Krakow confirmed to host 2023 European Games
MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The Polish city of Krakow has been confirmed as the host of the 2023 European Games.
It was the only bidder after a Russian plan to hold the games in Kazan fizzled...
Despite doping scandals, Russia bids to host European Games
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is bidding to host the 2023 European Games in Kazan despite a backdrop of years of doping scandals.
Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov is working with regional officials on the Kazan bid and said late Tuesday the city has "unique sports infrastructure at both the Russian and international level."
Russia, Ukraine, US in 7-nation contest to host swim worlds
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Swimming's governing body says Russia and Ukraine are among seven countries wanting to host the world championships in 2025 or 2027.
FINA says Greensboro, North Carolina, is also among potential candidates with 2007 host Melbourne and 2017 host Budapest.
Russia has proposed Kazan, the 2015 worlds host, and the Ukraine swimming federation has yet to select its favored host city.
FINA says the Chinese federation also met the deadline to register interest.
Neymar, Brazil head home early _ again _ with many questions
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Brazil came to Russia with a strong team, a well-liked coach and a great star. Fans thought the Selecao would finally end its World Cup title drought.
But again the five-time world champions are leaving empty handed, unable to make it to the semifinals four years after that humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany at its home World Cup.
Last remaining multiple World Cup champions eliminated
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Only five countries have won the World Cup more than once. None of them have a chance to win another this year.
Five-time champion Brazil and two-time champion Uruguay were both eliminated Friday, losing in the quarterfinals. Argentina, another two-time winner, lost in the round of 16 while four-time champion Germany couldn't make it out of the group stage.
Italy, which also has won four titles, didn't even qualify, losing to Sweden in the playoffs.
Belgium eliminates Brazil, advances to World Cup semifinals
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Neymar used Brazil's famed yellow jersey to shield his anguish. The Belgians, clad in red and dancing in a celebratory circle nearby, couldn't hide their relief.
Belgium reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 32 years, holding off five-time champion Brazil 2-1 Friday in one of the country's greatest soccer feats.
"We've achieved something that is really beautiful," said Kevin De Bruyne, who scored Belgium's second goal, "and it's not easy."
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Brazil right back Danilo is out of the World Cup after injuring his ankle in training.
The Brazilian soccer federation said Danilo suffered a ligament injury in his left ankle during the team's training session in Kazan on Thursday, a day before Brazil plays Belgium in the quarterfinals.
The federation said early Friday that tests confirmed the player will not be able to recover in time to play again during the tournament in Russia.
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest at the World Cup (all times local):
Brazil right back Danilo is out of the World Cup after injuring his ankle in training.
The Brazilian soccer federation says Danilo suffered a ligament injury in his left ankle during the team's training session in Kazan on Thursday, a day before Brazil plays Belgium in the quarterfinals.
Belgium’s Lukaku welcomes Brazil challenge at World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku won't be heard complaining that his team's reward for winning its World Cup group is ending up in what appears to be the far harder side of the draw and meeting five-time champion Brazil in the quarterfinals.
Friday evening's game in Kazan brings together the two highest-ranked teams left in the tournament following Germany's early exit. Brazil is ranked second and Belgium third. Whoever wins plays either France or Uruguay.
MOSCOW (AP) — What to watch for in Friday's matchups at the World Cup quarterfinals:
Brazil coach Tite not a fan of penalty shootouts
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Brazil coach Tite isn't a fan of penalty shootouts.
He doesn't have any better ideas, though.
"Taking a penalty is something really hard. A football match should never end by taking penalties," Tite said Thursday. "I don't see that as a valid result. But I don't know what to suggest instead."
MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA has picked European and South American referees to handle the World Cup quarterfinals that feature only teams from their regions.
The Uruguay vs. France game will be refereed by Nestor Pitana of Argentina on Friday in Nizhny Novgorod. It will be his fourth assignment, including the opening game.
Also Friday, the Brazil vs. Belgium game in Kazan will be handled by Milorad Mazic of Serbia. He handled the Champions League final in May.
Belgium’s high scorers take on Brazil’s miserly defense
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — To get past Belgium in the quarterfinals at the World Cup, Brazil has to do something it has not been able to do since it last won the tournament in 2002: overcome European opposition in the knockout stages.
