BC-BC--World Cup Digest, BC
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.
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Brazil and Colombia enter the World Cup quarterfinals with totally different mindsets. Brazil is surrounded by doubts after a more difficult start than expected to the tournament it is hosting. Colombia is upbeat after convincing performances and four straight wins. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 690 words, photos.
RIO DE JANEIRO — A European presence in the World Cup semifinals is assured as Germany and France meet at the Maracana on Friday, looking to shrug off stumbling wins in the second round that exposed frailties in both teams. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 700 words, photos.
RIO DE JANEIRO — FIFA expressed “substantial doubts” Wednesday about a German magazine’s claims that a World Cup game could have been fixed and asked the publication to provide evidence to back up its report that a renowned match-fixer accurately predicted details of the match hours before it kicked off. FIFA said it wants Der Spiegel to provide details of all its conversations with convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal to prove its claim that Cameroon’s 4-0 loss to Croatia on June 18 may have been fixed. By Gerald Imray. SENT: 780 words, photos.
FORTALEZA, Brazil — Neymar is tired of all this talk about the pressure of playing the World Cup at home. He guarantees Brazil is emotionally ready for the challenge. Just two days before Brazil plays Colombia in the quarterfinals, Neymar downplayed concerns about the team’s emotional state and said “all players are prepared.” By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 430 words, photos.
RIO DE JANEIRO — The Netherlands has come from a goal down to win three of their four World Cup matches so far thanks in part to their swift system swaps. Louis van Gaal is largely relying on a 5-3-2 formation in Brazil, with two wing backs expected to push forward in quick-fire counter attacks. But the team has been reverting to the traditional Dutch attacking 4-3-3 system if it goes behind and Van Gaal also has what he calls “Plan B.” By Mike Corder. SENT: 650 words, photos.
SALVADOR, Brazil — The stirring performance against the United States provided a shot in the arm for Belgium, and some more. Now, with its reputation restored in the wake of a 2-1 victory over the Americans in the second round of the World Cup, Belgium is looking full of confidence ahead of the match against Argentina in Saturday’s quarterfinals. By Raf Casert. SENT: 470 words, photos.
PORTO SEGURO, Brazil — Facing criticism at home for failing to find the beautiful game, Germany is drawing parallels to its 1990 World Cup campaign, when it won the last of its three titles. Under coach Franz Beckenbauer in Italy, Germany got off to a rocket start, only to begin fading as the tournament grew long. But the Germans plodded through and beat Argentina 1-0 in the final in Rome to lift the title. By Nesha Starcevic. SENT: 500 words, photos.
RIBEIRAO PRETO, Brazil — France defender Mamadou Sakho and his teammates will be filled with “rage” when they take on Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. Not because they have anything personal against the Germans, but because they are still feeling the anger and desperation after barely qualifying for the tournament in Brazil. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT: 550 words, photos.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Ghana is planning to take pre-emptive action for the next World Cup to avoid off-the-field problems over bonus payments. The country’s football association said Wednesday it will have contracts with players for their bonuses at future tournaments. The move comes after the federation had to rapidly bring in $3 million in cash to keep the team playing in Brazil. By Gerald Imray. SENT: 510 words, photos.
SAO PAULO — Turns out Jurgen Klinsmann was right: The United States isn’t ready to win the World Cup. The Americans were eliminated in the round of 16 for the second straight tournament. They’ve been ranked 13th or 14th every month since September, which means their exit was pretty much at the stage it’s expected to be. By Ronald Blum. SENT: 675 words, photos.
SAO PAULO — Tim Howard hasn’t decided whether he will stick around for another World Cup cycle or retire from the U.S. national team. The 35-year-old goalkeeper says he will talk it over with those close to him before determining whether he wants to play in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. By Janie McCauley. SENT: 600 words, photos.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Substitutes have made a big impact at the World Cup, and there could be more of them in four years’ time. FIFA’s coaching advisers will propose before the 2018 World Cup kicks off that teams can use a fourth substitute in extra time. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 400 words, photos.
— UNDATED — WCUP-ON THIS DAY. SENT.