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The Latest: Brazil advances to QFs with 2-0 win over Mexico
Sports By: The Bullet Wire July 2nd, 2018 9:02 am
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the World Cup (all times local):
Brazil has advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals with a 2-0 win over Mexico.
Neymar opened the scoring in the 51st minute and provided the last pass for Firmino’s clincher in the 88th. Firmino tapped in from close range minutes after coming on as a replacement for Coutinho.
For the opener, Neymar slid toward goal and tapped in Willian’s low cross from the left.
The goals made Brazil the World Cup all-time scoring leader with 228 goals, surpassing Germany with 226.
Switzerland doesn’t want to be caught napping early in its World Cup round-of-16 match against Sweden.
The Swiss have twice conceded the opening goal in Russia — first in their 1-1 draw with Brazil and again against Serbia — when Switzerland became the first team at this World Cup to win after going a goal down.
Coach Vladimir Petkovic says that “we have to be ready to play really from the get go in such a way to have the initiative on our side.” Switzerland takes on Sweden in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The winner faces either England or Colombia in the quarterfinals.
The Swiss team is without the heart of its defense, with captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer suspended after picking up their second yellow cards of the tournament.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman says James Rodriguez could be fit to play against England in the World Cup round of 16.
The Bayern Munich attacking midfielder was substituted with a calf muscle problem during Colombia’s 1-0 win over Senegal last week and has undergone medical scans which Pekerman says shows he “doesn’t have a serious injury.”
Pekerman says “we hope of course that he will be able to play” but he won’t guarantee Rodriguez will be in the starting lineup and “the team is quite stable” even without him.
If Rodriguez can’t play, Pekerman says Sevilla’s Luis Muriel will step in as he did against Senegal.
Neymar has scored in the 51st minute to give Brazil a 1-0 lead over Mexico in the World Cup round-of-16 game at Samara.
The Brazil forward slid toward goal and tapped in after Willian sprinted down the left and fired in a low cross.
The goal made Brazil the World Cup all-time scoring leader with 227 goals, surpassing Germany with 226.
Mexico made a change at halftime, replacing 39-year-old defender Rafael Marquez with Miguel Layun.
Marquez is playing in his fifth World Cup, and was the first player picked in a starting 11 at five World Cups.
5: 45 p.m.
Mexico and Brazil are tied 0-0 at halftime in their World Cup round-of-16 match at Samara Stadium.
While Mexico controlled the possession early, Brazil appeared to have the best scoring chances.
Neymar’s right-foot shot was stopped by Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa only moments before the Brazil playmaker rolled a pass to Philippe Coutinho, who fired over the goal in the 26th minute.
The Mexicans were playing to reach the elusive fifth game at the World Cup, meaning the quarterfinals. El Tri has not been able to get past the round-of-16 for the last six tournaments.
Brazil is a five-time World Cup champion, the most recent in 2002.
Rafa Marquez has become first player to be included in the starting lineup at five World Cups. The veteran defender was used off the bench earlier in the tournament in Russia but started for Mexico in its round of 16 game against Brazil and FIFA noted his record at kickoff.
And, according to international analytics company Opta Sportsdata, Marquez (39 years, 139 days) is the oldest outfield player to start a World Cup knockout match since Stanley Matthews started for England against Uruguay in 1954 at the age 39 years, 145 days.
Marquez made his World Cup debut in a 2-1 win over Croatia on June 3, 2002 in Niigata, Japan.
It’s a case of do or dye in Samara.
Brazil star Neymar’s blond highlights from the group stage are gone, and he’s back to his natural color for the round-of-16 match Monday against Mexico.
But his Mexico counterpart, Javier Hernandez — better known as Chicharito — has arrived in Samara Stadium as a bleached blond.
Some opined on social media that Chicharito was trolling Neymar to try and get inside his head before the match.
The Croatia squad has wasted no time getting to the coast of the Black Sea to begin preparations for its quarterfinal match against Russia.
Just hours after edging Denmark in a penalty shootout, Croatia left behind Nizhny Novgorod and arrived in Sochi on Monday afternoon, well ahead of Saturday’s match against the tournament hosts. Croatia was scheduled to have a light practice Monday night.
Several teams have come to Sochi early to prepare for the combination of heat and humidity. For Croatia it makes even more sense with its base camp for the tournament north of St. Petersburg.