‘O Monstro’ Thiago Silva back to his best in Russia
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Four years after Brazil's humiliation at its home World Cup, Thiago Silva is back to his best in Russia, a country where his then-burgeoning career was almost tragically cut short years ago.
The 33-year-old Brazil center back — who is nicknamed "O Monstro" for his exceptional physical abilities — is probably playing in his final World Cup, and he has been enjoying a perfect tournament so far.
Changing coach breathed life into Japan’s World Cup campaign
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Changing coaches on the eve of the World Cup can be fraught with danger. Just look at Spain.
The Spaniards and last-minute replacement coach Fernando Hierro were surprisingly eliminated by Russia in a penalty shootout after a timid and uninspired performance.
Column: At World Cup, inexperience can be a winning formula
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — When Kylian Mbappe broke the Internet with a World Cup performance unmatched since Pele, the coach who made it possible fittingly set a record, too.
Messi and Ronaldo not only greats not to win World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are clearly two of the greatest footballers of all time, and following Saturday's elimination of Argentina and Portugal they're unlikely to ever become World Cup winners.
With both now in their early 30s, it seems they'll join a list of great players who could not cap their international careers with the biggest prize of all.
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After goals galore, French expects tighter game vs Uruguay
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Forget champagne football. While the French scored four goals against Argentina to reach the World Cup quarterfinals, coach Didier Deschamps is expecting a much tighter game against Uruguay.
The 1998 champions are into the quarterfinals for the seventh time, and coming off a 4-3 win over Lionel Messi's Argentina in an enthralling contest at Kazan Arena in which they dominated throughout and exposed Argentina's defensive flaws.
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — James Rodriguez missed training on Saturday and a scan showed that he had minor swelling of his right calf, three days before a last-16 match against England at the World Cup.
Rodriguez, who was the top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, has been bothered by the injury since the start of the tournament in Russia.
Messi-led generation fails to win major title with Argentina
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Argentina came to the World Cup with a generation of players that had won so much, just not at the highest level.
At one point led by a young Lionel Messi, the Argentines won five titles at the U-20 World Cup from 1995-2007 and two gold medals at the Olympics in 2004 and 2008.
But the team's latest chance to win a major title at the senior level came to an end Saturday when Argentina lost to France 4-3 at the World Cup.
Brief look at Lionel Messi’s World Cup goals
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — For Barcelona, Lionel Messi is a goal machine, the club's top scorer who has frequently been decisive for the Catalan club. But for Argentina at the World Cup, not so much. At four World Cups, in 19 matches, Messi scored six times, not including a penalty converted in a semifinal shoot-out against the Netherlands in 2014.
Mbappe, not Messi, stars as France beats Argentina 4-3
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — What Lionel Messi has never done, 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe did twice.
The quick-footed French teenager scored two goals in a five-minute span of the second half to help his team rally for a 4-3 victory over Argentina. Saturday's victory gave France a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Messi, who turned 31 during his fourth and possibly final World Cup, set up a pair of goals but again failed to score in a knockout match at the biggest event in soccer.
Column: The World Cup delivers unforgiving verdict for Messi
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Lionel Messi: Great club footballer, maybe even the greatest ever. But a great underachiever on soccer's biggest stage.
That was the inescapable verdict delivered at the World Cup by the quick feet of a teenager as exciting and full of potential as Messi was himself at the same age.
Benjamin Pavard, like Lilian Thuram, scores at World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Eight months ago, Benjamin Pavard was a young player with potential.
He's now the first France defender to score a goal at the World Cup since Lilian Thuram did it against Croatia in the 1998 semifinals, a few days before the host country won the title.
On Saturday at the Kazan Arena, the 22-year-old Pavard made it 2-2 against Argentina with a much-needed strike. Kylian Mbappe soon finished off the 4-3 victory to send France to the quarterfinals.
Column: Best-ever World Cup? It is shaping up nicely
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Wow. What a start.
If you're among those who suspect this World Cup has the makings of one of the best ever, the numbers from the just-completed group stage of the football showcase suggest you may be right. Aside from a few snoozers, the essential ingredient for engrossing sporting spectacle — uncertainty — triumphed.
