP--World-Cup-Digest, AP

June 16, 2014

The AP World Cup Digest at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT). The supervisor of the World Cup desk in Rio de Janeiro is Simon Haydon. The desk can be reached at 0055 21 348 264 84.



A breathtaking last-gasp goal; a first for goal-line technology; happy and cheering fans. What else could the World Cup want? Oh yes, a stunning goal by Lionel Messi for Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The World Cup continues to delight in Brazil, with 37 goals in four days and nine alone on Sunday. By Raf Casert. SENT. By Raf Casert.


RIO DE JANEIRO — It took Lionel Messi just over an hour in Argentina’s World Cup opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina to show why so many fans consider him the best in the world. After a frustrating first half, the Argentina captain scored in trademark style in the 65th minute on Sunday night, completing a quick 1-2 connection Gonzalo Higuain and running through defenders before striking a brilliant left-footed shot off the post. By Karl Ritter. SENT. 500 words.


PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Karim Benzema scored twice and created a third that was confirmed by goal-line technology as France eased into its World Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over Honduras on Sunday The convincing victory — albeit against a 10-man team for more than 45 minutes — was in stark contrast to the team’s performances in South Africa four years ago, when the highly paid squad failed to win a single match and was sent home in a disgrace after going on a training strike. By Chris Brummitt. SENT. 700 words.


BRASILIA, Brazil — Switzerland grabbed a winner with virtually the final kick to earn a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in the World Cup on Sunday, extending a run of come-from-behind wins that are becoming a theme of the tournament. With just seconds left in the third and final minute of stoppage time, substitute Haris Seferovic finished off a length-of-the-field move by slamming home a close-range shot. After wild Swiss celebrations, Ecuador’s shell-shocked players barely had time to restart before the final whistle was blown. By Steve Douglas. SENT. 600 words.



RIO DE JANEIRO — A police officer can be seen on an Associated Press video firing what appeared to be a live pistol round at anti-World Cup protesters Sunday near Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana soccer stadium. During the small but violent and chaotic protest that played out about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the stadium, another man in plainclothes who identified himself as a police officer also pulled a pistol and fired two shots into the air. By Bradley Brooks and Raul Gallego Abellan. SENT. 500 words.


RIO DE JANEIRO — Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to lead Portugal against Germany in one of the biggest games of the first week at the World Cup, saying his sore knee won’t be a problem. The Real Madrid forward, arguably the most recognizable player in the sport, said he wouldn’t risk his career by going into such a tough match with a serious injury. The match at Salvador features two of the top four ranked teams in the world, with Germany at No. 2 and Portugal at No. 4. By John Pye. SENT. 750 words.


SAO PAULO — Is it “Let’s Go” or “Les Bleus”? It’s getting hard to tell in a Bohemian neighborhood of Brazil’s largest city where foreigners have taken over the streets to improvise a big outdoor festival of fans. “Everyone out here speaks everything but Portuguese,” said Matt Baca, a 31-year-old tourist from Los Angeles, sipping beer with his two friends while watching a game Sunday. “This area is awesome. Downtown is a little rougher.” SENT. 1,200 words.


It truly is a horrific thought that not even the giant Maracana Stadium, filled to the brim with 74,000 people high on life and football, could fit all the dead from the Bosnia war. But their presence — in hearts, in memories — was felt as the young nation they never lived to enjoy made its World Cup debut, the 77th country to plant its flag on football’s biggest stage. SENT. 850 words.


PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Goal-line technology did its job when it counted at the World Cup, although not without a little bit of confusion. France was the beneficiary of the first World Cup goal awarded thanks to the new system being used in Brazil, which ruled correctly that Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares had narrowly spilled the ball over his own line. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT. 650 words.


PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — France captain Hugo Lloris had looked forward to leading his teammates in a heartfelt rendition of “La Marseillaise” at the World Cup. He’ll have to wait another five days, as the traditional pre-match national anthems were never played before Sunday’s game against Honduras. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT. 400 words.


RIO DE JANEIRO — Two days of near non-stop rain have dumped a month’s worth of precipitation on the World Cup city of Natal, leading to a flood alert and raising worries that the deluge could affect the U.S. team’s debut match against Ghana. No deaths or injuries have been reported in the rains, which began early Friday and abated only on Sunday, dumping in 50 hours as much rain as is usually seen in the northeastern Brazilian city during the entire month of June. With more rains forecast for the next five days, some people worried that the weather could affect the U.S.-Ghana match on Monday afternoon. SENT. 500 words.


SALVADOR, Brazil — Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo declared himself fit on Sunday and ready to play in Portugal’s World Cup opener against Germany. Ronaldo said he had recovered from a left-knee injury that has bothered him recently. By Nesha Starcevic. SENT. 450 words.


BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Romelu Lukaku knows he bears a huge responsibility before Belgium kicks off its World Cup campaign against Algeria on Tuesday. The 21-year-old Lukaku has taken up the role of Belgium’s central striker after an injury to Christian Benteke ruled him out of the tournament, and he’s relishing it. By Frank Griffiths. SENT. By 400 words.


RIO DE JANEIRO — As so often with England, a setback on the pitch has provoked renewed scrutiny of Wayne Rooney’s contribution. Or lack of it. For all the dynamism of England’s youngsters going forward in the 2-1 loss to Italy in their World Cup opener, Rooney’s lack of real influence on the game stood out in Manaus on Saturday. By Rob Harris. SENT. 600 words.


NATAL, Brazil — U.S coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been impressed by CONCACAF’S good start at the World Cup with opening-match victories by Mexico and Costa Rica, and says his team is aiming to push the region’s success further when it plays Ghana on Monday. “It’s exciting to see Mexico win, to see Costa Rica win ... We want them to do well because we are all representing CONCACAF. We want to follow up on that.” By Jim Vertuno. SENT. 250 words.


SANTOS, Brazil — The city where Pele rose to fame honored its favorite son Sunday, celebrating the life and career of the Brazilian football great while his country hosted the World Cup. Hundreds of dignitaries were on hand in the port city of Santos to toast the 73-year-old Pele at the official opening of the Pele Museum — a 4,000 square meter complex inside the city’s old town that cost about $22 million and houses more than 2,500 items related to his career, including trophies, jerseys and images of him with world leaders and celebrities. By Aron Heller. SENT. 350 words.


NATAL, Brazil — Long before the U.S. soccer team arrived in this balmy coastal city for the World Cup, another group of uniformed Americans came through. They turned this isolated part of northeast Brazil — the closest point in the Americas to Africa — into a World War II boomtown. President Franklin Roosevelt dubbed Natal the “Trampoline to Victory,” for keeping allied troops in Africa supplied. During part of the war, Natal was the busiest airport in the world, with flights taking off and landing every three minutes. By Jim Vertuno. SENT. 600 words.


MANAUS, Brazil — Claudio Marchisio wasn’t hallucinating. It was hot at the Arena da Amazonia during the first World Cup match to be played in the Brazilian rainforest. Marchisio and his Italian teammates were able to adapt to the steamy conditions well enough to beat England 2-1 in Group D, but both coaches complained about the heat and humidity after the game. By Chris Lehourites. SENT. 550 words.


CURITIBA, Brazil — The Netherlands crushing win over Spain has precipitated a question that wasn’t expected to come up until after the World Cup — when do Spain’s veterans give way to its rising crop of talented youngsters? Coach Vicente del Bosque said changes would be made for the must-win match against Chile on Wednesday. But with its title on the line, Spain’s transition still may not be fully made in Brazil. By Paul Logothetis. SENT. 550 words.

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