Croatia is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1998, when it placed third.
Tite has called in Filipe Luis to replace Marcelo for Brazil’s World Cup round of 16 game against Mexico.
Marcelo had back spasms in the opening minute of Brazil’s last group match against Serbia and didn’t recover in time to return to the starting lineup. Luis went on as a substitute at left-back against Serbia and retains that spot.
Mexico’s Hector Moreno was unavailable because of yellow card accumulation and has been replaced by Hugo Atala. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio also added 39-year-old defender Rafael Marquez to the starting lineup.
Brazil: Alisson, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Filipe Luis, Paulinho, Willian, Fagner.
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Carlos Salcedo, Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, Hector Herrera, Hugo Atala, Rafael Marquez, Andres Guadrado, Edson Alvarez, Hirving Lozano, Jesus Gallardo.
While Uruguay sweats on striker Edinson Cavani’s fitness ahead of the quarterfinal against France, Les Bleus must cope without influential midfielder Blaise Matuidi in Friday’s eagerly-awaited match.
The 31-year-old Matuidi, who has 70 international appearances, is suspended and assistant coach Guy Stephan acknowledges his experience and fighting spirit will be sorely missed against a rugged Uruguay side.
Stephan says “Blaise has the ability to hassle (opposition players), he always looks to stop the opponent, and he’s very good at defending but also at attacking.”
Looking ahead to the Uruguay game, Stephan anticipates “a huge battle” against Cavani’s in-form side.
Cavani scored twice in the 2-1 win over European champion Portugal in the round of 16, but limped off with a leg injury in the 70th minute.
On the eve of the biggest match of his international career, Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist could be forgiven for having one eye on what’s going on back home.
Granqvist’s second child is due on Tuesday — the same day that Sweden plays Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup. The center back has no plans yet to leave the team but hasn’t ruled out returning to Sweden if he needs to.
“My wife (Sophie) is doing great, no changes so far,” Granqvist said Monday. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens. I’m fully focused on the game tomorrow and my wife is very strong.”
When asked about the situation, Sweden coach Janne Andersson said “we will deal with that when we get there.”
Switzerland forward Breel Embolo has returned to Russia after going home to attend the birth of his first child.
Denmark’s players paid for a private jet for teammate Jonas Knudsen so he could fly home from the World Cup to see his newborn daughter during the group stage, while England midfielder Fabian Delph is currently back home for the birth of his third child.
The Kremlin is comparing celebrations of Russia’s World Cup win over Spain to those for its victory over Nazi Germany.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says, “what I’ve personally seen was in many ways probably comparable to the events of May 9, 1945,” when the Soviet Union marked the wartime victory.
Putin did not attend the game, but Peskov says he was supporting Russia from afar. The only game Putin has seen in person is Russia’s opening 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia, which he watched alongside the Saudi crown prince and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Denmark’s former goalkeeper, who’s also the father of the current goalie, is praising the team after it was eliminated from the World Cup in a penalty shootout.
Peter Schmeichel tweeted Monday that he “can’t be more proud of my country, my son, his teammates, all the staff and our fantastic national coach.”
He adds that the Danes “will realize how well we did” once “all the tears have dried out.”
His son Kasper Schmeichel saved a penalty late in extra time Sunday night against Croatia and stopped two more spot kicks during the decisive shootout. But Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three penalties to eliminate Denmark.
The 54-year-old Peter Schmeichel played for Manchester United and was in goal when Denmark beat the Netherlands in a penalty shootout in the semifinals of the 1992 European Championship. Denmark went on to win that title.
Denmark midfielder William Kvist says he is retiring from the national team.
Kvist punctured a lung and broke two ribs in the Danes’ World Cup-opening win against Peru. He was forced to go back to Denmark for treatment and tests but later returned to the team.
He played in 81 games for the national team, scoring two goals. He announced his decision on his Facebook page, writing, “thank you for many good years.”
Kvist formerly played for Fulham and Stuttgart and will continue his club career with Copenhagen. He told Denmark’s public broadcaster he had hoped to play in every game for the Danes in the World Cup, but “nevertheless, I still feel that I have won something by getting back to the team.”
Denmark was eliminated by Croatia in a penalty shootout on Sunday night. Another Denmark midfielder, Michael Krohn-Dehli, also announced after the game that it would be his last for the national team.
More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
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