France considers how to stop Messi ahead of Argentina clash
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Like any other team preparing to play Argentina, France faces the Lionel Messi question: How to stop the five-time world player of the year?
Unlike many of its rivals at the World Cup, though, France has an answer: a center-half pairing of Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti.
AP PHOTOS: Russia’s airports a melting pot of World Cup fans
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Russia's airports have had a face-lift and thankfully for the exhausted fans on the World Cup trail they have not proven to be much of an inconvenience.
With distances between venues potentially thousands of miles, they have had to be amenable.
Coffee shops, relaxing massage chairs or playing table football. They're all available.
As are bars showing what has brought all these travelers to Russia — there's no escaping the football.
Future starts now for Germany after shock World Cup exit
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Coach Joachim Loew failed in his bid to combine the experience of past World Cup winners and the youth of talented newcomers, but the future holds much promise for Germany.
Argentina, France hope to reach potential in World Cup clash
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — France and Argentina took different paths to the knockout stage but have much in common at this World Cup.
Both teams are filled with big-name players, both like to play an entertaining style and both have failed to impress so far.
Forty years after their last meeting at soccer's biggest tournament, the former champions meet on Saturday in Kazan for a spot in the quarterfinals, needing their best players to come to the fore.
‘Dark day for German football’ after World Cup elimination
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Everyone was waiting for Germany to score another late World Cup-saving goal.
It never came.
Instead, the Germans have become the fourth defending champions in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage following a 2-0 loss to South Korea on Wednesday.
The four-time champions allowed a pair of injury-time goals while knowing a 1-0 victory would have been enough to advance because of the result in the other group match.
South Korea ends World Cup with mixed feelings
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — The tears flowed on both sides of the field after South Korea beat Germany at the World Cup.
Even in victory, the South Koreas struggled to compose themselves following a 2-0 win that knocked the defending champion Germans out of the tournament. That's because South Korea entered the match with a slim chance to advance but couldn't get it done.
Mexican fans celebrate South Korea’s victory over Germany
YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — It was a surreal atmosphere at the end of Mexico's World Cup game against Sweden.
In the dying minutes, the Mexican fans — who well outnumbered the Swedes in the packed arena — erupted in wild celebrations.
Plastic cups and beer were flying high as the fans were jumped and danced and sang.
It was the kind of celebrating supporters from the soccer crazy country would do for a World Cup victory by El Tri.
Defending champion Germany eliminated from World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Germany is out of the World Cup, the fourth defending champion in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage.
The four-time champions lost to South Korea 2-0 Wednesday, allowing a pair of injury-time goals while knowing a 1-0 victory would have been enough to advance because of the result in the other group match.
Germany ended up last in Group F while Sweden and Mexico advanced to the round of 16. South Korea was also eliminated despite the victory.
Colombia’s Aguilar ruled out against Senegal due to injury
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Midfielder Abel Aguilar won't play for Colombia on Thursday against Senegal because of a left adductor injury.
Aguilar was injured in the first half of Colombia's 3-0 victory over Poland last Sunday in Kazan and had to be stretchered off the field.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said Aguilar wouldn't be available in the team's decisive final group match in Samara, but he did not rule the 33-year-old veteran out of the rest of the tournament should Colombia advance.
Argentina has big weaknesses to address before facing France
ST. PETERSBURG, France (AP) — After the euphoria of scraping through to the last 16 of the World Cup, Argentina now must address its glaring weaknesses.
Argentina has little time to prepare for Saturday's match against France, which is considered among the tournament favorites, yet has much to work on.
Croatia ends Iceland’s chances at World Cup with 2-1 win
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Croatia ended Iceland's chances at the World Cup and helped out Argentina at the same time.
Ivan Perisic capitalized on a defensive error to score a 90th-minute winner Tuesday, giving Croatia a 2-1 win over Iceland and first place in Group D on Tuesday.
Still a glimmer of hope for South Korea at World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — With its top player out injured and two losses already at the World Cup, South Korea has plenty of work to do to progress to the knockout round.
To make things even tougher, the team's final group opponent is defending champion Germany.
"There is 1 percent chance, there is still hope," South Korea forward Son Heung-min said on the eve of the Group F game at Kazan Arena. "We will do our utmost."
