#WC2018: Sweden v Switzerland starting line-ups | 7/3/2018 8:56 am

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — Starting line-ups for the World Cup last-16 match between Sweden and Switzerland at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday (kick-off: 1400 GMT): Sweden Robin Olsen; Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist (capt), Ludwig Augustinsson; Viktor Claesson, Gustav Svensson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg; Marcus Berg, Ola Toivonen Coach: Janne Andersson (SWE) Switzerland Yann Sommer; Michael Lang, Johan Djourou, Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodriguez; Valon More

#WC2018: Sweden and Switzerland 0-0 at half-time in last 16 | 7/3/2018 9:56 am

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — The World Cup last-16 match between Sweden and Switzerland was goalless at half-time in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, after a low-key opening 45 minutes. The Scandinavians had the better of the first-half chances, but striker Marcus Berg blazed off target when well-placed before seeing Swiss keeper Yann Sommer turn his low shot around the post. The winners will face either England or Colombia in the quarter-finals. More

France's Mbappe hailed as new global superstar | 7/2/2018 6:20 pm

RUSSIA (AFP) — France players and the world's press hailed Kylian Mbappe as an emerging superstar after the 19-year-old eclipsed Lionel Messi in a match that felt like the passing of a torch to a new generation. Mbappe's speed and power ruthlessly exposed Argentina's defence in Kazan in a thrilling 4-3 victory on Saturday that re-established France among the World Cup favourites. As one number 10 trudged off, the player wearing an Argentina shirt with Messi's name, another in the blue of More

No Zlatan, no problem as Sweden thrive on collective spirit | 7/2/2018 10:10 pm

Saint Petersburg, Russia (AFP) — Shorn of a superstar since Zlatan Ibrahimovic's retirement, Sweden were not expected even to make it to the World Cup, but now they are within reach of their first quarter-final for 24 years. After eliminating the Netherlands and Italy in qualifying, Sweden played their part in sending defending champions Germany home early by topping Group F with victories over South Korea and Mexico. In keeping with his squad, no-frills Coach Janne Andersson is not a b More

Falcao out to issue sharp reminder to England in World Cup last 16 | 7/2/2018 10:10 pm

Saint Petersburg, Russia (AFP) — Robbed of his World Cup dream by injury four years ago, Colombia c aptain Radamel Falcao has at last realised his childhood dream and has a point to prove against England. Falcao's nine goals in qualifying carried the team to a first World Cup for 16 years in Brazil before an ungainly challenge by a schoolteacher in the French Cup, in January 2014, inflicted cruciate ligament damage and blew his career off course. “El Tigre” (The Tiger) was More

#WC2018: Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0 to reach quarter-finals | 7/3/2018 11:00 am

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0 to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, with a deflected Emil Forsberg effort proving the difference between the two sides. The match in Saint Petersburg was a tight encounter of few chances but Forsberg's shot in the 66th minute took a deflection off Manuel Akanji, leaving goalkeeper Yann Sommer stranded. Sweden will meet either England or Colombia in the last eight. More

Battling Belgium fight back to reach World Cup's last eight | 7/2/2018 10:20 pm

Rostov-on-Don , Russia (AFP) — Eden Hazard praised Belgium's fighting spirit after the Red Devils came from two goals down to beat Japan 3-2 and advance to a World Cup quarter-final showdown against Brazil. “We are just so happy to go through to the quarter-finals,” said Belgium's captain Hazard, who was the man-of-the-match in Rostov. “Things went wrong at the start of the second half and both (Japan) goals were avoidable, but the reaction we showed was great.” More

#WC2018: England beat Colombia on penalties to reach World Cup quarter-finals | 7/3/2018 4:09 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — England edged Colombia 4-3 on penalties to halt a run of five successive shootout defeats at major tournaments and book a quarter-final clash against Sweden at the World Cup. Harry Kane fired England ahead with his tournament-leading sixth goal just before the hour in Moscow, converting a penalty after he was hauled down by Carlos Sanchez at a corner. Gareth Southgate's team looked to be heading into the last eight in regulation time until Yerry Mina equalised with More

Mahaish Alexander's 'Road to Russia' | 7/1/2018 8:50 pm

Mahaish Alexander is footballer, chef and now the grand prize winner of Digicel's Road to Russia text challenge. Alexander has been playing football for as long as he can remember; he received a scholarship to play college football in the United States, then returned to Jamaica to play domestically with his childhood club, and now he is thinking about going into coaching, maybe even the Reggae Boyz. His love for football isn't just on the field, as he appreciates the intricacies and history More

#WC2018: Kompany starts as Belgium, Japan ring changes at World Cup | 7/2/2018 12:50 pm

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AFP) — Vincent Kompany was set to make his first start at the World Cup today in one of 10 changes for Belgium against Japan, who also switched six players for the last-16 clash. The winner of the knockout match in Rostov will face Brazil, who earlier beat Mexico 2-0, in a quarter-final in Kazan on Friday. As expected, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made wholesale changes from the side that beat England 1-0 in the group stages. He reverted mainly to the same start More

#WC2018: Luis in for Mexico, Marquez handed first start against Brazil | 7/2/2018 9:13 am

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) —  Brazil coach Tite made only one change from the starting line-up that beat Serbia 2-0 in their final group game with Filipe Luis stepping in to replace injured midfielder Marcelo for the World Cup last 16 clash against Mexico. Despite a shaky start, Brazil are on track to win a record sixth World Cup and Tite is taking no chances against a Mexico side showing real promise on their march to a seventh consecutive place in the last 16. Luis, of Atletico Madrid, steps More

Spain blame game begins after World Cup penalty heartache | 7/1/2018 10:00 pm

Saint Petersburg, Russia (AFP) — Spain's World Cup roller-coaster ride finally ground to a halt yesterday and the finger-pointing began after their third-consecutive failure at a major tournament. Following humiliation at the hands of the Netherlands in 2014 and a limp defeat to Italy at Euro 2016, this was perhaps the most galling exit of all, given it came at the hands of Russia, ranked 70th in the world, just above Macedonia and El Salvador. It would be a stretch to say Russia deser More

Belgium wary of complacency as Japan chase history | 7/1/2018 9:30 pm

Rostov-on-Don, Russia (AFP) — Dries Mertens has warned Belgium against the perils of complacency as they prepare to face Japan here today with one eye on a possible quarter-final showdown with Brazil. The Belgians have emerged as dark horses at this World Cup with their “Golden Generation” of players tipped to mount a deep run into the knockout rounds. Roberto Martinez's side defeated England 1-0 in their last outing to top Group G, earning what on paper should be a straight More

Neymar primed for World Cup clash against Mexico — Tite | 7/1/2018 9:30 pm

Samara , Russia (AFP) — Brazil Coach Tite says Neymar is back to his best as the five-time champions take on Mexico here today for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals. Neymar has made a slow start to the tournament, showing glimpses of skill but drawing criticism for diving in an attempt to win a penalty against Costa Rica. But the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward has steadily silenced his detractors, scoring Brazil's second goal in a laboured 2-0 win over Costa Rica before providin More

#WC2018: Belgium beat Japan 3-2 to reach World Cup quarter-finals | 7/2/2018 3:05 pm

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AFP) — It was the most agonising way for Japan to go out of the World Cup. Their players slumped to the turf as Nacer Chadli slammed the ball into the net at the end of a 94th-minute counter-attack, the last move of the game in Rostov-on-Don allowing Belgium to clinch a stunning 3-2 victory and a place in the quarter-finals. Among the pre-tournament favourites in Russia, Eden Hazard and the Belgians march on to a last-eight meeting with Brazil. But a cru More