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Everyone likes Iceland … except the teams that have to play it

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- One game into its first World Cup, Iceland has already become the darling of the tournament. And it's not hard to see why.

In a sport dominated by pampered stern-faced millionaires, Iceland's roster is filled with giddy blue-collar grinders. Its coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, is a dentist who still sees patients in between training camps...Read more

Mexico takes over World Cup with 1-0 victory over reigning champion Germany

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- They played the game on the banks of the Moscow River, but given the noise, the waves of green Mexican national team jerseys and multi-colored sombreros and the loud pregame rendition of "Cielito Lindo," Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday might as well have been Estadio Azteca.

Thursday's World Cup opener was played in a library compared with...Read more

Refs pull out all the stops

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- The World Cup entered the 21st century Saturday when Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha used a video replay to reverse one call on the field and goal-line technology to confirm another in France's 2-1 win over Australia in Kazan.

Under the Video Assistant Referee system, or VAR, a video referee watching the game from an operations center ...Read more

Argentina can't break Iceland in 1-1 draw as goalie stops Messi penalty kick

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- They came, they saw, but they refused to be conquered.

If anyone still doubted whether Iceland belongs in this summer's World Cup, those doubts faded Saturday in the split second it took goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson to dive to his right and bat down Lionel Messi's penalty shot, preserving a 1-1 draw with Argentina.

"When you go to ...Read more

Mexico still trying to get to that elusive fifth game

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- It's more a mental block than a physical one. More a lack of faith than a fait accompli.

Every four years Mexico goes to the World Cup with great expectations, advances out of its group, then packs its bags and heads home one game into the knockout round.

It was eliminated once on a penalty kick and once in a penalty-kick shootout. ...Read more

Ronaldo nets hat trick as Portugal, Spain draw in thrilling battle

Sports / Soccer /

SOCHI, Russia -- A hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal draw 3-3 with Spain in World Cup Group B on Friday after a gripping clash amid the evening heat of the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Ronaldo slotted home a penalty to put Portugal up 1-0 after just 2 minutes, but Diego Costa equalized for Spain at 24 minutes. Then, right before ...Read more

World Cup notes: Games might be sold out, but there have been many empty seats at games

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- The World Cup opener in Moscow drew a rabid crowd of more than 78,000 Thursday, but the tournament wasn't as warmly embraced in Yekaterinburg, where Friday's game between Egypt and Uruguay was watched by wide swaths of empty seats.

Attendance at Yekaterinburg Arena was listed at 27,015, more than 6,000 below capacity, although that ...Read more

Mexico's World Cup star is accused of helping a drug lord

Sports / Soccer /

MEXICO CITY -- At a recent World Cup warm-up match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Mexico's national soccer team was missing one of its biggest stars: Rafael Marquez, the team's captain and a legendary defender.

Marquez, a four-time World Cup veteran, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department last year for allegedly aiding a powerful Mexican...Read more

These votes were downright baffling

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- At least two federation presidents had some explaining to do after Wednesday's FIFA vote that awarded the 2026 World Cup to the joint bid of Mexico, Canada and the United States over a proposal from Morocco.

Antonio Souare, president of the Guinean soccer association and an ambassador for the Moroccan bid, cast his vote electronically...Read more

Mark Ziegler: World Cup predictions, with a nod to Steve Fisher

Sports / Soccer /

For several weeks I broke down rosters, mapped out the knockout bracket, researched historical matchups, considered current form, analyzed tactics and tendencies. And confidently arrived at my pick to win the 2018 World Cup:

Spain. La Furia Roja.

Then I woke up Wednesday morning to learn the United States, Mexico and Canada had been awarded ...Read more

Russia beats Saudi Arabia 5-0 for first World Cup win in 16 years

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- Russia opened its World Cup on Thursday with a quick, energetic opening ceremony that featured a giant firebird made from crepe paper, English pop singer Robbie Williams flipping off the TV cameras, a lot of juggling and a speech from President Vladimir Putin.

Then Russia's national team went out and provided an encore, riding two ...Read more

Spain replaces coach Julen Lopetegui with Fernando Hierro two days before opener

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- Spain will go into the World Cup under new management after the country's soccer association fired manager Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday, two days before its tournament opener against Portugal in Sochi, Russia.

The move came after Spanish club Real Madrid said Lopetegui would become its manager after the World Cup, an announcement that...Read more

Russia foots huge bill to host World Cup, but what you see might not be what you get

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- The capital of the world's first communist country has become a study in contradictions on the eve of Eastern Europe's first World Cup.

In Theatre Square, across the street from the Bolshoi Ballet, a granite statue of a stern-faced Karl Marx is now flanked by bright red, white and blue banners greeting visitors in two languages.

A ...Read more

How to watch the 2018 World Cup: TV schedule, groups, odds and what you need to know

Sports / Soccer /

When does the tournament start?

Thursday, when host nation Russia faces Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which is also the venue for the July 15 final. The opening game pits the lowest-ranked teams in the tournament with Russia at No. 70 in the FIFA world rankings and Saudi Arabia at No. 67.

How can I watch the games?

Fox Sports ...Read more

2026 World Cup is awarded to North America

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- The alliance of United States, Mexico and Canada was awarded the 2026 World Cup by FIFA Wednesday morning, bringing the premier event in international sports back to the U.S. after a 32-year absence.

FIFA member delegations, voting Wednesday during their 68th Congress in Moscow, chose the so-called United Bid over a rival proposal ...Read more

World Cup Group H capsules

Sports / Soccer /

A look at the teams in Group H of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

COLOMBIA

FIFA world ranking: 16.

Last World Cup: 2014.

Best World Cup finish: Quarterfinals, 2014.

How qualified: Finished fourth in South American qualifying.

Key players: MF James Rodriguez, F Radamel Falcao, GK David Ospina.

It's a fact: Colombia won four games in the last...Read more

Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez lead Colombia into World Cup competition

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- Four years ago, as Colombia prepared for its first World Cup in 16 years, Radamel Falcao struggled to get right.

An ACL injury had sidelined him for nearly six months but Falcao waited until the week before the tournament to admit he wouldn't be able to play. His sadness soon turned to envy as he watched an unheralded 22-year-old ...Read more

2018 World Cup fan guide: Everything you need to know

Sports / Soccer /

2018 World Cup Ultimate Fan Guide

When: June 14-July 15

Where: Russia.

Cities: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Saransk, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don

No. of Teams: 32 Past 5 Champions:

2014: Germany (Runner-up Argentina).

2010: Spain (Runner-up Netherlands)

2006: Italy (Runner-up ...Read more

Leaders of North America's 2026 World Cup bid scurry to keep politics from trumping their advantage

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- Undeterred by the changing politics that have buffeted the United States-led North American bid for the 2026 World Cup, leaders of the three-nation campaign are banking on a more dependable ally to get them past the finish line -- money.

More than 200 FIFA member nations attending the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow will choose Wednesday...Read more

Ramadan leaves Muslim World Cup players facing a tough choice

Sports / Soccer /

MOSCOW -- Omar Gaber made two commitments before leaving Egypt for Russia and the World Cup on Sunday. One was to his country, which hasn't seen its national team play on soccer's biggest stage in 28 years. The other was to his faith.

"To make the Egyptian people happy, this is the most important thing," he said.

But it's not the only thing. ...Read more