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Germany midfielder Sebastian Rudy has been ruled out of the team's final group game against South Korea at the World Cup after suffering multiple fractures to his nose.
Coach Joachim Loew said Tuesday on the eve of the match that Rudy hadn't recovered after undergoing surgery.
Rudy picked up the injury during his team's 2-1 win over Sweden last week. He was forced to leave the pitch after a Swedish player's boot slammed into his nose in the first half as he was on the ground.
Colombia pairing of Rodriguez, Quintero works at World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — They've been friends since childhood and now they are forming a surprising midfield partnership for Colombia at the World Cup.
James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero shined in the team's 3-0 win over Poland, with three assists between them. The display helped keep the South Americans in contention to advance from their group.
Their pairing hasn't always worked for Colombia, since both are left-footed and have a similar style of play.
Germany shows World Cup grit, now has chance to advance
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — This Mannschaft is by no means perfect, but at least it can fight, and that's an essential asset to win a World Cup.
Germany's 2-1 win over Sweden could turn out to be the cornerstone in the defending champions' Russian campaign, a memorable event that brought players together following their disastrous start.
Pekerman dedicates Colombia’s win to Carlos Sanchez
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Colombia coach Jose Pekerman dedicated his team's victory over Poland to Carlos Sanchez, who was the target of a death threat after receiving a red card in an earlier match at the World Cup.
The suspended midfielder was sent off in the team's 2-1 loss to Japan in its opening game. He did not play in the 3-0 win over Poland on Sunday.
Falcao scores, Colombia beats Poland 3-0 at World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Four years after Radamel Falcao was supposed to lead Colombia at the World Cup, he's doing just that.
Falcao missed the tournament in Brazil with a knee injury and had to wait until arriving in Russia to score his first World Cup goal. It came in Colombia's 3-0 victory over Poland on Sunday.
"It's a dream goal," Falcao said. "I'm happy for the victory, for the team's performance and the goal that I scored, which I've been waiting for for many years."
Tatar’s national dessert chak-chak is a hit in Kazan
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — There are arguably more chak-chaks for sale in Kazan's shops, cafes and restaurants than fans attending World Cup matches in the colorful city on the Volga river.
Traditionally eaten at weddings in central Asia, the sugary treat has become the national dessert of Tatarstan, the oil-rich region which promotes itself as the "Land of 1,001 Delights."
Colombia coach gives 4-point wish list for World Cup match
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Colombia coach Jose Pekerman gave his wish list for the team's next match against Poland, most importantly keeping all 11 players on the pitch.
In a disappointing 2-1 loss to Japan in Colombia's first match, the South Americans were reduced to 10 men and a goal behind in the opening minutes.
World Cup’s 2 youngest players have been difference-makers
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — France's Kylian Mbappe and Australia's Daniel Arzani, the two youngest players at the World Cup with birthdays just 15 days apart, are both having an impact in Russia — in very different ways.
Mbappe, the 19-year-old phenom who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, scored in his team's 1-0 victory over Peru on Thursday, securing France a spot in the knockout round.
Falcao vs Lewandowski in must-win World Cup contest
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — After missing out on the World Cup four years ago because of an injury, Radamel Falcao is now in danger of being out of title contention after only two matches at the sport's marquee tournament.
Colombia's all-time leading scorer and his teammates are taking on Poland's all-time leading scorer, Robert Lewandowski, and his teammates in a tense contest on Sunday. Both teams know a defeat would likely end their hopes of advancing to the knockout round.
Colombia captain wants World Cup team to use past resolve
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Radamel Falcao wants Colombia to draw on its past mental strengths in the qualifiers to save its World Cup in Russia.
The South American team's captain and top scorer believes that Colombia can overcome the setback of the 2-1 loss to Japan in the first group match to rescue its hopes of advancing.
"We've had some past experiences" of pulling through in the end, Falcao said Thursday.
Caretaker Hierro leaving his mark on Spain at World Cup
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Fernando Hierro had an abrupt answer to those asking questions about his tactics and strategies at the World Cup.
"I'm the new coach. I'm the national coach," the former Real Madrid captain said. "You have to get used to that."